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> When I read about database schemas with thousands of tables I wonder what kind of problem could possibly require so many tables.

They're probably mostly small (in terms of columns), many of them done just to have foreign key constraints, separate indexes, and arguably easier querying (joining) on just the data you need.

But I think it's a particular style, rather than a 'problem' that 'requires' so many.

(IANA database expert though, just my tuppence.)

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