Wednesday, April 30, 2008

MySQL Interview Questions And Answers Set - 7

MySQL Interview Questions And Answers Set - 7

How MySQL Uses Memory ?
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.

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 (variable record_buffer).
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.

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.
Most requests doing a sort allocates a sort buffer and 0-2 temporary files depending on the result set size.

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 free()).
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.

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.

How MySQL uses DNS ?
When a new threads 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 hostname.

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 mysqld.

You can disable the hostname cache with --skip-host-cache. You can clear the hostname cache with FLUSH HOSTS or mysqladmin flush-hosts.

If you don't want to allow connections over TCP/IP, you can do this by starting mysqld with --skip-networking.

MySQL - Get Your Data as Small as Possible
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

How MySQL Optimizes DISTINCT ?
DISTINCT is converted to a GROUP BY on all columns, DISTINCT combined with ORDER BY will in many cases also need a temporary table.

When combining LIMIT # with DISTINCT, MySQL will stop as soon as it finds # unique rows.

If you don't use columns from all used tables, MySQL will stop the scanning of the not used tables as soon as it has found the first match.

SELECT DISTINCT t1.a FROM t1,t2 where t1.a=t2.a;

In the case, assuming t1 is used before t2 (check with EXPLAIN), then MySQL will stop reading from t2 (for that particular row in t1) when the first row in t2 is found.