Update on the InnoDB double-write buffer and EXT4 transactions

In a post, written a few months ago, I found that using EXT4 transactions with the “data=journal” mount option, improves the write performance significantly, by 55%, without putting data at risk. Many people commented on the post mentioning they were not able to reproduce the results and thus, I decided to further investigate in order to find out why my results were different.

So, I ran sysbench benchmarks on a few servers and found when the InnoDB double-write buffer limitations occur and when they don’t. I also made sure some of my colleagues were able to reproduce the results. Basically, in order to reproduce the results you need the following conditions:

  • Spinning disk (no SSD)
  • Enough CPU power
  • A dataset that fits in the InnoDB buffer pool
  • A continuous high write load with many ops waiting for disk

Using the InnoDB double write buffer on an SSD disk somewhat prevents us from seeing the issue, something good performance wise. That comes from the fact that the latency of each write operation is much lower. That makes sense, the double-writer buffer is an area of 128 pages on disk that is used by the write threads. When a write thread needs to write a bunch of dirty pages to disk, it first writes them sequentially to free slots in the double write buffer in a single iop and then, it spends time writing the pages to their actual locations on disk using typically one iop per page. Once done writing, it releases the double-write buffer slots it was holding and another thread can do its work. The presence of a raid controller with a write cache certainly helps, at least until the write cache is full. Thus, since I didn’t tested with a raid controller, I suspect a raid controller write cache will delay the apparition of the symptoms but if the write load is sustained over a long period of time, the issue with the InnoDB double write buffer will appear.

So, to recapitulate, on a spinning disk, a write thread needs to hold a lock on some of the double-write buffer slots for at least a few milliseconds per page it needs to write while on a SSD disk, the slots are released very quickly because of the low latency of the SSD storage. To actually stress the InnoDB double-write buffer on a SSD disk, one must push much more writes.

That leads us to the second point, the amount of CPU resources available. At first, one of my colleague tried to reproduce the results on a small EC2 instance and failed. It appeared that by default, the sysbench oltp.lua script is doing quite a lot of reads and those reads saturate the CPU, throttling the writes. By lowering the amount of reads in the script, he was then able to reproduce the results.

For my benchmarks, I used the following command:

sysbench --num-threads=16 --mysql-socket=/var/lib/mysql/mysql.sock
--mysql-database=sbtest --mysql-user=root
--test=/usr/share/doc/sysbench/tests/db/oltp.lua --oltp-table-size=50000000
--oltp-test-mode=complex --mysql-engine=innodb --db-driver=mysql
--report-interval=60 --max-requests=0 --max-time=3600 run

Both servers used were metal boxes with 12 physical cores (24 HT). With less CPU resources, I suggest adding the following parameters:


So that the CPU is not wasted on reads and enough writes are generated. Remember we are not doing a generic benchmarks, we are just stressing the InnoDB double-write buffer.

In order to make sure something else isn’t involved, I verified the following:

  • Server independence, tried on 2 physical servers and one EC2 instance, Centos 6 and Ubuntu 14.04
  • MySQL provided, tried on MySQL community and Percona Server
  • MySQL version, tried on 5.5.37 and 5.6.23 (Percona Server)
  • Varied the InnoDB log file size from 32MB to 512MB
  • The impacts of the number of InnoDB write threads (1,2,4,8,16,32)
  • The use of Linux native asynchronous iop
  • Spinning and SSD storage

So, with all those verifications done, I can maintain that if you are using a server with spinning disks and a high write load, using EXT4 transactions instead of the InnoDB double write buffer yields to an increase in throughput of more than 50%. In an upcoming post, I’ll show how the performance stability is affected by the InnoDB double-write buffer under a high write load.

Appendix: the relevant part of the my.cnf

innodb_buffer_pool_size = 12G
innodb_write_io_threads = 8 # or else in {1,2,4,8,16,32}
innodb_read_io_threads = 8
innodb_flush_log_at_trx_commit = 0 # must be 0 or 2 to really stress the double write buffer
innodb_log_file_size = 512M # or 32M, 64M
innodb_log_files_in_group = 2
innodb_flush_method=O_DIRECT # or O_DSYNC
innodb_buffer_pool_restore_at_startup=300 # On 5.5.x, important to warm up the buffer pool
#innodb_buffer_pool_load_at_startup=ON # on 5.6, important to warm up the buffer pool
#innodb_buffer_pool_dump_at_shutdown=ON # on 5.6, important to warm up the buffer pool,
skip-innodb_doublewrite # or commented out
innodb_flush_neighbor_pages=none # or area for spinning

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ScaleArc: Benchmarking with sysbench

ScaleArc recently hired Percona to perform various tests on its database traffic management product. This post is the outcome of the benchmarks carried out by Uday Sawant (ScaleArc) and myself. You can also download the report directly as a PDF here.

The goal of these benchmarks is to identify the potential overhead of the ScaleArc software itself and the potential benefits of caching. The benchmarks were carried out with the trunk version of sysbench. For this reason, we used a very small set of data, so the measurements will be fast, and it’s known that caching has huge benefits when the queries themselves are rather expensive. We decided that we would rather show that benefit with a real-world application, which is coming later is this series. And if you’re in the Silicon Valley area, be sure to join us this evening at the first-ever Open Source Appreciation Day – I’d be happy to discuss the findings presented here in this post. Admission is free but due to limited space you should register now. I’ll also be available throughout the Percona Live MySQL Conference and Expo all this week.


In this summary graph it’s visible that in terms of throughput (read-only benchmark, which is relevant for read mostly applications), ScaleArc doesn’t have any significant overhead, while caching can have potentially huge benefits.


The situation is pretty similar with response times. ScaleArc doesn’t add any significant overhead, and caching can mean huge benefit in terms of response time as well.

In case of this particular workload (which is read only sysbench), using caching means a roughly 3x increase in throughput and a roughly 80% drop in response time.

Overall, ScaleArc is a good product in terms of performance and features as well. I would definitely recommend it.

About ScaleArc for MySQL
ScaleArc for MySQL is a software appliance that drops in transparently between applications and databases to improve application availability and performance. It requires no changes to applications or databases and delivers:

  • Instant scale up – transparent connection pooling and multiplexing, TTL-based transparent caching, surge protection
  • Transparent scale out – read/write split, load balancing, query routing, sharding
  • Automatic high availability – automatic failover
  • Real-time actionable analytics

Benchmarking setup
The client machines are running the benchmarking software like sysbench in case of these benchmarks.

CPU: 2 x Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2620 v2 @ 2.10GHz (6 cores, chip multithreading off)
Memory: 64G

We used 2 clients. The results of the 2 clients are graphed separately, so it’s visible that they put the same amount of workload on the database or ScaleArc software.

Database machines
CPU: 2 x Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2620 v2 @ 2.10GHz (6 cores, chip multithreading off)
Memory: 64G

Running MySQL Community Edition 5.6.15

MySQL configuration

   max_allowed_packet = 64M
   thread_cache = 256
   query_cache_size = 0
   query_cache_type = 0
   max_connections = 20020
   max_user_connections = 20000
   max_connect_errors = 99999999
   wait_timeout = 28800
   interactive_timeout = 28800
   innodb_buffer_pool_size = 3G
   innodb_additional_mem_pool_size = 16M
   innodb_log_buffer_size = 8M
   innodb_flush_log_at_trx_commit = 0
   innodb_flush_method = O_DIRECT
   innodb_open_files = 2000
   innodb_locks_unsafe_for_binlog = 1

The buffer pool of the database is intentionally small, so it’s easy to generate a disk-bound workload.

Please note that the following settings are not recommended in production.

   innodb_locks_unsafe_for_binlog = 1


We used these settings to drive the node to its peak performance, avoiding any possible overhead which might be required on a production system. In typical production settings, these are not set, and binary logging is enabled, which potentially reduces ScaleArc’s overhead further.

ScaleArc software appliances
CPU: 1 x Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2620 v2 @ 2.10GHz (6 cores, chip multithreading off)
Memory: 64G

The machines were running ScaleArc for MySQL 3.0.

The machines were connected using 10G connections.

All of the measurements were done with a very small database that completely fits in memory.



In these benchmarks, we expected both the database and ScaleArc to be CPU bound. In case of a disk-bound workload, ScaleArc would shine even more than in this benchmark. If the queries are more expensive (they have to hit storage), the overhead in % is smaller, and in case of caching the query-by-query benefit is bigger.

We measured 3 different setups, both on read-only and read-write cases. These are the following.

  • Direct connection to the database.
  • Connection to the database through ScaleArc, where ScaleArc only acts as a pass-through filter (since it’s a load balancer that speaks the MySQL wire protocol, all the mechanics for that are still in place). Please note that this setup doesn’t make sense in real life. The purpose of this setup is to show the potential overhead of using ScaleArc and uncovering potential limitations of the ScaleArc software itself.
  • Connection to database through ScaleArc, where ScaleArc is allowed to cache. Caching in ScaleArc is TTL (Time To Live)-based caching, meaning that a read query’s results are cached in ScaleArc. If that read query is seen again before expiring, the query is not run again on the database server but rather served from the cache. Once the timer for the cached query expires, the query will be issued on the database again. Caching of course only works for reads, which are not in an explicit transaction (autocommit is on and no START TRANSACTION is issued). Because of that, we used –oltp-skip-trx during cached benchmarks (read-only case). In case of these benchmarks, the TTL was 1 hour, because we wanted to saturate the ScaleArc software while serving cached queries. An 1 hour TTL might be unrealistic for some applications, while for other applications even an 1 day TTL is something they can live with for some queries. In this case, we wanted to measure the cache’s performance, so we wanted the queries to be cached during the entire benchmark run to show the potential gain even in case of very small queries.

TTL-based caching
It’s important to note that the cache’s expiration is controlled by a TTL value – there is no other invalidation, so it’s possible to read stale data when the query results is changed, but the cache is not expired. Reading stale data alone is ok for most applications, it can happen with a regular, asynchronous slave if it’s lagging behind the master (and it always lagging behind somewhat). Otherwise, the cache is pretty similar to MySQL’s query cache, which doesn’t suffer from the stale read problem, but it has a coarse invalidation (if a table is written, the cache entries belonging to the given table are flushed). While the cache is flushed, the query cache mutex is held, which blocks reads even. Because of the mutex, the built-in query cache is a very usual performance bottleneck. ScaleArc’s cache doesn’t suffer from this.

It’s important to note that ScaleArc caches nothing by default. Also, there are other ways to invlidate cache entries apart from waiting for the TTL to expire.

  • API Call based invalidation (you can clear the cache for an entire query pattern rule with one API call)
  • Query comment based invalidation (you can put a comment /*wipe*/ before a query and wipe and refresh the cache)
  • Cache Bypass (you can send a comment /*nocache*/ and bypass the cache for that specific query)

Sysbench throughput


In the lower region of threads (up to 32), we see that the TPS value significantly drops in case of going through ScaleArc. That’s nothing to be surprised about, the reason for that is network roundtrips. Because ScaleArc is a software appliance, it adds a hop between the database and the application, which introduces latency. If the number of threads is higher (32 and up), this starts to matter less and less, and performance is almost identical which is very impressive. It means that around the optimal degree of parallelism for these machines, ScaleArc introduces very little (barely measurable) overhead.

Sysbench response time
This graph contains the response times belonging to the previous benchmarks. This is really hard to read because at 4096 threads, the system is overloaded, and the response time is much more than in the maximum throughput region. Because it’s multiple orders of magnitude higher, the interesting response times are not readable from this graph.


The following graph is the same as above, except that the y axis is limited to 250 ms, so the region which is not visible on the graph above is visible here. What we see there regarding the overhead is pretty much the same as we saw in case of the throughput graph, which means that ScaleArc by itself introduces immeasurably low latency (which explains the difference in cases when parallelism is low). Usually applications which are utilizing the database server are using significantly more than one thread (in MySQL a single query always uses a single thread, in other words there is no intra-query parallelism). The latency from 32 threads above is actually somewhat lower when going through ScaleArc (the exact tipping point can be different here based on the number of CPUs). The reason for that is ScaleArc itself uses an event loop to connect to MySQL, so at a high concurrency, and can schedule sending the traffic to MySQL differently. This only matters when otherwise the MySQL server is saturated CPU-wise.

CPU utilization


Last but not least, this graph contains the CPU utilization of the different setups. The left-hand side shows the CPU utilization when connecting directly to the database, and the right-hand side shows connecting through ScaleArc. In both cases, the database server’s CPU is the bottleneck. It’s visible that the client node’s CPU is more than 75% idle (only client1 is graphed to improve readability, client2 is practically the same). From 32 threads and up, the blue bar (CPU user%) is relatively high on the database servers, as is the green (CPU sys%). From 64 threads, the idle time is practically 0, until the systems are overloaded. On the right hand side, we can see that ScaleArc at this load still had 50% idle CPU, which means that we could practically do the same benchmark on another set of boxes through the very same ScaleArc, and only then it will be fully utilized. We are talking about 3000 sysbench tps here. One more interesting thing to note is the relatively high system time of ibd. This is also because of the way ScaleArc connects to the database (see the previous paragraph).

[  17s] threads: 64, tps: 3001.98, reads/s: 41962.70, writes/s: 0.00, response time: 35.22ms (95%)


These threads are from a single client, which means that ScaleArc could keep up with parsing roughly 84000 statements / second with utilizing half of its CPU, which is impressive. Please note that the ScaleArc software in this case was tuned towards this type of workload, which means we had more query processing threads. In case of caching, we will have more cache handler threads.

Effects of caching on read-only workload
Sysbench throughput

The next set of graphs will compare the cases when cache is used and not used.


The preceding TPS graph contains reads / second (because we measured with –oltp-skip-trx), so roughly 42000 reads corresponds to roughly 3000 transactions in the earlier setup (14 reads in a transaction). On the left-hand side of the graph, the cached throughput is visible with green – on the right-hand side, the non-cached throughput is visible with red (direct access) and blue (access through ScaleArc as a pass-through filter). It’s visible that caching improves the speed drastically, but when ScaleArc becomes overloaded (8192 client threads, 4096 from each client), the performance becomes somewhat inconsistent, which is understandable considering how few cores ScaleArc was running on. On the graph, the dots are translucent, which means the colors are brighter in the areas that have more samples. Even in the overloaded case, the majority of the samples are in the region of 100k+ reads / second across two clients, which means that the performance degrades very gracefully even under heavy load.

Sysbench response time


Like in the case of a non-cached workload, the response times are not too readable because of the very high response times when the systems are overloaded. But from the overloaded response times visible, it seems like using caching doesn’t make response times worse.


Like in the case of non-cached workload, this graph is the zoomed version of the previous one. Here the maximum of the y axis is 100 ms. From this graph, it’s visible that at lower concurrency and at the optimal throughput, caching actually helps response time. This is understandable, since in case of a cache hit, ScaleArc can serve the results, and the client (in our case here sysbench) doesn’t have to go to the database, so a roundtrip and database processing time is spared. It’s also worth mentioning that the data “comes from memory,” it doesn’t matter if we hit the ScaleArc cache of the database. When the ScaleArc cache is used, the response time is lower because the additional roundtrip to the database and potential database work (like parsing SQL) is avoided. This means that caching can have benefits even if the database fits in the buffer pool. The improvement is always subject to the workload – caching helps the most when it can cache relatively expensive queries like aggregations and queries hitting the storage.

CPU utilization


Similarly to the previous case, the preceding graph shows CPU utilization of the various components. In case of the cached workload, the client itself is much more utilized (since it gets responses sooner, it has to generate the traffic faster). With this kind of workload, when using only one client, we would hit the client’s CPU as the performance bottleneck. The database is interesting too. With caching, its CPU is barely used. This is because if a query is served from the cache, it never gets to the database, so the database’s CPU utilization will be lower. In other words, using the cache helps to offload the database. If offloading is visible on ScaleArc’s graphs, when caching is used, the CPU on the server hosting ScaleArc is much more utilized. For this benchmark, the ScaleArc software was tuned to handle a cached workload, which means more cache handler threads.

For read-write benchmarks, we had to create oltp_nontran.lua, which is the same sysbench benchmark as oltp.lua, except that it does the reads outside of the transaction and does only the writes in transaction, so caching can have an effect on read. The rest of the benchmarking setup is the same as the read-only case.

Sysbench throughput


Similarly to the read-only case, at a low concurrency, the overhead of ScaleArc is coming from the additional network roundtrip. At the optimal concurrency, the overhead is barely measurable (the dots are plotted practically on top of each other).

Sysbench response time



The case is pretty similar with the response times as in the read-only case. Similarly, the second graph is a zoomed version of the first one, which a 250 ms maximum.

CPU utilization


The CPU utilization graph shows that in this case, the database server’s CPU is the bottleneck. What is interesting is that ScaleArc is using less CPU than in the read-only case. This is understandable, since a transaction now contains writes as well, which are expensive on the database side, but they are still just statements to route on the ScaleArc side.

Effects of caching on read-write workload
Measuring caching here is interesting because the workload is no longer read-only of mostly reads. We have a very significant amount of writes.


For 30k reads, we get 8,5k writes. It’s expected that caching won’t help as much as in the previous case, because writes can’t be cached and while they are in process, the benchmarking threads can’t proceed with reads. Please note that this means that roughly 25% of the traffic is write, a typical application scaling out with additional slaves for reads doesn’t have this kind of read-to-write ratio.

Sysbench throughput


The first graph shows that in terms of total throughput, caching still helps.

Sysbench response time



Similarly to the read-only case, caching also helps response time, because it reduces the time needed for the read part of the workload.

CPU utilization


This test really stresses the database server’s CPU when not caching. With caching on, similarly to the read-only case, the client’s workload increases somewhat (but not as much), and the database server’s CPU usage decreases significantly. In the last row, the CPU utilization of ScaleArc shows that although it’s somewhat higher with caching, it’s still not that much higher.

From these tests it’s visible that caching can still be beneficial even if the write ratio is as high as in this test.

Engineering is always about making the right tradeoffs. If one wants features that needs a protocol-level load balancer like ScaleArc, the price should be paid in the overhead of Layer 7 parsing and decision making. ScaleArc’s engineering team did a great job minimizing this overhead. ScaleArc itself is very well tunable for different workload types (if caching is important, ScaleArc can be tuned for caching – if query rewriting, ScaleArc can be tuned for that).

The post ScaleArc: Benchmarking with sysbench appeared first on MySQL Performance Blog.

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InnoDB Full-text Search in MySQL 5.6: Part 3, Performance

This is part 3 of a 3 part series covering the new InnoDB full-text search features in MySQL 5.6. To catch up on the previous parts, see part 1 or part 2

Some of you may recall a few months ago that I promised a third part in my InnoDB full-text search (FTS) series, in which I’d actually take a look at the performance of InnoDB FTS in MySQL 5.6 versus traditional MyISAM FTS. I hadn’t planned on quite such a gap between part 2 and part 3, but as they say, better late than never. Recall that we have been working with two data sets, one which I call SEO (8000-keyword-stuffed web pages) and the other which I call DIR (800K directory records), and we are comparing MyISAM FTS in MySQL 5.5.30 versus InnoDB FTS in MySQL 5.6.10.

For reference, although this is not really what I would call a benchmark run, the platform I’m using here is a Core i7-2600 3.4GHz, 32GiB of RAM, and 2 Samsung 256GB 830 SSDs in RAID-0. The OS is CentOS 6.4, and the filesystem is XFS with dm-crypt/LUKS. All MySQL settings are their respective defaults, except for innodb_ft_min_token_size, which is set to 4 (instead of the default of 3) to match MyISAM’s default ft_min_word_len.

Also, recall that the table definition for the DIR data set is:

CREATE TABLE dir_test (
  full_name VARCHAR(100),
  details TEXT

The table definition for the SEO data set is:

CREATE TABLE seo_test (
 title VARCHAR(255),

Table Load / Index Creation

First, let’s try loading data and creating our FT indexes in one pass – i.e., we’ll create the FT indexes as part of the original table definition itself. In particular, this means adding “FULLTEXT KEY (full_name, details)” to our DIR tables and adding “FULLTEXT KEY (title, body)” to the SEO tables. We’ll then drop these tables, drop our file cache, restart MySQL, and try the same process in two passes: first we’ll load the table, and then we’ll do an ALTER to add the FT indexes. All times in seconds.

Engine Data Set one-pass (load) two-pass (load, alter)
MyISAM SEO 3.91 3.96 (0.76, 3.20)
InnoDB SEO 3.777 7.32 (1.53, 5.79)
MyISAM DIR 43.159 44.93 (6.99, 37.94)
InnoDB DIR 330.76 56.99 (12.70, 44.29)

Interesting. For MyISAM, we might say that it really doesn’t make too much difference which way you proceed, as the numbers from the one-pass load and the two-pass load are within a few percent of each other, but for InnoDB, we have mixed behavior. With the smaller SEO data set, it makes more sense to do it in a one-pass process, but with the larger DIR data set, the two-pass load is much faster.

Recall that when adding the first FT index to an InnoDB table, the table itself has to be rebuilt to add the FTS_DOC_ID column, so I suspect that the size of the table when it gets rebuilt has a lot to do with the performance difference on the smaller data set. The SEO data set fits completely into the buffer pool, the DIR data set does not. That also suggests that it’s worth comparing the time required to add a second FT index (this time we will just index each table’s TEXT/MEDIUMTEXT field). While we’re at it, let’s look at the time required to drop the second FT index as well. Again, all times in seconds.

Engine Data Set FT Index Create Time FT Index Drop Time
MyISAM SEO 6.34 3.17
InnoDB SEO 3.26 0.01
MyISAM DIR 74.96 37.82
InnoDB DIR 24.59 0.01

InnoDB wins this second test all around. I’d attribute InnoDB’s win here partially to not having to rebuild the whole table with second (and subsequent) indexes, but also to the fact that at least some the InnoDB data was already in the buffer pool from when the first FT index was created. Also, we know that InnoDB generally drops indexes extremely quickly, whereas MyISAM requires a rebuild of the .MYI file, so InnoDB’s win on the drop test isn’t surprising.

Query Performance

Recall the queries that were used in the previous post from this series:

1. SELECT id, title, MATCH(title, body) AGAINST ('arizona business records'
   IN NATURAL LANGUAGE MODE) AS score FROM seo_test_{myisam,innodb} ORDER BY 3
2. SELECT id, title, MATCH(title, body) AGAINST ('corporation commission forms'
   IN NATURAL LANGUAGE MODE) AS score FROM seo_test_{myisam,innodb} ORDER BY 3 DESC
   LIMIT 5;
3. SELECT id, full_name, MATCH(full_name, details) AGAINST ('+james +peterson +arizona'
   IN BOOLEAN MODE) AS score FROM dir_test_{myisam,innodb} ORDER BY 3 DESC LIMIT 5;
4. SELECT id, full_name, MATCH(full_name, details) AGAINST ('+james +peterson arizona'
   IN BOOLEAN MODE) AS score FROM dir_test_{myisam,innodb} ORDER BY 3 DESC LIMIT 5;
5. SELECT id, full_name, MATCH(full_name, details) AGAINST ('"Thomas B Smith"'
   IN BOOLEAN MODE) AS score FROM dir_test_{myisam,innodb} ORDER BY 3 DESC LIMIT 1;

The queries were run consecutively from top to bottom, a total of 10 times each. Here are the results in tabular format:

Query # Engine Min. Execution Time Avg. Execution Time Max. Execution Time
1 MyISAM 0.007953 0.008102 0.008409
1 InnoDB 0.014986 0.015331 0.016243
2 MyISAM 0.001815 0.001893 0.001998
2 InnoDB 0.001987 0.002077 0.002156
3 MyISAM 0.000748 0.000817 0.000871
3 InnoDB 0.670110 0.676540 0.684837
4 MyISAM 0.001199 0.001283 0.001372
4 InnoDB 0.055479 0.056256 0.060985
5 MyISAM 0.008471 0.008597 0.008817
5 InnoDB 0.624305 0.630959 0.641415

Not a lot of variance in execution times for a given query, so that’s good, but InnoDB is always coming back slower than MyISAM. In general, I’m not that surprised that MyISAM tends to be faster; this is a simple single-threaded, read-only test, so none of the areas where InnoDB shines (e.g., concurrent read/write access) are being exercised here, but I am quite surprised by queries #3 and #5, where InnoDB is just getting smoked.

I ran both versions of query 5 with profiling enabled, and for the most part, the time spent in each query state was identical between the InnoDB and MyISAM versions of the query, with one exception.

InnoDB: | Creating sort index | 0.626529 |
MyISAM: | Creating sort index | 0.014588 |

That’s where the bulk of the execution time is. According to the docs, this thread state means that the thread is processing a SELECT which required an internal temporary table. Ok, sure, that makes sense, but it doesn’t really explain why InnoDB is taking so much longer, and here’s where things get a bit interesting. If you recall part 2 in this series, query 5 actually returned 0 results when run against InnoDB with the default configuration because of the middle initial “B”, and I had to set innodb_ft_min_token_size to 1 in order to get results back. For the sake of completeness, I did that again here, then restarted the server and recreated my FT index. The results? Execution time dropped by 50% and ‘Creating sort index’ didn’t even appear in the query profile:

mysql [localhost] {msandbox} (test): SELECT id, full_name, MATCH(full_name, details) AGAINST
('"Thomas B Smith"' IN BOOLEAN MODE) AS score FROM dir_test_innodb ORDER BY 3 DESC LIMIT 1;
| id    | full_name      | score             |
| 62633 | Thomas B Smith | 32.89915466308594 |
1 row in set (0.31 sec)
mysql [localhost] {msandbox} (test): show profile;
| Status                  | Duration |
| starting                | 0.000090 |
| checking permissions    | 0.000007 |
| Opening tables          | 0.000017 |
| init                    | 0.000034 |
| System lock             | 0.000012 |
| optimizing              | 0.000008 |
| statistics              | 0.000027 |
| preparing               | 0.000012 |
| FULLTEXT initialization | 0.304933 |
| executing               | 0.000008 |
| Sending data            | 0.000684 |
| end                     | 0.000006 |
| query end               | 0.000006 |
| closing tables          | 0.000011 |
| freeing items           | 0.000019 |
| cleaning up             | 0.000003 |

Hm. It’s still slower than MyISAM by quite a bit, but much faster than before. The reason it’s faster is because it found an exact match and I only asked for one row, but if I change LIMIT 1 to LIMIT 2 (or limit N>1), then ‘Creating sort index’ returns to the tune of roughly 0.5 to 0.6 seconds, and ‘FULLTEXT initialization’ remains at 0.3 seconds. So this answers another lingering question: there is a significant performance impact to using a lower innodb_ft_min_token_size (ifmts), and it can work for you or against you, depending upon your queries and how many rows you’re searching for. The time spent in “Creating sort index” doesn’t vary too much (maybe 0.05s) between ifmts=1 and ifmts=4, but the time spent in FULLTEXT initialization with ifmts=4 was typically only a few milliseconds, as opposed to the 300ms seen here.

Finally, I tried experimenting with different buffer pool sizes, temporary table sizes, per-thread buffer sizes, and I also tried changing from Antelope (ROW_FORMAT=COMPACT) to Barracuda (ROW_FORMAT=DYNAMIC) and switching character sets from utf8 to latin1, but none of these made any difference. The only thing which seemed to provide a bit of a performance improvement was upgrading to 5.6.12. The execution times for the InnoDB FTS queries under 5.6.12 were about 5-10 percent faster than with 5.6.10, and query #2 actually performed a bit better under InnoDB than MyISAM (average execution time 0.00075 seconds faster), but other than that, MyISAM still wins on raw SELECT performance.

Three blog posts later, then, what’s my overall take on InnoDB FTS in MySQL 5.6? I don’t think it’s great, but it’s serviceable. The performance for BOOLEAN MODE queries definitely leaves something to be desired, but I think InnoDB FTS fills a need for those people who want the features and capabilities of InnoDB but can’t modify their existing applications or who just don’t have enough FTS traffic to justify building out a Sphinx/Solr/Lucene-based solution.

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