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Using dbsake to recover table structure from .frm files and process mysqldump output

 | December 16, 2015 |  Posted In: InnoDB, Insight for DBAs, MySQL


dbsakeWe work on data recoveries quite often. In many cases, we recover table structures from the .frm files because there was no backup available. There is already a great blog post by my colleague Miguel Ángel Nieto about how we can recover structures from .frm files using MySQL utilities.

This works pretty well and we prefer to run mysqlfrm with the “–server” option to get all possible information from a .frm file. However, this option expects that MySQL is up and running so that mysqlfrm can spawn a new MySQL instance, and run the structure recovery there.

Recently I came across a tool that makes this job easier. The name of tool is dbsake, it’s a collection of command-line tools that perform various DBA related tasks for MySQL. In this blog, we will look at two very useful dbsake commands.

Installation is very easy and straightforward. It’s in an executable python zip archive with all dependencies included.

Recovering table structures from MySQL .frm files with dbsake

To recover table structures using dbsake, you need to use the “dbsake frmdump” command, followed by the .frm file path. The frmdump command decodes the MySQL .frm file and provides a “CREATE TABLE” or “CREATE VIEW” statement in the output. The good thing is that it doesn’t require a running a MySQL server instance, and interprets the .frm file according to rules similar to the MySQL server.

Let’s see an example:

The result looks pretty good, and has recovered the character set and collation information as well. We can also see the MySQL version (5.6.27) retrieved from the .frm file. It is important to mention that the command only decodes the information available in .frm file, which means that it cannot recover InnoDB foreign-key references and AUTO_INCREMENT values. These items are stored outside of the .frm file.

The frmdump command makes the recovery process easy and faster. We can easily script this and recover the structure of a large number of tables. For example, if we need to recover the structure of all tables from a world database, we can do following:

Filter and transform a mysqldump stream with dbsake

It’s a very common requirement to filter one or more tables from a mysqldump full database backup. The “dbsake sieve [options]” command helps us to filter or transform mysqldump output.

Let’s see how to extract a single table from a mysqldump file.

The “-t” or “–table” option tells the command to only output the table matching the given pattern. It will also show the number of databases, tables or views processed in output.

To extract multiple tables, you can pass “-t db.tbl” multiple times.

The latest Percona server added the new option “–innodb-optimize-keys” in mysqldump. It changes the way InnoDB tables are dumped, so that secondary keys are created after loading the data, thus taking advantage of InnoDB fast index creation. This is a really great feature in that it helps us to restore data more efficiently than the default incremental rebuild that mysqldump performs.

Using the “dbsake sieve [options]” command, we can transform the regular mysqldump output to take advantage of fast index creation. The “–defer-indexes” option rewrites the output of CREATE TABLE statements, and arranges for secondary indexes to be created after the table data is loaded. Similarly the “–defer-foreign-keys” option can be added to add foreign key constraints after loading table data.

Let’s see an example:

This means that will have a table structure with the Primary Key first, then will insert statements to load data, and an additional ALTER TABLE statement to create secondary keys when there is at least one secondary index to be added. Foreign keys will also created with secondary indexes.

The original structure of table

And the transformation done by dbsake:

For more sieve command options, please read the online manual.


The dbsake command makes it easier to recover table structures from .frm files. We can also filter and transform the mysqldump output easily without writing a complex awk or sed script. There are some more useful features of this tool that you can read about in the manual.

Alok Pathak

Alok joined Percona in May 2014 as a Consultant. He is currently working as Senior MySQL DBA in Managed Services. He has previously worked as MySQL DBA for various product and service based companies in India. His career interests include Performance Tuning, Query Optimization, High Availability, Database Clustering and Automation. When not working, he enjoys listening to music and watching sports.


  • Hi Alok,
    Thanks for sharing the tool.
    This tool is not working for me, I am getting below error.

    [root@pgupta]# cat test.sql | ./dbsake sieve -t test.order > order.sql

    Unable to determine section type at line 47472: — Temporary view structure for view view_catalog_simple_visibility


    Pramod Gupta

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