Optimization is a complicated task because it ultimately requires
understanding of the whole system. While it may be possible to do some
local optimizations with small knowledge of your system or application,
the more optimal you want your system to become the more you will have
to know about it.
This chapter will try to explain and give some examples of different
ways to optimize MySQL. Remember, however, that there are
always some (increasingly harder) additional ways to make the system
The most important part for getting a system fast is of course the basic
design. You also need to know what kinds of things your system will be
doing, and what your bottlenecks are.
The most common bottlenecks are:
It takes time for the disk to find a piece of data. With modern disks in
1999, the mean time for this is usually lower than 10ms, so we can in
theory do about 1000 seeks a second. This time improves slowly with new
disks and is very hard to optimize for a single table. The way to
optimize this is to spread the data on more than one disk.
When the disk is at the correct position we need to read the data. With
modern disks in 1999, one disk delivers something like 10-20Mb/s. This
is easier to optimize than seeks because you can read in parallel from
When we have the data in main memory (or if it already were
there) we need to process it to get to our result. Having small
tables compared to the memory is the most common limiting
factor. But then, with small tables speed is usually not the problem.
When the CPU needs more data than can fit in the CPU cache the main
memory bandwidth becomes a bottleneck. This is an uncommon bottleneck
for most systems, but one should be aware of it.
Because MySQL uses extremely fast table locking (multiple readers /
single writers) the biggest remaining problem is a mix of a steady stream of
inserts and slow selects on the same table.
We believe that for a huge number of systems the extremely fast
performance in other cases make this choice a win. This case is usually
also possible to solve by having multiple copies of the table, but it
takes more effort and hardware.
We are also working on some extensions to solve this problem for some
common application niches.
Because all SQL servers implement different parts of SQL, it takes work to
write portable SQL applications. For very simple selects/inserts it is
very easy, but the more you need the harder it gets. If you want an
application that is fast with many databases it becomes even harder!
To make a complex application portable you need to choose a number of
SQL servers that it should work with.
You can use the MySQL crash-me program/web-page
http://www.mysql.com/information/crash-me.php to find functions,
types, and limits you can use with a selection of database
servers. Crash-me now tests far from everything possible, but it
is still comprehensive with about 450 things tested.
For example, you shouldn't have column names longer than 18 characters
if you want to be able to use Informix or DB2.
Both the MySQL benchmarks and crash-me programs are very
database-independent. By taking a look at how we have handled this, you
can get a feeling for what you have to do to write your application
database-independent. The benchmarks themselves can be found in the
`sql-bench' directory in the MySQL source
distribution. They are written in Perl with DBI database interface
(which solves the access part of the problem).
As you can see in these results, all databases have some weak points. That
is, they have different design compromises that lead to different
If you strive for database independence, you need to get a good feeling
for each SQL server's bottlenecks. MySQL is VERY fast in
retrieving and updating things, but will have a problem in mixing slow
readers/writers on the same table. Oracle, on the other hand, has a big
problem when you try to access rows that you have recently updated
(until they are flushed to disk). Transaction databases in general are
not very good at generating summary tables from log tables, as in this
case row locking is almost useless.
To get your application really database-independent, you need to define
an easy extendable interface through which you manipulate your data. As
C++ is available on most systems, it makes sense to use a C++ classes
interface to the databases.
If you use some specific feature for some database (like the
REPLACE command in MySQL), you should code a method for
the other SQL servers to implement the same feature (but slower). With
MySQL you can use the /*! */ syntax to add
MySQL-specific keywords to a query. The code inside
/**/ will be treated as a comment (ignored) by most other SQL
If REAL high performance is more important than exactness, as in some
Web applications, a possibility is to create an application layer that
caches all results to give you even higher performance. By letting
old results 'expire' after a while, you can keep the cache reasonably
fresh. This is quite nice in case of extremely high load, in which case
you can dynamically increase the cache and set the expire timeout higher
until things get back to normal.
In this case the table creation information should contain information
of the initial size of the cache and how often the table should normally
During MySQL initial development, the features of MySQL
were made to fit our largest customer. They handle data warehousing for a
couple of the biggest retailers in Sweden.
From all stores, we get weekly summaries of all bonus card transactions,
and we are expected to provide useful information for the store owners
to help them find how their advertisement campaigns are affecting their
The data is quite huge (about 7 million summary transactions per month),
and we have data for 4-10 years that we need to present to the users.
We got weekly requests from the customers that they want to get
'instant' access to new reports from this data.
We solved this by storing all information per month in compressed
'transaction' tables. We have a set of simple macros (script) that
generates summary tables grouped by different criteria (product group,
customer id, store ...) from the transaction tables. The reports are
Web pages that are dynamically generated by a small Perl script that
parses a Web page, executes the SQL statements in it, and inserts the
results. We would have used PHP or mod_perl instead but they were
not available at that time.
For graphical data we wrote a simple tool in C that can produce
GIFs based on the result of a SQL query (with some processing of the
result). This is also dynamically executed from the Perl script that
parses the HTML files.
In most cases a new report can simply be done by copying an existing
script and modifying the SQL query in it. In some cases, we will need to
add more fields to an existing summary table or generate a new one, but
this is also quite simple, as we keep all transactions tables on disk.
(Currently we have at least 50G of transactions tables and 200G of other
We also let our customers access the summary tables directly with ODBC
so that the advanced users can themselves experiment with the data.
We haven't had any problems handling this with quite modest Sun Ultra
SPARCstation (2x200 Mhz). We recently upgraded one of our servers to a 2
CPU 400 Mhz UltraSPARC, and we are now planning to start handling
transactions on the product level, which would mean a ten-fold increase
of data. We think we can keep up with this by just adding more disk to
We are also experimenting with Intel-Linux to be able to get more CPU
power cheaper. Now that we have the binary portable database format (new
in Version 3.23), we will start to use this for some parts of the application.
Our initial feelings are that Linux will perform much better on
low-to-medium load and Solaris will perform better when you start to get a
high load because of extreme disk IO, but we don't yet have anything
conclusive about this. After some discussion with a Linux Kernel
developer, this might be a side effect of Linux giving so much resources
to the batch job that the interactive performance gets very low. This
makes the machine feel very slow and unresponsive while big batches are
going. Hopefully this will be better handled in future Linux Kernels.
This should contain a technical description of the MySQL
benchmark suite (and crash-me), but that description is not
written yet. Currently, you can get a good idea of the benchmark by
looking at the code and results in the `sql-bench' directory in any
MySQL source distributions.
This benchmark suite is meant to be a benchmark that will tell any user
what things a given SQL implementation performs well or poorly at.
Note that this benchmark is single threaded, so it measures the minimum
time for the operations. We plan to in the future add a lot of
multi-threaded tests to the benchmark suite.
For example, (run on the same NT 4.0 machine):
Reading 2000000 rows by index
Inserting (350768) rows
In the above test MySQL was run with a 8M index cache.
Note that Oracle is not included because they asked to be removed. All
Oracle benchmarks have to be passed by Oracle! We believe that makes
Oracle benchmarks VERY biased because the above benchmarks are
supposed to show what a standard installation can do for a single
To run the benchmark suite, you have to download a MySQL source
distribution, install the perl DBI driver, the perl DBD driver for the
database you want to test and then do:
perl run-all-tests --server=#
where # is one of supported servers. You can get a list of all options
and supported servers by doing run-all-tests --help.
crash-me tries to determine what features a database supports and
what its capabilities and limitations are by actually running
queries. For example, it determines:
You should definitely benchmark your application and database to find
out where the bottlenecks are. By fixing it (or by replacing the
bottleneck with a 'dummy module') you can then easily identify the next
bottleneck (and so on). Even if the overall performance for your
application is sufficient, you should at least make a plan for each
bottleneck, and decide how to solve it if someday you really need the
For an example of portable benchmark programs, look at the MySQL
benchmark suite. See section 5.1.4 The MySQL Benchmark Suite. You
can take any program from this suite and modify it for your needs. By doing
this, you can try different solutions to your problem and test which is really
the fastest solution for you.
It is very common that some problems only occur when the system is very
heavily loaded. We have had many customers who contact us when they
have a (tested) system in production and have encountered load problems. In
every one of these cases so far, it has been problems with basic design
(table scans are NOT good at high load) or OS/Library issues. Most of
this would be a LOT easier to fix if the systems were not
already in production.
To avoid problems like this, you should put some effort into benchmarking
your whole application under the worst possible load! You can use
Super Smack for this, and it is available at:
As the name suggests, it can bring your system down to its knees if you ask it,
so make sure to use it only on your development systems.
First, one thing that affects all queries: The more complex permission
system setup you have, the more overhead you get.
If you do not have any GRANT statements done, MySQL will
optimize the permission checking somewhat. So if you have a very high
volume it may be worth the time to avoid grants. Otherwise more
permission check results in a larger overhead.
If your problem is with some explicit MySQL function, you can
always time this in the MySQL client:
mysql> select benchmark(1000000,1+1);
| benchmark(1000000,1+1) |
| 0 |
1 row in set (0.32 sec)
The above shows that MySQL can execute 1,000,000 +
expressions in 0.32 seconds on a PentiumII 400MHz.
All MySQL functions should be very optimized, but there may be
some exceptions, and the benchmark(loop_count,expression) is a
great tool to find out if this is a problem with your query.
EXPLAIN: EXPLAIN Syntax (Get Information About a SELECT)
EXPLAIN tbl_name is a synonym for DESCRIBE tbl_name or
SHOW COLUMNS FROM tbl_name.
When you precede a SELECT statement with the keyword EXPLAIN,
MySQL explains how it would process the SELECT, providing
information about how tables are joined and in which order.
With the help of EXPLAIN, you can see when you must add indexes
to tables to get a faster SELECT that uses indexes to find the
records. You can also see if the optimizer joins the tables in an optimal
order. To force the optimizer to use a specific join order for a
SELECT statement, add a STRAIGHT_JOIN clause.
For non-simple joins, EXPLAIN returns a row of information for each
table used in the SELECT statement. The tables are listed in the order
they would be read. MySQL resolves all joins using a single-sweep
multi-join method. This means that MySQL reads a row from the first
table, then finds a matching row in the second table, then in the third table
and so on. When all tables are processed, it outputs the selected columns and
backtracks through the table list until a table is found for which there are
more matching rows. The next row is read from this table and the process
continues with the next table.
Output from EXPLAIN includes the following columns:
The table to which the row of output refers.
The join type. Information about the various types is given below.
The possible_keys column indicates which indexes MySQL
could use to find the rows in this table. Note that this column is
totally independent of the order of the tables. That means that some of
the keys in possible_keys may not be usable in practice with the
generated table order.
If this column is empty, there are no relevant indexes. In this case,
you may be able to improve the performance of your query by examining
the WHERE clause to see if it refers to some column or columns
that would be suitable for indexing. If so, create an appropriate index
and check the query with EXPLAIN again. See section 6.5.4 ALTER TABLE Syntax.
To see what indexes a table has, use SHOW INDEX FROM tbl_name.
The key column indicates the key that MySQL actually
decided to use. The key is NULL if no index was chosen. If
MySQL chooses the wrong index, you can probably force
MySQL to use another index by using myisamchk --analyze,
See section 188.8.131.52 myisamchk Invocation Syntax, or by using USE INDEX/IGNORE INDEX.
See section 184.108.40.206 JOIN Syntax.
The key_len column indicates the length of the key that
MySQL decided to use. The length is NULL if the
key is NULL. Note that this tells us how many parts of a
multi-part key MySQL will actually use.
The ref column shows which columns or constants are used with the
key to select rows from the table.
The rows column indicates the number of rows MySQL
believes it must examine to execute the query.
This column contains additional information of how MySQL will
resolve the query. Here is an explanation of the different text
strings that can be found in this column:
MySQL will not continue searching for more rows for the current row
combination after it has found the first matching row.
MySQL was able to do a LEFT JOIN optimization on the
query and will not examine more rows in this table for the previous row
combination after it finds one row that matches the LEFT JOIN criteria.
Here is an example for this:
SELECT * FROM t1 LEFT JOIN t2 ON t1.id=t2.id WHERE t2.id IS NULL;
Assume that t2.id is defined with NOT NULL. In this case
MySQL will scan t1 and look up the rows in t2
through t1.id. If MySQL finds a matching row in
t2, it knows that t2.id can never be NULL, and will
not scan through the rest of the rows in t2 that has the same
id. In other words, for each row in t1, MySQL
only needs to do a single lookup in t2, independent of how many
matching rows there are in t2.
range checked for each record (index map: #)
MySQL didn't find a real good index to use. It will, instead, for
each row combination in the preceding tables, do a check on which index to
use (if any), and use this index to retrieve the rows from the table. This
isn't very fast but is faster than having to do a join without
MySQL will need to do an extra pass to find out how to retrieve
the rows in sorted order. The sort is done by going through all rows
according to the join type and storing the sort key + pointer to
the row for all rows that match the WHERE. Then the keys are
sorted. Finally the rows are retrieved in sorted order.
The column information is retrieved from the table using only
information in the index tree without having to do an additional seek to
read the actual row. This can be done when all the used columns for
the table are part of the same index.
To resolve the query MySQL will need to create a
temporary table to hold the result. This typically happens if you do an
ORDER BY on a different column set than you did a GROUP
A WHERE clause will be used to restrict which rows will be
matched against the next table or sent to the client. If you don't have
this information and the table is of type ALL or index,
you may have something wrong in your query (if you don't intend to
fetch/examine all rows from the table).
If you want to get your queries as fast as possible, you should look out for
Using filesort and Using temporary.
The different join types are listed below, ordered from best to worst type:
The table has only one row (= system table). This is a special case of
the const join type.
The table has at most one matching row, which will be read at the start
of the query. Because there is only one row, values from the column in
this row can be regarded as constants by the rest of the
optimizer. const tables are very fast as they are read only once!
One row will be read from this table for each combination of rows from
the previous tables. This is the best possible join type, other than the
const types. It is used when all parts of an index are used by
the join and the index is UNIQUE or a PRIMARY KEY.
All rows with matching index values will be read from this table for each
combination of rows from the previous tables. ref is used if the join
uses only a leftmost prefix of the key, or if the key is not UNIQUE
or a PRIMARY KEY (in other words, if the join cannot select a single
row based on the key value). If the key that is used matches only a few rows,
this join type is good.
Only rows that are in a given range will be retrieved, using an index to
select the rows. The key column indicates which index is used.
The key_len contains the longest key part that was used.
The ref column will be NULL for this type.
This is the same as ALL, except that only the index tree is
scanned. This is usually faster than ALL, as the index file is usually
smaller than the data file.
A full table scan will be done for each combination of rows from the
previous tables. This is normally not good if the table is the first
table not marked const, and usually very bad in all other
cases. You normally can avoid ALL by adding more indexes, so that
the row can be retrieved based on constant values or column values from
You can get a good indication of how good a join is by multiplying all values
in the rows column of the EXPLAIN output. This should tell you
roughly how many rows MySQL must examine to execute the query. This
number is also used when you restrict queries with the max_join_size
See section 5.5.2 Tuning Server Parameters.
The following example shows how a JOIN can be optimized progressively
using the information provided by EXPLAIN.
Suppose you have the SELECT statement shown below, that you examine
EXPLAIN SELECT tt.TicketNumber, tt.TimeIn,
tt.RecordVolume, tt.DPPrinted, et.COUNTRY,
FROM tt, et, et AS et_1, do
WHERE tt.SubmitTime IS NULL
AND tt.ActualPC = et.EMPLOYID
AND tt.AssignedPC = et_1.EMPLOYID
AND tt.ClientID = do.CUSTNMBR;
For this example, assume that:
The columns being compared have been declared as follows:
The tables have the indexes shown below:
EMPLOYID (primary key)
CUSTNMBR (primary key)
The tt.ActualPC values aren't evenly distributed.
Initially, before any optimizations have been performed, the EXPLAIN
statement produces the following information:
table type possible_keys key key_len ref rows Extra
et ALL PRIMARY NULL NULL NULL 74
do ALL PRIMARY NULL NULL NULL 2135
et_1 ALL PRIMARY NULL NULL NULL 74
tt ALL AssignedPC,ClientID,ActualPC NULL NULL NULL 3872
range checked for each record (key map: 35)
Because type is ALL for each table, this output indicates that
MySQL is doing a full join for all tables! This will take quite a
long time, as the product of the number of rows in each table must be
examined! For the case at hand, this is 74 * 2135 * 74 * 3872 =
45,268,558,720 rows. If the tables were bigger, you can only imagine how
long it would take.
One problem here is that MySQL can't (yet) use indexes on columns
efficiently if they are declared differently. In this context,
VARCHAR and CHAR are the same unless they are declared as
different lengths. Because tt.ActualPC is declared as CHAR(10)
and et.EMPLOYID is declared as CHAR(15), there is a length
To fix this disparity between column lengths, use ALTER TABLE to
lengthen ActualPC from 10 characters to 15 characters:
mysql> ALTER TABLE tt MODIFY ActualPC VARCHAR(15);
Now tt.ActualPC and et.EMPLOYID are both VARCHAR(15).
Executing the EXPLAIN statement again produces this result:
table type possible_keys key key_len ref rows Extra
tt ALL AssignedPC,ClientID,ActualPC NULL NULL NULL 3872 where used
do ALL PRIMARY NULL NULL NULL 2135
range checked for each record (key map: 1)
et_1 ALL PRIMARY NULL NULL NULL 74
range checked for each record (key map: 1)
et eq_ref PRIMARY PRIMARY 15 tt.ActualPC 1
This is not perfect, but is much better (the product of the rows
values is now less by a factor of 74). This version is executed in a couple
A second alteration can be made to eliminate the column length mismatches
for the tt.AssignedPC = et_1.EMPLOYID and tt.ClientID =
mysql> ALTER TABLE tt MODIFY AssignedPC VARCHAR(15),
MODIFY ClientID VARCHAR(15);
Now EXPLAIN produces the output shown below:
table type possible_keys key key_len ref rows Extra
et ALL PRIMARY NULL NULL NULL 74
tt ref AssignedPC,ClientID,ActualPC ActualPC 15 et.EMPLOYID 52 where used
et_1 eq_ref PRIMARY PRIMARY 15 tt.AssignedPC 1
do eq_ref PRIMARY PRIMARY 15 tt.ClientID 1
This is almost as good as it can get.
The remaining problem is that, by default, MySQL assumes that values
in the tt.ActualPC column are evenly distributed, and that isn't the
case for the tt table. Fortunately, it is easy to tell MySQL
Now the join is perfect, and EXPLAIN produces this result:
table type possible_keys key key_len ref rows Extra
tt ALL AssignedPC,ClientID,ActualPC NULL NULL NULL 3872 where used
et eq_ref PRIMARY PRIMARY 15 tt.ActualPC 1
et_1 eq_ref PRIMARY PRIMARY 15 tt.AssignedPC 1
do eq_ref PRIMARY PRIMARY 15 tt.ClientID 1
Note that the rows column in the output from EXPLAIN is an
educated guess from the MySQL join optimizer. To optimize a
query, you should check if the numbers are even close to the truth. If not,
you may get better performance by using STRAIGHT_JOIN in your
SELECT statement and trying to list the tables in a different order in
the FROM clause.
In most cases you can estimate the performance by counting disk seeks.
For small tables, you can usually find the row in 1 disk seek (as the
index is probably cached). For bigger tables, you can estimate that
(using B++ tree indexes) you will need: log(row_count) /
log(index_block_length / 3 * 2 / (index_length + data_pointer_length)) +
1 seeks to find a row.
In MySQL an index block is usually 1024 bytes and the data
pointer is usually 4 bytes. A 500,000 row table with an
index length of 3 (medium integer) gives you:
log(500,000)/log(1024/3*2/(3+4)) + 1 = 4 seeks.
As the above index would require about 500,000 * 7 * 3/2 = 5.2M,
(assuming that the index buffers are filled to 2/3, which is typical)
you will probably have much of the index in memory and you will probably
only need 1-2 calls to read data from the OS to find the row.
For writes, however, you will need 4 seek requests (as above) to find
where to place the new index and normally 2 seeks to update the index
and write the row.
Note that the above doesn't mean that your application will slowly
degenerate by N log N! As long as everything is cached by the OS or SQL
server things will only go marginally slower while the table gets
bigger. After the data gets too big to be cached, things will start to
go much slower until your applications is only bound by disk-seeks
(which increase by N log N). To avoid this, increase the index cache as
the data grows. See section 5.5.2 Tuning Server Parameters.
To help MySQL optimize queries better, run myisamchk
--analyze on a table after it has been loaded with relevant data. This
updates a value for each index part that indicates the average number of
rows that have the same value. (For unique indexes, this is always 1,
of course.). MySQL will use this to decide which index to
choose when you connect two tables with 'a non-constant expression'.
You can check the result from the analyze run by doing SHOW
INDEX FROM table_name and examining the Cardinality column.
To sort an index and data according to an index, use myisamchk
--sort-index --sort-records=1 (if you want to sort on index 1). If you
have a unique index from which you want to read all records in order
according to that index, this is a good way to make that faster. Note,
however, that this sorting isn't written optimally and will take a long
time for a large table!
The WHERE optimizations are put in the SELECT part here because
they are mostly used with SELECT, but the same optimizations apply for
WHERE in DELETE and UPDATE statements.
Also note that this section is incomplete. MySQL does many
optimizations, and we have not had time to document them all.
Some of the optimizations performed by MySQL are listed below:
Removal of unnecessary parentheses:
((a AND b) AND c OR (((a AND b) AND (c AND d))))
-> (a AND b AND c) OR (a AND b AND c AND d)
(a<b AND b=c) AND a=5
-> b>5 AND b=c AND a=5
Constant condition removal (needed because of constant folding):
(B>=5 AND B=5) OR (B=6 AND 5=5) OR (B=7 AND 5=6)
-> B=5 OR B=6
Constant expressions used by indexes are evaluated only once.
COUNT(*) on a single table without a WHERE is retrieved
directly from the table information. This is also done for any NOT NULL
expression when used with only one table.
Early detection of invalid constant expressions. MySQL quickly
detects that some SELECT statements are impossible and returns no rows.
HAVING is merged with WHERE if you don't use GROUP BY
or group functions (COUNT(), MIN()...).
For each sub-join, a simpler WHERE is constructed to get a fast
WHERE evaluation for each sub-join and also to skip records as
soon as possible.
All constant tables are read first, before any other tables in the query.
A constant table is:
An empty table or a table with 1 row.
A table that is used with a WHERE clause on a UNIQUE
index, or a PRIMARY KEY, where all index parts are used with constant
expressions and the index parts are defined as NOT NULL.
All the following tables are used as constant tables:
mysql> SELECT * FROM t WHERE primary_key=1;
mysql> SELECT * FROM t1,t2
WHERE t1.primary_key=1 AND t2.primary_key=t1.id;
The best join combination to join the tables is found by trying all
possibilities. If all columns in ORDER BY and in GROUP
BY come from the same table, then this table is preferred first when
If there is an ORDER BY clause and a different GROUP BY
clause, or if the ORDER BY or GROUP BY contains columns
from tables other than the first table in the join queue, a temporary
table is created.
If you use SQL_SMALL_RESULT, MySQL will use an in-memory
Each table index is queried, and the best index that spans fewer than 30% of
the rows is used. If no such index can be found, a quick table scan is used.
In some cases, MySQL can read rows from the index without even
consulting the data file. If all columns used from the index are numeric,
then only the index tree is used to resolve the query.
Before each record is output, those that do not match the HAVING clause
Some examples of queries that are very fast:
mysql> SELECT COUNT(*) FROM tbl_name;
mysql> SELECT MIN(key_part1),MAX(key_part1) FROM tbl_name;
mysql> SELECT MAX(key_part2) FROM tbl_name
mysql> SELECT ... FROM tbl_name
ORDER BY key_part1,key_part2,... LIMIT 10;
mysql> SELECT ... FROM tbl_name
ORDER BY key_part1 DESC,key_part2 DESC,... LIMIT 10;
The following queries are resolved using only the index tree (assuming
the indexed columns are numeric):
mysql> SELECT key_part1,key_part2 FROM tbl_name WHERE key_part1=val;
mysql> SELECT COUNT(*) FROM tbl_name
WHERE key_part1=val1 AND key_part2=val2;
mysql> SELECT key_part2 FROM tbl_name GROUP BY key_part1;
The following queries use indexing to retrieve the rows in sorted
order without a separate sorting pass:
mysql> SELECT ... FROM tbl_name ORDER BY key_part1,key_part2,... ;
mysql> SELECT ... FROM tbl_name ORDER BY key_part1 DESC,key_part2 DESC,... ;
The table B is set to be dependent on table A and all tables
that A is dependent on.
The table A is set to be dependent on all tables (except B)
that are used in the LEFT JOIN condition.
All LEFT JOIN conditions are moved to the WHERE clause.
All standard join optimizations are done, with the exception that a table is
always read after all tables it is dependent on. If there is a circular
dependence then MySQL will issue an error.
All standard WHERE optimizations are done.
If there is a row in A that matches the WHERE clause, but there
wasn't any row in B that matched the LEFT JOIN condition,
then an extra B row is generated with all columns set to NULL.
If you use LEFT JOIN to find rows that don't exist in some
table and you have the following test: column_name IS NULL in the
WHERE part, where column_name is a column that is declared as
NOT NULL, then MySQL will stop searching after more rows
(for a particular key combination) after it has found one row that
matches the LEFT JOIN condition.
RIGHT JOIN is implemented analogously as LEFT JOIN.
The table read order forced by LEFT JOIN and STRAIGHT JOIN
will help the join optimizer (which calculates in which order tables
should be joined) to do its work much more quickly, as there are fewer
table permutations to check.
Note that the above means that if you do a query of type:
SELECT * FROM a,b LEFT JOIN c ON (c.key=a.key) LEFT JOIN d (d.key=a.key) WHERE b.key=d.key
MySQL will do a full scan on b as the LEFT JOIN will force
it to be read before d.
The fix in this case is to change the query to:
SELECT * FROM b,a LEFT JOIN c ON (c.key=a.key) LEFT JOIN d (d.key=a.key) WHERE b.key=d.key
In some cases MySQL will handle the query differently when you are
using LIMIT # and not using HAVING:
If you are selecting only a few rows with LIMIT, MySQL
will use indexes in some cases when it normally would prefer to do a
full table scan.
If you use LIMIT # with ORDER BY, MySQL will end the
sorting as soon as it has found the first # lines instead of sorting
the whole table.
When combining LIMIT # with DISTINCT, MySQL will stop
as soon as it finds # unique rows.
In some cases a GROUP BY can be resolved by reading the key in order
(or do a sort on the key) and then calculate summaries until the
key value changes. In this case LIMIT # will not calculate any
unnecessary GROUP BY's.
As soon as MySQL has sent the first # rows to the client, it
will abort the query.
LIMIT 0 will always quickly return an empty set. This is useful
to check the query and to get the column types of the result columns.
The size of temporary tables uses the LIMIT # to calculate how much
space is needed to resolve the query.
Re-create the indexes with myisamchk -r -q
/path/to/db/tbl_name. This will create the index tree in memory before
writing it to disk, which is much faster because it avoids lots of disk
seeks. The resulting index tree is also perfectly balanced.
Execute a FLUSH TABLES statement or the shell command mysqladmin
This procedure will be built into LOAD DATA INFILE in some future
version of MySQL.
You can speed up insertions by locking your tables:
mysql> LOCK TABLES a WRITE;
mysql> INSERT INTO a VALUES (1,23),(2,34),(4,33);
mysql> INSERT INTO a VALUES (8,26),(6,29);
mysql> UNLOCK TABLES;
The main speed difference is that the index buffer is flushed to disk only
once, after all INSERT statements have completed. Normally there would
be as many index buffer flushes as there are different INSERT
statements. Locking is not needed if you can insert all rows with a single
Locking will also lower the total time of multi-connection tests, but the
maximum wait time for some threads will go up (because they wait for
locks). For example:
thread 1 does 1000 inserts
thread 2, 3, and 4 does 1 insert
thread 5 does 1000 inserts
If you don't use locking, 2, 3, and 4 will finish before 1 and 5. If you
use locking, 2, 3, and 4 probably will not finish before 1 or 5, but the
total time should be about 40% faster.
As INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE operations are very
fast in MySQL, you will obtain better overall performance by
adding locks around everything that does more than about 5 inserts or
updates in a row. If you do very many inserts in a row, you could do a
LOCK TABLES followed by an UNLOCK TABLES once in a while
(about each 1000 rows) to allow other threads access to the table. This
would still result in a nice performance gain.
Of course, LOAD DATA INFILE is much faster for loading data.
Update queries are optimized as a SELECT query with the additional
overhead of a write. The speed of the write is dependent on the size of
the data that is being updated and the number of indexes that are
updated. Indexes that are not changed will not be updated.
Also, another way to get fast updates is to delay updates and then do
many updates in a row later. Doing many updates in a row is much quicker
than doing one at a time if you lock the table.
Note that, with dynamic record format, updating a record to
a longer total length may split the record. So if you do this often,
it is very important to OPTIMIZE TABLE sometimes.
See section 4.5.1 OPTIMIZE TABLE Syntax.
Use persistent connections to the database to avoid the connection
overhead. If you can't use persistent connections and you are doing a
lot of new connections to the database, you may want to change the value
of the thread_cache_size variable. See section 5.5.2 Tuning Server Parameters.
Try to avoid complex SELECT queries on tables that are updated a
lot. This is to avoid problems with table locking.
The new MyISAM tables can insert rows in a table without deleted
rows at the same time another table is reading from it. If this is important
for you, you should consider methods where you don't have to delete rows
or run OPTIMIZE TABLE after you have deleted a lot of rows.
Use ALTER TABLE ... ORDER BY expr1,expr2... if you mostly
retrieve rows in expr1,expr2.. order. By using this option after big
changes to the table, you may be able to get higher performance.
In some cases it may make sense to introduce a column that is 'hashed'
based on information from other columns. If this column is short and
reasonably unique it may be much faster than a big index on many
columns. In MySQL it's very easy to use this extra column:
SELECT * FROM table_name WHERE hash=MD5(concat(col1,col2))
AND col_1='constant' AND col_2='constant'
For tables that change a lot you should try to avoid all VARCHAR
or BLOB columns. You will get dynamic row length as soon as you
are using a single VARCHAR or BLOB column. See section 7 MySQL Table Types.
It's not normally useful to split a table into different tables just
because the rows gets 'big'. To access a row, the biggest performance
hit is the disk seek to find the first byte of the row. After finding
the data most new disks can read the whole row fast enough for most
applications. The only cases where it really matters to split up a table is if
it's a dynamic row size table (see above) that you can change to a fixed
row size, or if you very often need to scan the table and don't need
most of the columns. See section 7 MySQL Table Types.
If you very often need to calculate things based on information from a
lot of rows (like counts of things), it's probably much better to
introduce a new table and update the counter in real time. An update of
type UPDATE table set count=count+1 where index_column=constant
is very fast!
This is really important when you use databases like MySQL that
only have table locking (multiple readers / single writers). This will
also give better performance with most databases, as the row locking
manager in this case will have less to do.
If you need to collect statistics from big log tables, use summary tables
instead of scanning the whole table. Maintaining the summaries should be
much faster than trying to do statistics 'live'. It's much faster to
regenerate new summary tables from the logs when things change
(depending on business decisions) than to have to change the running
If possible, one should classify reports as 'live' or 'statistical',
where data needed for statistical reports are only generated based on
summary tables that are generated from the actual data.
Take advantage of the fact that columns have default values. Insert
values explicitly only when the value to be inserted differs from the
default. This reduces the parsing that MySQL need to do and
improves the insert speed.
In some cases it's convenient to pack and store data into a blob. In this
case you have to add some extra code in your application to pack/unpack
things in the blob, but this may save a lot of accesses at some stage.
This is practical when you have data that doesn't conform to a static
Normally you should try to keep all data non-redundant (what
is called 3rd normal form in database theory), but you should not be
afraid of duplicating things or creating summary tables if you need these
to gain more speed.
Stored procedures or UDF (user-defined functions) may be a good way to
get more performance. In this case you should, however, always have a way
to do this some other (slower) way if you use some database that doesn't
You can always gain something by caching queries/answers in your
application and trying to do many inserts/updates at the same time. If
your database supports lock tables (like MySQL and Oracle),
this should help to ensure that the index cache is only flushed once
after all updates.
Use INSERT /*! DELAYED */ when you do not need to know when your
data is written. This speeds things up because many records can be written
with a single disk write.
Use INSERT /*! LOW_PRIORITY */ when you want your selects to be
Use SELECT /*! HIGH_PRIORITY */ to get selects that jump the
queue. That is, the select is done even if there is somebody waiting to
do a write.
Use the multi-line INSERT statement to store many rows with one
SQL command (many SQL servers supports this).
Use LOAD DATA INFILE to load bigger amounts of data. This is
faster than normal inserts and will be even faster when myisamchk
is integrated in mysqld.
When using a normal Web server setup, images should be stored as
files. That is, store only a file reference in the database. The main
reason for this is that a normal Web server is much better at caching
files than database contents. So it it's much easier to get a fast
system if you are using files.
Use in memory tables for non-critical data that are accessed often (like
information about the last shown banner for users that don't have
Columns with identical information in different tables should be
declared identical and have identical names. Before Version 3.23 you
got slow joins otherwise.
Try to keep the names simple (use name instead of
customer_name in the customer table). To make your names portable
to other SQL servers you should keep them shorter than 18 characters.
If you need REALLY high speed, you should take a look at the low-level
interfaces for data storage that the different SQL servers support! For
example, by accessing the MySQL MyISAM directly, you could
get a speed increase of 2-5 times compared to using the SQL interface.
To be able to do this the data must be on the same server as
the application, and usually it should only be accessed by one process
(because external file locking is really slow). One could eliminate the
above problems by introducing low-level MyISAM commands in the
MySQL server (this could be one easy way to get more
performance if needed). By carefully designing the database interface,
it should be quite easy to support this types of optimization.
In many cases it's faster to access data from a database (using a live
connection) than accessing a text file, just because the database is
likely to be more compact than the text file (if you are using numerical
data), and this will involve fewer disk accesses. You will also save
code because you don't have to parse your text files to find line and
Declaring a table with DELAY_KEY_WRITE=1 will make the updating of
indexes faster, as these are not logged to disk until the file is closed.
The downside is that you should run myisamchk on these tables before
you start mysqld to ensure that they are okay if something killed
mysqld in the middle. As the key information can always be generated
from the data, you should not lose anything by using DELAY_KEY_WRITE.
You can find a discussion about different locking methods in the appendix.
See section G.4 Locking methods.
All locking in MySQL is deadlock-free. This is managed by always
requesting all needed locks at once at the beginning of a query and always
locking the tables in the same order.
The locking method MySQL uses for WRITE locks works as follows:
If there are no locks on the table, put a write lock on it.
Otherwise, put the lock request in the write lock queue.
The locking method MySQL uses for READ locks works as follows:
If there are no write locks on the table, put a read lock on it.
Otherwise, put the lock request in the read lock queue.
When a lock is released, the lock is made available to the threads
in the write lock queue, then to the threads in the read lock queue.
This means that if you have many updates on a table, SELECT
statements will wait until there are no more updates.
To work around this for the case where you want to do many INSERT and
SELECT operations on a table, you can insert rows in a temporary
table and update the real table with the records from the temporary table
once in a while.
You can use the LOW_PRIORITY options with INSERT,
UPDATE or DELETE or HIGH_PRIORITY with
SELECT if you want to prioritize retrieval in some specific
cases. You can also start mysqld with --low-priority-updates
to get the same behaveour.
Using SQL_BUFFER_RESULT can also help making table locks shorter.
See section 6.4.1 SELECT Syntax.
You could also change the locking code in `mysys/thr_lock.c' to use a
single queue. In this case, write locks and read locks would have the same
priority, which might help some applications.
MySQL uses table locking (instead of row locking or column
locking) on all table types, except BDB tables, to achieve a very
high lock speed. For large tables, table locking is MUCH better than
row locking for most applications, but there are, of course, some
For BDB and InnoDB tables, MySQL only uses table
locking if you explicitely lock the table with LOCK TABLES or
execute a command that will modify every row in the table, like
ALTER TABLE. For these table types we recommend you to not use
LOCK TABLES at all.
In MySQL Version 3.23.7 and above, you can insert rows into
MyISAM tables at the same time other threads are reading from the
table. Note that currently this only works if there are no holes after
deleted rows in the table at the time the insert is made. When all holes
has been filled with new data, concurrent inserts will automatically be
Table locking enables many threads to read from a table at the same
time, but if a thread wants to write to a table, it must first get
exclusive access. During the update, all other threads that want to
access this particular table will wait until the update is ready.
As updates on tables normally are considered to be more important than
SELECT, all statements that update a table have higher priority
than statements that retrieve information from a table. This should
ensure that updates are not 'starved' because one issues a lot of heavy
queries against a specific table. (You can change this by using
LOW_PRIORITY with the statement that does the update or
HIGH_PRIORITY with the SELECT statement.)
Starting from MySQL Version 3.23.7 one can use the
max_write_lock_count variable to force MySQL to
temporary give all SELECT statements, that wait for a table, a
higher priority after a specific number of inserts on a table.
Table locking is, however, not very good under the following senario:
A client issues a SELECT that takes a long time to run.
Another client then issues an UPDATE on a used table. This client
will wait until the SELECT is finished.
Another client issues another SELECT statement on the same table. As
UPDATE has higher priority than SELECT, this SELECT
will wait for the UPDATE to finish. It will also wait for the first
SELECT to finish!
A thread is waiting for something like full disk, in which case all
threads that wants to access the problem table will also be put in a waiting
state until more disk space is made available.
Some possible solutions to this problem are:
Try to get the SELECT statements to run faster. You may have to create
some summary tables to do this.
Start mysqld with --low-priority-updates. This will give
all statements that update (modify) a table lower priority than a SELECT
statement. In this case the last SELECT statement in the previous
scenario would execute before the INSERT statement.
You can give a specific INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE
statement lower priority with the LOW_PRIORITY attribute.
Start mysqld with a low value for max_write_lock_count to give
READ locks after a certain number of WRITE locks.
You can specify that all updates from a specific thread should be done with
low priority by using the SQL command: SET SQL_LOW_PRIORITY_UPDATES=1.
See section 5.5.6 SET Syntax.
You can specify that a specific SELECT is very important with the
HIGH_PRIORITY attribute. See section 6.4.1 SELECT Syntax.
If you have problems with INSERT combined with SELECT,
switch to use the new MyISAM tables as these support concurrent
SELECTs and INSERTs.
If you mainly mix INSERT and SELECT statements, the
DELAYED attribute to INSERT will probably solve your problems.
See section 6.4.2 INSERT Syntax.
If you have problems with SELECT and DELETE, the LIMIT
option to DELETE may help. See section 6.4.5 DELETE Syntax.
MySQL keeps row data and index data in separate files. Many (almost
all) other databases mix row and index data in the same file. We believe that
the MySQL choice is better for a very wide range of modern systems.
Another way to store the row data is to keep the information for each
column in a separate area (examples are SDBM and Focus). This will cause a
performance hit for every query that accesses more than one column. Because
this degenerates so quickly when more than one column is accessed,
we believe that this model is not good for general purpose databases.
The more common case is that the index and data are stored together
(like in Oracle/Sybase et al). In this case you will find the row
information at the leaf page of the index. The good thing with this
layout is that it, in many cases, depending on how well the index is
cached, saves a disk read. The bad things with this layout are:
Table scanning is much slower because you have to read through the indexes
to get at the data.
You can't use only the index table to retrieve data for a query.
You lose a lot of space, as you must duplicate indexes from the nodes
(as you can't store the row in the nodes).
Deletes will degenerate the table over time (as indexes in nodes are
usually not updated on delete).
One of the most basic optimization is to get your data (and indexes) to
take as little space on the disk (and in memory) as possible. This can
give huge improvements because disk reads are faster and normally less
main memory will be used. Indexing also takes less resources if
done on smaller columns.
MySQL supports a lot of different table types and row formats.
Choosing the right table format may give you a big performance gain.
See section 7 MySQL Table Types.
You can get better performance on a table and minimize storage space
using the techniques listed below:
Use the most efficient (smallest) types possible. MySQL has
many specialized types that save disk space and memory.
Use the smaller integer types if possible to get smaller tables. For
example, MEDIUMINT is often better than INT.
Declare columns to be NOT NULL if possible. It makes everything
faster and you save one bit per column. Note that if you really need
NULL in your application you should definitely use it. Just avoid
having it on all columns by default.
If you don't have any variable-length columns (VARCHAR,
TEXT, or BLOB columns), a fixed-size record format is
used. This is faster but unfortunately may waste some space.
See section 7.1.2 MyISAM Table Formats.
The primary index of a table should be as short as possible. This makes
identification of one row easy and efficient.
For each table, you have to decide which storage/index method to
use. See section 7 MySQL Table Types.
Only create the indexes that you really need. Indexes are good for
retrieval but bad when you need to store things fast. If you mostly
access a table by searching on a combination of columns, make an index
on them. The first index part should be the most used column. If you are
ALWAYS using many columns, you should use the column with more duplicates
first to get better compression of the index.
If it's very likely that a column has a unique prefix on the first number
of characters, it's better to only index this prefix. MySQL
supports an index on a part of a character column. Shorter indexes are
faster not only because they take less disk space but also because they
will give you more hits in the index cache and thus fewer disk
seeks. See section 5.5.2 Tuning Server Parameters.
In some circumstances it can be beneficial to split into two a table that is
scanned very often. This is especially true if it is a dynamic
format table and it is possible to use a smaller static format table that
can be used to find the relevant rows when scanning the table.
Indexes are used to find rows with a specific value of one column
fast. Without an index MySQL has to start with the first record
and then read through the whole table until it finds the relevant
rows. The bigger the table, the more this costs. If the table has an index
for the columns in question, MySQL can quickly get a position to
seek to in the middle of the data file without having to look at all the
data. If a table has 1000 rows, this is at least 100 times faster than
reading sequentially. Note that if you need to access almost all 1000
rows it is faster to read sequentially because we then avoid disk seeks.
All MySQL indexes (PRIMARY, UNIQUE, and
INDEX) are stored in B-trees. Strings are automatically prefix-
and end-space compressed. See section 6.5.7 CREATE INDEX Syntax.
Indexes are used to:
Quickly find the rows that match a WHERE clause.
Retrieve rows from other tables when performing joins.
Find the MAX() or MIN() value for a specific indexed
column. This is optimized by a preprocessor that checks if you are
using WHERE key_part_# = constant on all key parts < N. In this case
MySQL will do a single key lookup and replace the MIN()
expression with a constant. If all expressions are replaced with
constants, the query will return at once:
SELECT MIN(key_part2),MAX(key_part2) FROM table_name where key_part1=10
Sort or group a table if the sorting or grouping is done on a leftmost
prefix of a usable key (for example, ORDER BY key_part_1,key_part_2 ). The
key is read in reverse order if all key parts are followed by DESC.
The index can also be used even if the ORDER BY doesn't match the index
exactly, as long as all the unused index parts and all the extra
are ORDER BY columns are constants in the WHERE clause. The
following queries will use the index to resolve the ORDER BY part:
SELECT * FROM foo ORDER BY key_part1,key_part2,key_part3;
SELECT * FROM foo WHERE column=constant ORDER BY column, key_part1;
SELECT * FROM foo WHERE key_part1=const GROUP BY key_part2;
In some cases a query can be optimized to retrieve values without
consulting the data file. If all used columns for some table are numeric
and form a leftmost prefix for some key, the values may be retrieved
from the index tree for greater speed:
SELECT key_part3 FROM table_name WHERE key_part1=1
Suppose you issue the following SELECT statement:
mysql> SELECT * FROM tbl_name WHERE col1=val1 AND col2=val2;
If a multiple-column index exists on col1 and col2, the
appropriate rows can be fetched directly. If separate single-column
indexes exist on col1 and col2, the optimizer tries to
find the most restrictive index by deciding which index will find fewer
rows and using that index to fetch the rows.
If the table has a multiple-column index, any leftmost prefix of the
index can be used by the optimizer to find rows. For example, if you
have a three-column index on (col1,col2,col3), you have indexed
search capabilities on (col1), (col1,col2), and
MySQL can't use a partial index if the columns don't form a
leftmost prefix of the index. Suppose you have the SELECT
statements shown below:
mysql> SELECT * FROM tbl_name WHERE col1=val1;
mysql> SELECT * FROM tbl_name WHERE col2=val2;
mysql> SELECT * FROM tbl_name WHERE col2=val2 AND col3=val3;
If an index exists on (col1,col2,col3), only the first query
shown above uses the index. The second and third queries do involve
indexed columns, but (col2) and (col2,col3) are not
leftmost prefixes of (col1,col2,col3).
MySQL also uses indexes for LIKE comparisons if the argument
to LIKE is a constant string that doesn't start with a wild-card
character. For example, the following SELECT statements use indexes:
mysql> select * from tbl_name where key_col LIKE "Patrick%";
mysql> select * from tbl_name where key_col LIKE "Pat%_ck%";
In the first statement, only rows with "Patrick" <= key_col <
"Patricl" are considered. In the second statement, only rows with
"Pat" <= key_col < "Pau" are considered.
The following SELECT statements will not use indexes:
mysql> select * from tbl_name where key_col LIKE "%Patrick%";
mysql> select * from tbl_name where key_col LIKE other_col;
In the first statement, the LIKE value begins with a wild-card
character. In the second statement, the LIKE value is not a
Searching using column_name IS NULL will use indexes if column_name
is an index.
MySQL normally uses the index that finds the least number of rows. An
index is used for columns that you compare with the following operators:
=, >, >=, <, <=, BETWEEN, and a
LIKE with a non-wild-card prefix like 'something%'.
Any index that doesn't span all AND levels in the WHERE clause
is not used to optimize the query. In other words: To be able to use an
index, a prefix of the index must be used in every AND group.
The following WHERE clauses use indexes:
... WHERE index_part1=1 AND index_part2=2 AND other_column=3
... WHERE index=1 OR A=10 AND index=2 /* index = 1 OR index = 2 */
... WHERE index_part1='hello' AND index_part_3=5
/* optimized like "index_part1='hello'" */
... WHERE index1=1 and index2=2 or index1=3 and index3=3;
/* Can use index on index1 but not on index2 or index 3 */
These WHERE clauses do NOT use indexes:
... WHERE index_part2=1 AND index_part3=2 /* index_part_1 is not used */
... WHERE index=1 OR A=10 /* Index is not used in both AND parts */
... WHERE index_part1=1 OR index_part2=10 /* No index spans all rows */
Note that in some cases MySQL will not use an index, even if one
would be available. Some of the cases where this happens are:
If the use of the index would require MySQL to access more
than 30 % of the rows in the table. (In this case a table scan is
probably much faster, as this will require us to do much fewer seeks).
Note that if such a query uses LIMIT to only retrieve
part of the rows, MySQL will use an index anyway, as it can
much more quickly find the few rows to return in the result.
All MySQL column types can be indexed. Use of indexes on the
relevant columns is the best way to improve the performance of SELECT
The maximum number of keys and the maximum index length is defined per
table handler. See section 7 MySQL Table Types. You can with all table handlers have
at least 16 keys and a total index length of at least 256 bytes.
For CHAR and VARCHAR columns, you can index a prefix of a
column. This is much faster and requires less disk space than indexing the
whole column. The syntax to use in the CREATE TABLE statement to
index a column prefix looks like this:
KEY index_name (col_name(length))
The example below creates an index for the first 10 characters of the
mysql> CREATE TABLE test (
name CHAR(200) NOT NULL,
KEY index_name (name(10)));
For BLOB and TEXT columns, you must index a prefix of the
column. You cannot index the entire column.
In MySQL Version 3.23.23 or later, you can also create special
FULLTEXT indexes. They are used for full-text search. Only the
MyISAM table type supports FULLTEXT indexes. They can be
created only from VARCHAR and TEXT columns.
Indexing always happens over the entire column and partial indexing is not
supported. See section 6.8 MySQL Full-text Search for details.
MySQL can create indexes on multiple columns. An index may
consist of up to 15 columns. (On CHAR and VARCHAR columns you
can also use a prefix of the column as a part of an index).
A multiple-column index can be considered a sorted array containing values
that are created by concatenating the values of the indexed columns.
MySQL uses multiple-column indexes in such a way that queries are
fast when you specify a known quantity for the first column of the index in a
WHERE clause, even if you don't specify values for the other columns.
Suppose a table is created using the following specification:
mysql> CREATE TABLE test (
id INT NOT NULL,
last_name CHAR(30) NOT NULL,
first_name CHAR(30) NOT NULL,
PRIMARY KEY (id),
INDEX name (last_name,first_name));
Then the index name is an index over last_name and
first_name. The index will be used for queries that specify
values in a known range for last_name, or for both last_name
Therefore, the name index will be used in the following queries:
mysql> SELECT * FROM test WHERE last_name="Widenius";
mysql> SELECT * FROM test WHERE last_name="Widenius"
mysql> SELECT * FROM test WHERE last_name="Widenius"
AND (first_name="Michael" OR first_name="Monty");
mysql> SELECT * FROM test WHERE last_name="Widenius"
AND first_name >="M" AND first_name < "N";
However, the name index will NOT be used in the following queries:
mysql> SELECT * FROM test WHERE first_name="Michael";
mysql> SELECT * FROM test WHERE last_name="Widenius"
table_cache, max_connections, and max_tmp_tables
affect the maximum number of files the server keeps open. If you
increase one or both of these values, you may run up against a limit
imposed by your operating system on the per-process number of open file
descriptors. However, you can increase the limit on many systems.
Consult your OS documentation to find out how to do this, because the
method for changing the limit varies widely from system to system.
table_cache is related to max_connections. For example,
for 200 concurrent running connections, you should have a table cache of
at least 200 * n, where n is the maximum number of tables
in a join. You also need to reserve some extra file descriptors for
temporary tables and files.
The cache of open tables can grow to a maximum of table_cache
(default 64; this can be changed with the -O table_cache=#
option to mysqld). A table is never closed, except when the
cache is full and another thread tries to open a table or if you use
mysqladmin refresh or mysqladmin flush-tables.
When the table cache fills up, the server uses the following procedure
to locate a cache entry to use:
Tables that are not currently in use are released, in least-recently-used
If the cache is full and no tables can be released, but a new table needs to
be opened, the cache is temporarily extended as necessary.
If the cache is in a temporarily-extended state and a table goes from in-use
to not-in-use state, the table is closed and released from the cache.
A table is opened for each concurrent access. This means that
if you have two threads accessing the same table or access the table
twice in the same query (with AS) the table needs to be opened twice.
The first open of any table takes two file descriptors; each additional
use of the table takes only one file descriptor. The extra descriptor
for the first open is used for the index file; this descriptor is shared
among all threads.
You can check if your table cache is too small by checking the mysqld
variable opened_tables. If this is quite big, even if you
haven't done a lot of FLUSH TABLES, you should increase your table
cache. See section 220.127.116.11 SHOW STATUS.
If you have many files in a directory, open, close, and create operations will
be slow. If you execute SELECT statements on many different tables,
there will be a little overhead when the table cache is full, because for
every table that has to be opened, another must be closed. You can reduce
this overhead by making the table cache larger.
This can be somewhat perplexing if you only have 6 tables.
MySQL is multithreaded, so it may have many queries on the same
table simultaneously. To minimize the problem with two threads having
different states on the same file, the table is opened independently by
each concurrent thread. This takes some memory and one extra file
descriptor for the data file. The index file descriptor is shared
between all threads.
We start with the system level things since some of these decisions have
to be made very early. In other cases a fast look at this part may
suffice because it not that important for the big gains. However, it is always
nice to have a feeling about how much one could gain by changing things
at this level.
The default OS to use is really important! To get the most use of
multiple CPU machines one should use Solaris (because the threads works
really nice) or Linux (because the 2.2 kernel has really good SMP
support). Also on 32-bit machines Linux has a 2G file size limit by
default. Hopefully this will be fixed soon when new filesystems are
released (XFS/Reiserfs). If you have a desperate need for files bigger
than 2G on Linux-intel 32 bit, you should get the LFS patch for the ext2
Because we have not run MySQL in production on that many platforms, we
advice you to test your intended platform before choosing it, if possible.
If you have enough RAM, you could remove all swap devices. Some
operating systems will use a swap device in some contexts even if you
have free memory.
Use the --skip-locking MySQL option to avoid external
locking. Note that this will not impact MySQL's functionality as
long as you only run one server. Just remember to take down the server (or
lock relevant parts) before you run myisamchk. On some system
this switch is mandatory because the external locking does not work in any
The --skip-locking option is on by default when compiling with
MIT-pthreads, because flock() isn't fully supported by
MIT-pthreads on all platforms. It's also on default for Linux
as Linux file locking are not yet safe.
The only case when you can't use --skip-locking is if you run
multiple MySQL servers (not clients) on the same data,
or run myisamchk on the table without first flushing and locking
the mysqld server tables first.
You can still use LOCK TABLES/UNLOCK TABLES even if you
are using --skip-locking
You can get the default buffer sizes used by the mysqld server
with this command:
shell> mysqld --help
This command produces a list of all mysqld options and configurable
variables. The output includes the default values and looks something
Possible variables for option --set-variable (-O) are:
back_log current value: 5
bdb_cache_size current value: 1048540
binlog_cache_size current_value: 32768
connect_timeout current value: 5
delayed_insert_timeout current value: 300
delayed_insert_limit current value: 100
delayed_queue_size current value: 1000
flush_time current value: 0
interactive_timeout current value: 28800
join_buffer_size current value: 131072
key_buffer_size current value: 1048540
lower_case_table_names current value: 0
long_query_time current value: 10
max_allowed_packet current value: 1048576
max_binlog_cache_size current_value: 4294967295
max_connections current value: 100
max_connect_errors current value: 10
max_delayed_threads current value: 20
max_heap_table_size current value: 16777216
max_join_size current value: 4294967295
max_sort_length current value: 1024
max_tmp_tables current value: 32
max_write_lock_count current value: 4294967295
myisam_sort_buffer_size current value: 8388608
net_buffer_length current value: 16384
net_retry_count current value: 10
net_read_timeout current value: 30
net_write_timeout current value: 60
query_buffer_size current value: 0
record_buffer current value: 131072
record_rnd_buffer current value: 131072
slow_launch_time current value: 2
sort_buffer current value: 2097116
table_cache current value: 64
thread_concurrency current value: 10
tmp_table_size current value: 1048576
thread_stack current value: 131072
wait_timeout current value: 28800
If there is a mysqld server currently running, you can see what
values it actually is using for the variables by executing this command:
shell> mysqladmin variables
You can find a full description for all variables in the SHOW VARIABLES
section in this manual. See section 18.104.22.168 SHOW VARIABLES.
You can also see some statistics from a running server by issuing the command
SHOW STATUS. See section 22.214.171.124 SHOW STATUS.
MySQL uses algorithms that are very scalable, so you can usually
run with very little memory. If you, however, give MySQL more
memory, you will normally also get better performance.
When tuning a MySQL server, the two most important variables to use
are key_buffer_size and table_cache. You should first feel
confident that you have these right before trying to change any of the
If you have much memory (>=256M) and many tables and want maximum performance
with a moderate number of clients, you should use something like this:
If you are doing a GROUP BY or ORDER BY on files that are
much bigger than your available memory you should increase the value of
record_rnd_buffer to speed up the reading of rows after the sorting
When you have installed MySQL, the `support-files' directory will
contain some different my.cnf example files, `my-huge.cnf',
`my-large.cnf', `my-medium.cnf', and `my-small.cnf', you can
use as a base to optimize your system.
If there are very many connections, ``swapping problems'' may occur unless
mysqld has been configured to use very little memory for each
connection. mysqld performs better if you have enough memory for all
connections, of course.
Note that if you change an option to mysqld, it remains in effect only
for that instance of the server.
To see the effects of a parameter change, do something like this:
shell> mysqld -O key_buffer=32m --help
Make sure that the --help option is last; otherwise, the effect of any
options listed after it on the command line will not be reflected in the
Most of the following tests are done on Linux with the
MySQL benchmarks, but they should give some indication for
other operating systems and workloads.
You get the fastest executable when you link with -static.
On Linux, you will get the fastest code when compiling with pgcc
and -O3. To compile `sql_yacc.cc' with these options, you
need about 200M memory because gcc/pgcc needs a lot of memory to
make all functions inline. You should also set CXX=gcc when
configuring MySQL to avoid inclusion of the libstdc++
library (it is not needed). Note that with some versions of pgcc,
the resulting code will only run on true Pentium processors, even if you
use the compiler option that you want the resulting code to be working on
all x586 type processors (like AMD).
By just using a better compiler and/or better compiler options you can
get a 10-30 % speed increase in your application. This is particularly
important if you compile the SQL server yourself!
We have tested both the Cygnus CodeFusion and Fujitsu compilers, but
when we tested them, neither was sufficiently bug free to allow
MySQL to be compiled with optimizations on.
When you compile MySQL you should only include support for the
character sets that you are going to use. (Option --with-charset=xxx).
The standard MySQL binary distributions are compiled with support
for all character sets.
Here is a list of some measurements that we have done:
If you use pgcc and compile everything with -O6, the
mysqld server is 1% faster than with gcc 2.95.2.
If you link dynamically (without -static), the result is 13%
slower on Linux. Note that you still can use a dynamic linked
MySQL library. It is only the server that is critical for
If you strip your mysqld binary with strip libexec/mysqld,
the resulting binary can be up to 4 % faster.
If you connect using TCP/IP rather than Unix sockets, the result is 7.5%
slower on the same computer. (If you are connection to localhost,
MySQL will, by default, use sockets).
If you connect using TCP/IP from another computer over a 100M Ethernet,
things will be 8-11 % slower.
If you compile with --with-debug=full, then you will loose 20 %
for most queries, but some queries may take substantially longer (The
MySQL benchmarks ran 35 % slower)
If you use --with-debug, then you will only loose 15 %.
By starting a mysqld version compiled with --with-debug=full
with --skip-safemalloc the end result should be close to when
configuring with --with-debug.
On a Sun SPARCstation 20, SunPro C++ 4.2 is 5 % faster than gcc 2.95.2.
Compiling with gcc 2.95.2 for ultrasparc with the option
-mcpu=v8 -Wa,-xarch=v8plusa gives 4 % more performance.
On Solaris 2.5.1, MIT-pthreads is 8-12% slower than Solaris native
threads on a single processor. With more load/CPUs the difference should
Running with --log-bin makes [MySQL 1 % slower.
Compiling on Linux-x86 using gcc without frame pointers
-fomit-frame-pointer or -fomit-frame-pointer -ffixed-ebpmysqld 1-4% faster.
The MySQL-Linux distribution provided by MySQL AB used
to be compiled with pgcc, but we had to go back to regular gcc
because of a bug in pgcc that would generate the code that does
not run on AMD. We will continue using gcc until that bug is resolved.
In the meantime, if you have a non-AMD machine, you can get a faster
binary by compiling with pgcc. The standard MySQL
Linux binary is linked statically to get it faster and more portable.
The list below indicates some of the ways that the mysqld server
uses memory. Where applicable, the name of the server variable relevant
to the memory use is given:
The key buffer (variable key_buffer_size) is shared by all
threads; Other buffers used by the server are allocated as
needed. See section 5.5.2 Tuning Server Parameters.
Each connection uses some thread-specific space: A stack (default 64K,
variable thread_stack), a connection buffer (variable
net_buffer_length), and a result buffer (variable
net_buffer_length). The connection buffer and result buffer are
dynamically enlarged up to max_allowed_packet when needed. When
a query is running, a copy of the current query string is also allocated.
All threads share the same base memory.
Only the compressed ISAM / MyISAM tables are memory mapped. This is
because the 32-bit memory space of 4GB is not large enough for most
big tables. When systems with a 64-bit address space become more
common we may add general support for memory mapping.
Each request doing a sequential scan over a table allocates a read buffer
When reading rows in 'random' order (for example after a sort) a
random-read buffer is allocated to avoid disk seeks.
All joins are done in one pass, and most joins can be done without even
using a temporary table. Most temporary tables are memory-based (HEAP)
tables. Temporary tables with a big record length (calculated as the
sum of all column lengths) or that contain BLOB columns are
stored on disk.
One problem in MySQL versions before Version 3.23.2 is that if a HEAP table
exceeds the size of tmp_table_size, you get the error The
table tbl_name is full. In newer versions this is handled by
automatically changing the in-memory (HEAP) table to a disk-based
(MyISAM) table as necessary. To work around this problem, you can
increase the temporary table size by setting the tmp_table_size
option to mysqld, or by setting the SQL option
SQL_BIG_TABLES in the client program. See section 5.5.6 SET Syntax. In MySQL Version 3.20, the maximum size of the
temporary table was record_buffer*16, so if you are using this
version, you have to increase the value of record_buffer. You can
also start mysqld with the --big-tables option to always
store temporary tables on disk. However, this will affect the speed of
many complicated queries.
Almost all parsing and calculating is done in a local memory store. No
memory overhead is needed for small items and the normal slow memory
allocation and freeing is avoided. Memory is allocated only for
unexpectedly large strings (this is done with malloc() and
Each index file is opened once and the data file is opened once for each
concurrently running thread. For each concurrent thread, a table structure,
column structures for each column, and a buffer of size 3 * n is
allocated (where n is the maximum row length, not counting BLOB
columns). A BLOB uses 5 to 8 bytes plus the length of the BLOB
data. The ISAM/MyISAM table handlers will use one extra row
buffer for internal usage.
For each table having BLOB columns, a buffer is enlarged dynamically
to read in larger BLOB values. If you scan a table, a buffer as large
as the largest BLOB value is allocated.
Table handlers for all in-use tables are saved in a cache and managed as a
FIFO. Normally the cache has 64 entries. If a table has been used by two
running threads at the same time, the cache contains two entries for the
table. See section 5.4.6 How MySQL Opens and Closes Tables.
A mysqladmin flush-tables command closes all tables that are not in
use and marks all in-use tables to be closed when the currently executing
thread finishes. This will effectively free most in-use memory.
ps and other system status programs may report that mysqld
uses a lot of memory. This may be caused by thread-stacks on different
memory addresses. For example, the Solaris version of ps counts
the unused memory between stacks as used memory. You can verify this by
checking available swap with swap -s. We have tested
mysqld with commercial memory-leakage detectors, so there should
be no memory leaks.
When a new thread connects to mysqld, mysqld will span a
new thread to handle the request. This thread will first check if the
hostname is in the hostname cache. If not the thread will call
gethostbyaddr_r() and gethostbyname_r() to resolve the
If the operating system doesn't support the above thread-safe calls, the
thread will lock a mutex and call gethostbyaddr() and
gethostbyname() instead. Note that in this case no other thread
can resolve other hostnames that is not in the hostname cache until the
first thread is ready.
You can disable DNS host lookup by starting mysqld with
--skip-name-resolve. In this case you can however only use IP
names in the MySQL privilege tables.
If you have a very slow DNS and many hosts, you can get more performance by
either disabling DNS lookop with --skip-name-resolve or by
increasing the HOST_CACHE_SIZE define (default: 128) and recompile
You can disable the hostname cache with --skip-host-cache. You
can clear the hostname cache with FLUSH HOSTS or mysqladmin
If you don't want to allow connections over TCP/IP, you can do this
by starting mysqld with --skip-networking.
SET OPTION sets various options that affect the operation of the
server or your client. Any option you set remains in effect until the
current session ends, or until you set the option to a different value.
CHARACTER SET character_set_name | DEFAULT
This maps all strings from and to the client with the given mapping.
Currently the only option for character_set_name is
cp1251_koi8, but you can easily add new mappings by editing the
`sql/convert.cc' file in the MySQL source distribution. The
default mapping can be restored by using a character_set_name value of
Note that the syntax for setting the CHARACTER SET option differs
from the syntax for setting the other options.
PASSWORD = PASSWORD('some password')
Set the password for the current user. Any non-anonymous user can change his
PASSWORD FOR user = PASSWORD('some password')
Set the password for a specific user on the current server host. Only a user
with access to the mysql database can do this. The user should be
given in user@hostname format, where user and hostname
are exactly as they are listed in the User and Host columns of
the mysql.user table entry. For example, if you had an entry with
User and Host fields of 'bob' and '%.loc.gov',
you would write:
mysql> SET PASSWORD FOR bob@"%.loc.gov" = PASSWORD("newpass");
mysql> UPDATE mysql.user SET password=PASSWORD("newpass") where user="bob' and host="%.loc.gov";
SQL_AUTO_IS_NULL = 0 | 1
If set to 1 (default) then one can find the last inserted row
for a table with an auto_increment row with the following construct:
WHERE auto_increment_column IS NULL. This is used by some
ODBC programs like Access.
AUTOCOMMIT= 0 | 1
If set to 1 all changes to a table will be done at once. To start
a multi-command transaction, you have to use the BEGIN
statement. See section 6.7.1 BEGIN/COMMIT/ROLLBACK Syntax. If set to 0 you have to use COMMIT /
ROLLBACK to accept/revoke that transaction. See section 6.7.1 BEGIN/COMMIT/ROLLBACK Syntax. Note
that when you change from not AUTOCOMMIT mode to
AUTOCOMMIT mode, MySQL will do an automatic
COMMIT on any open transactions.
SQL_BIG_TABLES = 0 | 1
If set to 1, all temporary tables are stored on disk rather than in
memory. This will be a little slower, but you will not get the error
The table tbl_name is full for big SELECT operations that
require a large temporary table. The default value for a new connection is
0 (that is, use in-memory temporary tables).
SQL_BIG_SELECTS = 0 | 1
If set to 0, MySQL will abort if a SELECT is attempted
that probably will take a very long time. This is useful when an inadvisable
WHERE statement has been issued. A big query is defined as a
SELECT that probably will have to examine more than
max_join_size rows. The default value for a new connection is
1 (which will allow all SELECT statements).
SQL_BUFFER_RESULT = 0 | 1
SQL_BUFFER_RESULT will force the result from SELECT's
to be put into a temporary table. This will help MySQL free the
table locks early and will help in cases where it takes a long time to
send the result set to the client.
SQL_LOW_PRIORITY_UPDATES = 0 | 1
If set to 1, all INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, and
and LOCK TABLE WRITE statements wait until there is no pending
SELECT or LOCK TABLE READ on the affected table.
SQL_MAX_JOIN_SIZE = value | DEFAULT
Don't allow SELECTs that will probably need to examine more than
value row combinations. By setting this value, you can catch
SELECTs where keys are not used properly and that would probably
take a long time. Setting this to a value other than DEFAULT will reset
the SQL_BIG_SELECTS flag. If you set the SQL_BIG_SELECTS
flag again, the SQL_MAX_JOIN_SIZE variable will be ignored.
You can set a default value for this variable by starting mysqld with
SQL_SAFE_UPDATES = 0 | 1
If set to 1, MySQL will abort if an UPDATE or
DELETE is attempted that doesn't use a key or LIMIT in the
WHERE clause. This makes it possible to catch wrong updates
when creating SQL commands by hand.
SQL_SELECT_LIMIT = value | DEFAULT
The maximum number of records to return from SELECT statements. If
a SELECT has a LIMIT clause, the LIMIT takes precedence
over the value of SQL_SELECT_LIMIT. The default value for a new
connection is ``unlimited.'' If you have changed the limit, the default value
can be restored by using a SQL_SELECT_LIMIT value of DEFAULT.
SQL_LOG_OFF = 0 | 1
If set to 1, no logging will be done to the standard log for this
client, if the client has the process privilege. This does not
affect the update log!
SQL_LOG_UPDATE = 0 | 1
If set to 0, no logging will be done to the update log for the client,
if the client has the process privilege. This does not affect the
SQL_QUOTE_SHOW_CREATE = 0 | 1
If set to 1, SHOW CREATE TABLE will quote
table and column names. This is on by default,
for replication of tables with fancy column names to work.
section 126.96.36.199 SHOW CREATE TABLE.
TIMESTAMP = timestamp_value | DEFAULT
Set the time for this client. This is used to get the original timestamp if
you use the update log to restore rows. timestamp_value should be a
UNIX Epoch timestamp, not a MySQL timestamp.
LAST_INSERT_ID = #
Set the value to be returned from LAST_INSERT_ID(). This is stored in
the update log when you use LAST_INSERT_ID() in a command that updates
INSERT_ID = #
Set the value to be used by the following INSERT or ALTER TABLE
command when inserting an AUTO_INCREMENT value. This is mainly used
with the update log.
As mentioned before, disks seeks are a big performance bottleneck. This
problems gets more and more apparent when the data starts to grow so
large that effective caching becomes impossible. For large databases,
where you access data more or less randomly, you can be sure that you
will need at least one disk seek to read and a couple of disk seeks to
write things. To minimize this problem, use disks with low seek times.
Increase the number of available disk spindles (and thereby reduce
the seek overhead) by either symlink files to different disks or striping
Using symbolic links
This means that you symlink the index and/or data file(s) from the
normal data directory to another disk (that may also be striped). This
makes both the seek and read times better (if the disks are not used for
other things). See section 5.6.1 Using Symbolic Links.
Striping means that you have many disks and put the first block on the
first disk, the second block on the second disk, and the Nth on the
(N mod number_of_disks) disk, and so on. This means if your normal data
size is less than the stripe size (or perfectly aligned) you will get
much better performance. Note that striping is very dependent on the OS
and stripe-size. So benchmark your application with different
stripe-sizes. See section 5.1.5 Using Your Own Benchmarks.
Note that the speed difference for striping is very dependent
on the parameters. Depending on how you set the striping parameters and
number of disks you may get a difference in orders of magnitude. Note that
you have to choose to optimize for random or sequential access.
For reliability you may want to use RAID 0+1 (striping + mirroring), but
in this case you will need 2*N drives to hold N drives of data. This is
probably the best option if you have the money for it! You may, however,
also have to invest in some volume-management software to handle it
A good option is to have semi-important data (that can be regenerated)
on RAID 0 disk while storing really important data (like host information
and logs) on a RAID 0+1 or RAID N disk. RAID N can be a problem if you
have many writes because of the time to update the parity bits.
You may also set the parameters for the file system that the database
uses. One easy change is to mount the file system with the noatime
option. That makes it skip the updating of the last access time in the
inode and by this will avoid some disk seeks.
On Linux, you can get much more performance (up to 100 % under load is
not uncommon) by using hdpram to configure your disk's interface! The
following should be quite good hdparm options for MySQL (and
probably many other applications):
hdparm -m 16 -d 1
Note that the performance/reliability when using the above depends on
your hardware, so we strongly suggest that you test your system
thoroughly after using hdparm! Please consult the hdparm
man page for more information! If hdparm is not used wisely,
filesystem corruption may result. Backup everything before experimenting!
On many operating systems you can mount the disks with the 'async' flag to
set the file system to be updated asynchronously. If your computer is
reasonable stable, this should give you more performance without sacrificing
too much reliability. (This flag is on by default on Linux.)
If you don't need to know when a file was last accessed (which is not
really useful on a database server), you can mount your file systems
with the noatime flag.
You can move tables and databases from the database directory to other
locations and replace them with symbolic links to the new locations.
You might want to do this, for example, to move a database to a file
system with more free space or increase the speed of your system by
spreading your tables to different disk.
The recommended may to do this, is to just symlink databases to different
disk and only symlink tables as a last resort.
MySQL doesn't support that you link one directory to multiple
databases. Replacing a database directory with a symbolic link will
work fine as long as you don't make a symbolic link between databases.
Suppose you have a database db1 under the MySQL data
directory, and then make a symlink db2 that points to db1:
shell> cd /path/to/datadir
shell> ln -s db1 db2
Now, for any table tbl_a in db1, there also appears to be
a table tbl_a in db2. If one thread updates db1.tbl_a
and another thread updates db2.tbl_a, there will be problems.
If you really need this, you must change the following code in
if (flag & 32 || (!lstat(to,&stat_buff) && S_ISLNK(stat_buff.st_mode)))
Before MySQL 4.0 you should not symlink tables, if you are not
very carefully with them. The problem is that if you run ALTER
TABLE, REPAIR TABLE or OPTIMIZE TABLE on a symlinked
table, the symlinks will be removed and replaced by the original
files. This happens because the above command works by creating a
temporary file in the database directory and when the command is
complete, replace the original file with the temporary file.
You should not symlink tables on system that doesn't have a fully
working realpath() call. (At least Linux and Solaris support
In MySQL 4.0 symlinks is only fully supported for MyISAM
tables. For other table types you will probably get strange problems
when doing any of the above mentioned commands.
The handling of symbolic links in MySQL 4.0 works the following
way (this is mostly relevant only for MyISAM tables).
In the data directory you will always have the table definition file
and the data/index files.
You can symlink the index file and the data file to different directories
independent of the other.
The symlinking can be done from the operating system (if mysqld is
not running) or with the INDEX/DATA DIRECTORY="path-to-dir" command
in CREATE TABLE. See section 6.5.3 CREATE TABLE Syntax.
myisamchk will not replace a symlink with the index/file but
work directly on the files the symlinks points to. Any temporary files
will be created in the same directory where the data/index file is.
When you drop a table that is using symlinks, both the symlink and the
file the symlink points to is dropped. This is a good reason to why you
should NOT run mysqld as root and not allow persons to have write
access to the MySQL database directories.
If you rename a table with ALTER TABLE RENAME and you don't change
database, the symlink in the database directory will be renamed to the new
name and the data/index file will be renamed accordingly.
If you use ALTER TABLE RENAME to move a table to another database,
then the table will be moved to the other database directory and the old
symlinks and the files they pointed to will be deleted.
If you are not using symlinks you should use the --skip-symlink
option to mysqld to ensure that no one can drop or rename a file
outside of the mysqld data directory.
Things that are not yet supported:
ALTER TABLE ignores all INDEX/DATA DIRECTORY="path" options.
CREATE TABLE doesn't report if the table has symbolic links.
mysqldump doesn't include the symbolic links information in the output.
BACKUP TABLE and RESTORE TABLE don't respect symbolic links.