Hmm - 500GB database That'd be scary!
Certainly the backup of a DB of 5-10GB in size doesn't take very long at all. A detach, file copy and then reattach could be a feasible solution as well, although I haven't really thought about it too far so there could something I've missed. For that matter, the detach & attach could take longer!? Benchmarking will tell I suppose.
I am curious though - what do you do when you have a 500GB database? I imagine some people might do something so horribly horribly crude as physically swapping drives haha
The idea about keeping the DBs the same and merely updating views to point to the correct DBs or, if a single DB with table suffixes, the correct tables seems logical, although maintenance of the views must be rememebered if and when a new table is added.