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Table of Contents
InnoDBStartup Options and System Variables
InnoDBData and Log Files
InnoDBDatabase to Another Machine
InnoDBTransaction Model and Locking
InnoDBPerformance Tuning Tips
InnoDBTable and Index Structures
InnoDBFile Space Management and Disk I/O
HEAP) Storage Engine
BerkeleyDB) Storage Engine
MySQL supports several storage engines that act as handlers for different table types. MySQL storage engines include both those that handle transaction-safe tables and those that handle non-transaction-safe tables:
MyISAM manages non-transactional tables. It provides high-speed storage and retrieval, as well as fulltext searching capabilities.
MyISAM is supported in all MySQL configurations, and is the default storage engine unless you have configured MySQL to use a different one by default.
MEMORY storage engine provides in-memory tables. The
MERGE storage engine allows a collection of identical
MyISAM tables to be handled as a single table. Like
MERGE storage engines handle non-transactional tables, and both are also included in MySQL by default.
MEMORY storage engine formerly was known as the
BDB storage engines provide transaction-safe tables.
InnoDB is included by default in all MySQL 5.0 binary distributions. In source distributions, you can enable or disable either engine by configuring MySQL as you like.
EXAMPLE storage engine is a “stub” engine that does nothing. You can create tables with this engine, but no data can be stored in them or retrieved from them. The purpose of this engine is to serve as an example in the MySQL source code that illustrates how to begin writing new storage engines. As such, it is primarily of interest to developers.
NDB Cluster is the storage engine used by MySQL Cluster to implement tables that are partitioned over many computers. It is available in MySQL 5.0 binary distributions. This storage engine is currently supported on a number of Unix platforms. We intend to add support for this engine on other platforms, including Windows, in future MySQL releases.
MySQL Cluster is covered in a separate chapter of this Manual. See Chapter 15, MySQL Cluster, for more information.
ARCHIVE storage engine is used for storing large amounts of data without indexes with a very small footprint.
CSV storage engine stores data in text files using comma-separated values format.
BLACKHOLE storage engine accepts but does not store data and retrievals always return an empty set.
FEDERATED storage engine was added in MySQL 5.0.3. This engine stores data in a remote database. Currently, it works with MySQL only, using the MySQL C Client API. In future releases, we intend to enable it to connect to other data sources using other drivers or client connection methods.
This chapter describes each of the MySQL storage engines except for
NDB Cluster, which is covered in Chapter 15, MySQL Cluster.
For answers to some commonly asked questions about MySQL storage engines, see Section A.2, “MySQL 5.0 FAQ — Storage Engines”.
When you create a new table, you can specify which storage engine to use by adding an
TYPE table option to the
CREATE TABLE statement:
CREATE TABLE t (i INT) ENGINE = INNODB; CREATE TABLE t (i INT) TYPE = MEMORY;
The older term
TYPE is supported as a synonym for
ENGINE for backward compatibility, but
ENGINE is the preferred term and
TYPE is deprecated.
If you omit the
TYPE option, the default storage engine is used. Normally, this is
MyISAM, but you can change it by using the
--default-table-type server startup option, or by setting the
default-table-type option in the
my.cnf configuration file.
You can set the default storage engine to be used during the current session by setting the
SET storage_engine=MYISAM; SET table_type=BDB;
When MySQL is installed on Windows using the MySQL Configuration Wizard, the
InnoDB storage engine can be selected as the default instead of
MyISAM. See Section 188.8.131.52.5, “The Database Usage Dialog”.
To convert a table from one storage engine to another, use an
ALTER TABLE statement that indicates the new engine:
ALTER TABLE t ENGINE = MYISAM; ALTER TABLE t TYPE = BDB;
If you try to use a storage engine that is not compiled in or that is compiled in but deactivated, MySQL instead creates a table using the default storage engine, usually
MyISAM. This behavior is convenient when you want to copy tables between MySQL servers that support different storage engines. (For example, in a replication setup, perhaps your master server supports transactional storage engines for increased safety, but the slave servers use only non-transactional storage engines for greater speed.)
This automatic substitution of the default storage engine for unavailable engines can be confusing for new MySQL users. A warning is generated whenever a storage engine is automatically changed.
For new tables, MySQL always creates an
.frm file to hold the table and column definitions. The table's index and data may be stored in one or more other files, depending on the storage engine. The server creates the
.frm file above the storage engine level. Individual storage engines create any additional files required for the tables that they manage.
A database may contain tables of different types. That is, tables need not all be created with the same storage engine.
Transaction-safe tables (TSTs) have several advantages over non-transaction-safe tables (NTSTs):
They are safer. Even if MySQL crashes or you get hardware problems, you can get your data back, either by automatic recovery or from a backup plus the transaction log.
You can combine many statements and accept them all at the same time with the
COMMIT statement (if autocommit is disabled).
You can execute
ROLLBACK to ignore your changes (if autocommit is disabled).
If an update fails, all of your changes are reverted. (With non-transaction-safe tables, all changes that have taken place are permanent.)
Transaction-safe storage engines can provide better concurrency for tables that get many updates concurrently with reads.
You can combine transaction-safe and non-transaction-safe tables in the same statements to get the best of both worlds. However, although MySQL supports several transaction-safe storage engines, for best results, you should not mix different storage engines within a transaction with autocommit disabled. For example, if you do this, changes to non-transaction-safe tables still are committed immediately and cannot be rolled back. For information about this and other problems that can occur in transactions that use mixed storage engines, see Section 13.4.1, “
Non-transaction-safe tables have several advantages of their own, all of which occur because there is no transaction overhead:
Lower disk space requirements
Less memory required to perform updates
MyISAM is the default storage engine. It is based on the older
ISAM code but has many useful extensions. (Note that MySQL 5.0 does not support
MyISAM table is stored on disk in three files. The files have names that begin with the table name and have an extension to indicate the file type. An
.frm file stores the table format. The data file has an
MYData) extension. The index file has an
To specify explicitly that you want a
MyISAM table, indicate that with an
ENGINE table option:
CREATE TABLE t (i INT) ENGINE = MYISAM;
The older term
TYPE is supported as a synonym for
ENGINE for backward compatibility, but
ENGINE is the preferred term and
TYPE is deprecated.
Normally, it is unnecesary to use
ENGINE to specify the
MyISAM storage engine.
MyISAM is the default engine unless the default has been changed. To ensure that
MyISAM is used in situations where the default might have been changed, include the
ENGINE option explicitly.
You can check or repair
MyISAM tables with the mysqlcheck client or myisamchk utility. You can also compress
MyISAM tables with myisampack to take up much less space. See Section 8.12, “mysqlcheck — A Table Maintenance and Repair Program”, Section 184.108.40.206, “Using myisamchk for Crash Recovery”, and Section 8.7, “myisampack — Generate Compressed, Read-Only MyISAM Tables”.
MyISAM tables have the following characteristics:
All data values are stored with the low byte first. This makes the data machine and operating system independent. The only requirements for binary portability are that the machine uses two's-complement signed integers and IEEE floating-point format. These requirements are widely used among mainstream machines. Binary compatibility might not be applicable to embedded systems, which sometimes have peculiar processors.
There is no significant speed penalty for storing data low byte first; the bytes in a table row normally are unaligned and it takes little more processing to read an unaligned byte in order than in reverse order. Also, the code in the server that fetches column values is not time critical compared to other code.
All numeric key values are stored with the high byte first to allow better index compression.
Large files (up to 63-bit file length) are supported on filesystems and operating systems that support large files.
There is a limit of 232 (~4.295E+09) rows in a
MyISAM table. If you build MySQL with the
--with-big-tables option, the row limitation is increased to (232)2 (1.844E+19) rows. See Section 220.127.116.11, “Typical configure Options”. Binary distributions for Unix and Linux are built with this option.
The maximum number of indexes per
MyISAM table is 64. This can be changed by recompiling. Beginning with MySQL 5.0.18, you can configure the build by invoking configure with the
--with-max-indexes= option, where
N is the maximum number of indexes to permit per
N must be less than or equal to 128. Before MySQL 5.0.18, you must change the source.
The maximum number of columns per index is 16.
The maximum key length is 1000 bytes. This can also be changed by changing the source and recompiling. For the case of a key longer than 250 bytes, a larger key block size than the default of 1024 bytes is used.
When rows are inserted in sorted order (as when you are using an
AUTO_INCREMENT column), the index tree is split so that the high node only contains one key. This improves space utilization in the index tree.
Internal handling of one
AUTO_INCREMENT column per table is supported.
MyISAM automatically updates this column for
UPDATE operations. This makes
AUTO_INCREMENT columns faster (at least 10%). Values at the top of the sequence are not reused after being deleted. (When an
AUTO_INCREMENT column is defined as the last column of a multiple-column index, reuse of values deleted from the top of a sequence does occur.) The
AUTO_INCREMENT value can be reset with
ALTER TABLE or myisamchk.
Dynamic-sized rows are much less fragmented when mixing deletes with updates and inserts. This is done by automatically combining adjacent deleted blocks and by extending blocks if the next block is deleted.
MyISAM supports concurrent inserts: If a table has no free blocks in the middle of the data file, you can
INSERT new rows into it at the same time that other threads are reading from the table. A free block can occur as a result of deleting rows or an update of a dynamic length row with more data than its current contents. When all free blocks are used up (filled in), future inserts become concurrent again. See Section 7.3.3, “Concurrent Inserts”.
You can put the data file and index file on different directories to get more speed with the
DATA DIRECTORY and
INDEX DIRECTORY table options to
CREATE TABLE. See Section 13.1.5, “
CREATE TABLE Syntax”.
TEXT columns can be indexed.
NULL values are allowed in indexed columns. This takes 0–1 bytes per key.
Each character column can have a different character set. See Chapter 10, Character Set Support.
There is a flag in the
MyISAM index file that indicates whether the table was closed correctly. If mysqld is started with the
MyISAM tables are automatically checked when opened, and are repaired if the table wasn't closed properly.
myisamchk marks tables as checked if you run it with the
--update-state option. myisamchk --fast checks only those tables that don't have this mark.
myisamchk --analyze stores statistics for portions of keys, as well as for entire keys.
myisampack can pack
MyISAM also supports the following features:
Support for a true
VARCHAR type; a
VARCHAR column starts with a length stored in one or two bytes.
VARCHAR columns may have fixed or dynamic row length.
The sum of the lengths of the
CHAR columns in a table may be up to 64KB.
A forum dedicated to the
MyISAM storage engine is available at http://forums.mysql.com/list.php?21.
The following options to mysqld can be used to change the behavior of
MyISAM tables. For additional information, see Section 5.2.2, “Command Options”.
Set the mode for automatic recovery of crashed
Don't flush key buffers between writes for any
Note: If you do this, you should not access
MyISAM tables from another program (such as from another MySQL server or with myisamchk) when the tables are in use. Doing so risks index corruption. Using
--external-locking does not eliminate this risk.
The following system variables affect the behavior of
MyISAM tables. For additional information, see Section 5.2.3, “System Variables”.
The size of the tree cache used in bulk insert optimization. Note: This is a limit per thread!
Used to help MySQL to decide when to use the slow but safe key cache index creation method. Note: This parameter was given in bytes before MySQL 5.0.6, when it was removed.
The maximum size of the temporary file that MySQL is allowed to use while re-creating a
MyISAM index (during
ALTER TABLE, or
LOAD DATA INFILE). If the file size would be larger than this value, the index is created using the key cache instead, which is slower. The value is given in bytes.
Set the size of the buffer used when recovering tables.
Automatic recovery is activated if you start mysqld with the
--myisam-recover option. In this case, when the server opens a
MyISAM table, it checks whether the table is marked as crashed or whether the open count variable for the table is not 0 and you are running the server with external locking disabled. If either of these conditions is true, the following happens:
MySQL Enterprise. Subscribers to MySQL Network Monitoring and Advisory Service receive notification if the
--myisam-recover option has not been set. For more information see http://www.mysql.com/products/enterprise/advisors.html.
The server checks the table for errors.
If the server finds an error, it tries to do a fast table repair (with sorting and without re-creating the data file).
If the repair fails because of an error in the data file (for example, a duplicate-key error), the server tries again, this time re-creating the data file.
If the repair still fails, the server tries once more with the old repair option method (write row by row without sorting). This method should be able to repair any type of error and has low disk space requirements.
If the recovery wouldn't be able to recover all rows from previously completed statements and you didn't specify
FORCE in the value of the
--myisam-recover option, automatic repair aborts with an error message in the error log:
Error: Couldn't repair table: test.g00pages
If you specify
FORCE, a warning like this is written instead:
Warning: Found 344 of 354 rows when repairing ./test/g00pages
Note that if the automatic recovery value includes
BACKUP, the recovery process creates files with names of the form
. You should have a cron script that automatically moves these files from the database directories to backup media.
MyISAM tables use B-tree indexes. You can roughly calculate the size for the index file as
(key_length+4)/0.67, summed over all keys. This is for the worst case when all keys are inserted in sorted order and the table doesn't have any compressed keys.
String indexes are space compressed. If the first index part is a string, it is also prefix compressed. Space compression makes the index file smaller than the worst-case figure if a string column has a lot of trailing space or is a
VARCHAR column that is not always used to the full length. Prefix compression is used on keys that start with a string. Prefix compression helps if there are many strings with an identical prefix.
MyISAM tables, you can also prefix compress numbers by specifying the
PACK_KEYS=1 table option when you create the table. Numbers are stored with the high byte first, so this helps when you have many integer keys that have an identical prefix.
MyISAM supports three different storage formats. Two of them, fixed and dynamic format, are chosen automatically depending on the type of columns you are using. The third, compressed format, can be created only with the myisampack utility.
When you use
CREATE TABLE or
ALTER TABLE for a table that has no
TEXT columns, you can force the table format to
DYNAMIC with the
ROW_FORMAT table option.
You can decompress tables by specifying
See Section 13.1.5, “
CREATE TABLE Syntax”, for information about
Static format is the default for
MyISAM tables. It is used when the table contains no variable-length columns (
TEXT). Each row is stored using a fixed number of bytes.
Of the three
MyISAM storage formats, static format is the simplest and most secure (least subject to corruption). It is also the fastest of the on-disk formats due to the ease with which rows in the data file can be found on disk: To look up a row based on a row number in the index, multiply the row number by the row length to calculate the row position. Also, when scanning a table, it is very easy to read a constant number of rows with each disk read operation.
The security is evidenced if your computer crashes while the MySQL server is writing to a fixed-format
MyISAM file. In this case, myisamchk can easily determine where each row starts and ends, so it can usually reclaim all rows except the partially written one. Note that
MyISAM table indexes can always be reconstructed based on the data rows.
Fixed-length row format is only available for tables without
TEXT columns. Creating a table with these columns with an explicit
ROW_FORMAT clause will not raise an error or warning; the format specification will be ignored.
Static-format tables have these characteristics:
VARCHAR columns are space-padded to the specified column width, although the column type is not altered. This is also true for
DECIMAL columns created before MySQL 5.0.3.
VARBINARY columns are space-padded to the column width before MySQL 5.0.15. As of 5.0.15,
VARBINARY columns are padded with
Easy to cache.
Easy to reconstruct after a crash, because rows are located in fixed positions.
Reorganization is unnecessary unless you delete a huge number of rows and want to return free disk space to the operating system. To do this, use
OPTIMIZE TABLE or myisamchk -r.
Usually require more disk space than dynamic-format tables.
Dynamic storage format is used if a
MyISAM table contains any variable-length columns (
TEXT), or if the table was created with the
ROW_FORMAT=DYNAMIC table option.
Dynamic format is a little more complex than static format because each row has a header that indicates how long it is. A row can become fragmented (stored in non-contiguous pieces) when it is made longer as a result of an update.
You can use
OPTIMIZE TABLE or myisamchk -r to defragment a table. If you have fixed-length columns that you access or change frequently in a table that also contains some variable-length columns, it might be a good idea to move the variable-length columns to other tables just to avoid fragmentation.
Dynamic-format tables have these characteristics:
All string columns are dynamic except those with a length less than four.
Each row is preceded by a bitmap that indicates which columns contain the empty string (for string columns) or zero (for numeric columns). Note that this does not include columns that contain
NULL values. If a string column has a length of zero after trailing space removal, or a numeric column has a value of zero, it is marked in the bitmap and not saved to disk. Non-empty strings are saved as a length byte plus the string contents.
Much less disk space usually is required than for fixed-length tables.
Each row uses only as much space as is required. However, if a row becomes larger, it is split into as many pieces as are required, resulting in row fragmentation. For example, if you update a row with information that extends the row length, the row becomes fragmented. In this case, you may have to run
OPTIMIZE TABLE or myisamchk -r from time to time to improve performance. Use myisamchk -ei to obtain table statistics.
More difficult than static-format tables to reconstruct after a crash, because rows may be fragmented into many pieces and links (fragments) may be missing.
The expected row length for dynamic-sized rows is calculated using the following expression:
3 + (
number of columns+ 7) / 8 + (
number of char columns) + (
packed size of numeric columns) + (
length of strings) + (
number of NULL columns+ 7) / 8
There is a penalty of 6 bytes for each link. A dynamic row is linked whenever an update causes an enlargement of the row. Each new link is at least 20 bytes, so the next enlargement probably goes in the same link. If not, another link is created. You can find the number of links using myisamchk -ed. All links may be removed with
OPTIMIZE TABLE or myisamchk -r.
Compressed storage format is a read-only format that is generated with the myisampack tool. Compressed tables can be uncompressed with myisamchk.
Compressed tables have the following characteristics:
Compressed tables take very little disk space. This minimizes disk usage, which is helpful when using slow disks (such as CD-ROMs).
Each row is compressed separately, so there is very little access overhead. The header for a row takes up one to three bytes depending on the biggest row in the table. Each column is compressed differently. There is usually a different Huffman tree for each column. Some of the compression types are:
Suffix space compression.
Prefix space compression.
Numbers with a value of zero are stored using one bit.
If values in an integer column have a small range, the column is stored using the smallest possible type. For example, a
BIGINT column (eight bytes) can be stored as a
TINYINT column (one byte) if all its values are in the range from
If a column has only a small set of possible values, the data type is converted to
A column may use any combination of the preceding compression types.
Can be used for fixed-length or dynamic-length rows.
Note. While a compressed table is read-only, and you cannot therefore update or add rows in the table, DDL (Data Definition Language) operations are still valid. For example, you may still use
DROP to drop the table, and
TRUNCATE to empty the table.
The file format that MySQL uses to store data has been extensively tested, but there are always circumstances that may cause database tables to become corrupted. The following discussion describes how this can happen and how to handle it.
Even though the
MyISAM table format is very reliable (all changes to a table made by an SQL statement are written before the statement returns), you can still get corrupted tables if any of the following events occur:
The mysqld process is killed in the middle of a write.
An unexpected computer shutdown occurs (for example, the computer is turned off).
You are using an external program (such as myisamchk) to modify a table that is being modified by the server at the same time.
A software bug in the MySQL or
Typical symptoms of a corrupt table are:
You get the following error while selecting data from the table:
Incorrect key file for table: '...'. Try to repair it
Queries don't find rows in the table or return incomplete results.
You can check the health of a
MyISAM table using the
CHECK TABLE statement, and repair a corrupted
MyISAM table with
REPAIR TABLE. When mysqld is not running, you can also check or repair a table with the myisamchk command. See Section 18.104.22.168, “
CHECK TABLE Syntax”, Section 22.214.171.124, “
REPAIR TABLE Syntax”, and Section 8.5, “myisamchk — MyISAM Table-Maintenance Utility”.
If your tables become corrupted frequently, you should try to determine why this is happening. The most important thing to know is whether the table became corrupted as a result of a server crash. You can verify this easily by looking for a recent
restarted mysqld message in the error log. If there is such a message, it is likely that table corruption is a result of the server dying. Otherwise, corruption may have occurred during normal operation. This is a bug. You should try to create a reproducible test case that demonstrates the problem. See Section B.1.4.2, “What to Do If MySQL Keeps Crashing”, and MySQL Internals: Porting.
MySQL Enterprise. Find out about problems before they occur. Subscribe to the MySQL Network Monitoring and Advisor Service for expert advice about the state of your servers. For more information see http://www.mysql.com/products/enterprise/advisors.html.
MyISAM index file (
.MYI file) has a counter in the header that can be used to check whether a table has been closed properly. If you get the following warning from
CHECK TABLE or myisamchk, it means that this counter has gone out of sync:
clients are using or haven't closed the table properly
This warning doesn't necessarily mean that the table is corrupted, but you should at least check the table.
The counter works as follows:
The first time a table is updated in MySQL, a counter in the header of the index files is incremented.
The counter is not changed during further updates.
When the last instance of a table is closed (because a
FLUSH TABLES operation was performed or because there is no room in the table cache), the counter is decremented if the table has been updated at any point.
When you repair the table or check the table and it is found to be okay, the counter is reset to zero.
To avoid problems with interaction with other processes that might check the table, the counter is not decremented on close if it was zero.
In other words, the counter can become incorrect only under these conditions:
MyISAM table is copied without first issuing
LOCK TABLES and
MySQL has crashed between an update and the final close. (Note that the table may still be okay, because MySQL always issues writes for everything between each statement.)
A table was modified by myisamchk --recover or myisamchk --update-state at the same time that it was in use by mysqld.
Multiple mysqld servers are using the table and one server performed a
REPAIR TABLE or
CHECK TABLE on the table while it was in use by another server. In this setup, it is safe to use
CHECK TABLE, although you might get the warning from other servers. However,
REPAIR TABLE should be avoided because when one server replaces the data file with a new one, this is not known to the other servers.
In general, it is a bad idea to share a data directory among multiple servers. See Section 5.12, “Running Multiple MySQL Servers on the Same Machine”, for additional discussion.
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