EmergencyEMERGENCY? Get 24/7 Help Now!

Getting EXPLAIN information from already running queries in MySQL 5.7

 | June 18, 2015 |  Posted In: Insight for DBAs, MySQL


When a new version of MySQL is about to be released we read a lot of blog posts about the performance and scalability improvements. That’s good but sometimes we miss some small features that can help us a lot in our day-to-day tasks. One good example is the blog post that Aurimas wrote about a new small feature in MySQL 5.6 that I didn’t know about until I read it: the Automatic InnoDB transaction log file size change. How cool is that?

I plan to write a series of blog posts that will show some of those small new features in MySQL 5.7 that are going to be really useful. I’m going to start with EXPLAIN FOR CONNECTION.

This feature allows us to run an EXPLAIN for an already running statement. Let’s say that you find a query that has been running for a long time and you want to check why that could be happening. In 5.7 you can just ask MySQL to EXPLAIN the query that a particular connection is running and get the execution path. You can use it if the query is a SELECT, DELETE, INSERT, REPLACE or UPDATE. Won’t work if the query is a prepared statement though.

Let me show you an example of how it works.

We have a long running join.

Let’s see the execution plan for the query:

The join between those tables is not using any index at all so there is some room for improvement here 🙂


You can use this feature to see why a query is running for too long and based on the info decide how to fix it and how to proceed. This is going to be a very useful feature for DBAs who want to diagnose performance problems and slow queries.

Miguel Angel Nieto

Miguel joined Percona in October 2011. He has worked as a System Administrator for a Free Software consultant and in the supporting area of the biggest hosting company in Spain. His current focus is improving MySQL and helping the community of Free Software to grow.

Leave a Reply