InnoDB Performance Optimization Basics
These guidelines work well for a wide range of applications, though the optimal settings, of course, depend on the workload.
The amount of RAM to be provisioned for database servers can vary greatly depending on the size of the database and the specific requirements of the company. Some servers may need a few GBs of RAM, while others may need hundreds of GBs or even terabytes of RAM. Factors that can affect the amount of RAM needed by a database server include the total size of the database, the number of concurrent users, and the complexity of the database queries. As datasets continue to grow in size, the amount of RAM required to store and process these datasets also increases. By caching hot datasets, indexes, and ongoing changes, InnoDB can provide faster response times and utilize disk IO in a much more optimal way.
From a CPU standpoint, faster processors with many cores provide better throughput. CPUs with 32/64 cores are still common, and we see some large clients with 96 cores, and the latest MySQL versions can utilize them much better than before. However, it is worth noting that simply adding more CPU cores does not always result in improved performance. CPU core usage will also depend on the specific workload of the application, such as the number of concurrent users or the complexity of the queries being run.
The type of storage and disk used for database servers can have a significant impact on performance and reliability. Nowadays, solid-state drives (SSDs) or non-volatile memory express (NVMe) drives are preferred over traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) for database servers due to their faster read and write speeds, lower latency, and improved reliability. While NVMe or SSDs are generally more expensive than HDDs, the increased performance and reliability that they offer make them a cost-effective choice for database servers that require fast access to data and minimal downtime. RAID 10 is still the recommended level for most workloads, but make sure your RAID controller can utilize the SSD drive’s performance and will not become the actual bottleneck.
Linux is the most common operating system for high-performance MySQL servers. Make sure to use modern filesystems, like EXT4, XFS, or ZFS in Linux, combined with the most recent kernel. Each of them has its own limits and advantages: for example, XFS is fast in deleting large files, while EXT4 can provide better performance on fast SSD drives, and ZFS in Linux has progressed a lot. Benchmark before you decide.
For database servers, we usually recommend our clients have:
- Jemalloc installed and enabled for MySQL.
- Transparent huge pages (THP) disabled.
- Setting swappiness to one is generally recommended, lowering the tendency of swapping.
- Setting oom_score_adj to -800.
Different cloud providers offer a range of instance types and sizes, each with varying amounts of CPU, memory, and storage. Some cloud providers also offer specialized instances for database workloads, which may provide additional features and optimizations for performance and scalability. One of the benefits of cloud-based database servers is the ability to scale resources up or down as needed. It’s important to consider the potential need for scaling and select an instance type and size to accommodate future growth. Some cloud providers also offer auto-scaling features that can automatically adjust the number of instances based on workload demand.
MySQL InnoDB settings
(Dynamic) – Does not require MySQL restart for change.
(Static) – Requires MySQL restart for change.
https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/8.0/en/innodb-parameters.html#sysvar_innodb_buffer_pool_size) (Dynamic) – InnoDB relies heavily on the buffer pool and should be set correctly. Typically a good value is 70%-80% of available memory. Also, refer to innodb_buffer_pool_chunk_size mentioned below.
https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/8.0/en/innodb-parameters.html#sysvar_innodb_buffer_pool_instances) (Static) – Enabling this is useful in highly concurrent workloads as it may reduce contention of the global mutexes. The optimal value can be decided after testing multiple settings, starting from eight is a good choice.
https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/8.0/en/innodb-parameters.html#sysvar_innodb_buffer_pool_chunk_size) (Static) – Defines the chunk size by which the buffer pool is enlarged or reduced. This variable is not dynamic, and if it is incorrectly configured, it could lead to undesired situations. Refer to InnoDB Buffer Pool Resizing: Chunk Change (
https://www.percona.com/blog/chunk-change-innodb-buffer-pool-resizing/) for more details on configuration.
https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/8.0/en/innodb-parameters.html#sysvar_innodb_log_file_size) (Static) – Large enough InnoDB transaction logs are crucial for good, stable write performance. But also larger log files mean that the recovery process will be slower in case of a crash. However, this variable has been deprecated since 8.0.30. Refer to innodb_redo_log_capacity below.
https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/8.0/en/innodb-parameters.html#sysvar_innodb_redo_log_capacity) (Dynamic) – Introduced in 8.0.30, this defines the amount of disk space occupied by redo log files. This variable supersedes the innodb_log_files_in_group and innodb_log_file_size variables. When this setting is defined, the innodb_log_files_in_group and innodb_log_file_size settings are ignored (those two variables are now deprecated since 8.0.30).
https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/8.0/en/innodb-parameters.html#sysvar_innodb_log_buffer_size) (Dynamic) – InnoDB writes changed data records into its log buffer, which is kept in memory, and it saves disk I/O for large transactions as it does not need to write the log of changes to disk before transaction commit. If you have transactions that update, insert, or delete many rows, making the log buffer larger saves disk I/O.
https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/8.0/en/innodb-parameters.html#sysvar_innodb_flush_log_at_trx_commit) (Dynamic) – The default value of ‘1’ gives the most durability (ACID compliance) at a cost of increased filesystem writes/syncs. Setting the value to ‘0’ or ‘2’ will give more performance but less durability. At a minimum, transactions are flushed once per second.
https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/8.0/en/innodb-parameters.html#sysvar_innodb_thread_concurrency) (Dynamic) – With improvements to the InnoDB engine, it is recommended to allow the engine to control the concurrency by keeping it to the default value (which is zero). If you see concurrency issues, you can tune this variable. A recommended value is two times the number of CPUs plus the number of disks.
https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/8.0/en/innodb-parameters.html#sysvar_innodb_flush_method) (Static) – Setting this to O_DIRECT will avoid a performance penalty from double buffering; this means InnoDB bypasses the operating system’s file cache and writes data directly to disk (reducing the number of I/O operations required).
https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/8.0/en/innodb-parameters.html#sysvar_innodb_online_alter_log_max_size) (Dynamic) – The upper limit in bytes on the size of the temporary log files used during online DDL operations for InnoDB tables. If a temporary log file exceeds the upper size limit, the ALTER TABLE operation fails, and all uncommitted concurrent DML operations are rolled back. Thus, a large value for this option allows more DML to happen during an online DDL operation but also extends the period of time at the end of the DDL operation when the table is locked to apply the data from the log.
https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/8.0/en/innodb-parameters.html#sysvar_innodb_numa_interleave) (Static) – For ‘NUMA enabled systems’ with large amounts of memory (i.e.,> 128GB), we recommend turning on NUMA (
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-uniform_memory_access) interleaving. Enabling this parameter configures memory allocation to be ‘interleaved’ across the various CPU-Memory channels. This helps “even out” memory allocations so that one CPU does not become a memory bottleneck.
https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/8.0/en/innodb-parameters.html#sysvar_innodb_buffer_pool_load_at_startup) (Dynamic/Static respectively) – These variables allow you to dump the contents of the InnoDB buffer pool to disk at shutdown and load it back at startup, which will pre-warm the buffer pool so that you don’t have to start with a cold buffer pool after a restart.
innodb_buffer_pool_dump_pct (Dynamic) – The option defines the percentage of most recently used buffer pool pages to dump. By default, MySQL only saves 25% of the most actively accessed pages, which should be reasonable for most use cases, it can then be loaded faster than if you try to load every page in the buffer pool (100%), many of which might not be necessary for a general workload. You can increase this percentage if needed for your use case.
https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/8.0/en/innodb-parameters.html#sysvar_innodb_io_capacity) (Dynamic) – It defines the number of I/O operations per second (IOPS) available to InnoDB background tasks, such as flushing pages from the buffer pool and merging data from the change buffer. Ideally, keep the setting as low as practical but not so low that background activities fall behind. Refer to
https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/8.0/en/innodb-configuring-io-capacity.html for more information on configuration.
https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/8.0/en/innodb-parameters.html#sysvar_innodb_io_capacity_max) (Dynamic) – If the flushing activity falls behind, InnoDB can flush more aggressively, at a higher rate than innodb_io_capacity. innodb_io_capacity_max defines the maximum number of IOPS performed by InnoDB background tasks in such situations.
https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/8.0/en/innodb-parameters.html#sysvar_innodb_autoinc_lock_mode) (Static) – Setting the value to ‘2’ (interleaved mode) can remove the need for an auto-inc lock (at the table level) and can increase performance when using multi-row insert statements to insert values into a table with an auto-increment primary key. Note that this requires either ROW or MIXED binlog format. (The default setting is 2 as of MySQL 8.0)
https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/8.0/en/innodb-parameters.html#sysvar_innodb_temp_data_file_path) (Static) – Defines the relative path, name, size, and attributes of InnoDB temporary tablespace data files. If you do not specify a value for innodb_temp_data_file_path, the default behavior is to create a single, auto-extending data file named ibtmp1 in the MySQL data directory. For 5.7, it is recommended to set a max value to avoid the risk of datadir partition filling up due to a heavy or bad query. 8.0 introduced session temporary tablespaces, temporary tables, or the internal optimizer tables no longer use ‘ibtmp1’.
https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/8.0/en/innodb-parameters.html#sysvar_innodb_stats_on_metadata) (Dynamic) – The default setting of “OFF” avoids unnecessary updating of InnoDB statistics and can greatly improve read speeds.
https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/8.0/en/innodb-parameters.html#sysvar_innodb_page_cleaners) (Static) – InnoDB supports multiple page cleaner threads for flushing dirty pages from buffer pool instances. If your workload is write-IO bound when flushing dirty pages from buffer pool instances to data files, and if your system hardware has available capacity, increasing the number of page cleaner threads may help improve write-IO throughput.
https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/8.0/en/innodb-parameters.html#sysvar_innodb_deadlock_detect) (Dynamic) – This option can be used to disable deadlock detection. On high-concurrency systems, deadlock detection can cause a slowdown when numerous threads wait for the same lock.
Application tuning for InnoDB
Make sure your application is prepared to handle deadlocks that may happen. Review your table structure and see how you can take advantage of InnoDB properties – clustering by primary key, having a primary key in all indexes (so keep primary key short), and fast lookups by primary keys (try to use it in joins).
There are many other options you may want to tune, but here we’ve covered the important InnoDB parameters, OS-related tweaking, and hardware for optimal MySQL server performance. I hope this helps!
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