MySQL Sharding with ProxySQL

MySQL Sharding with ProxySQLThis article demonstrates how MySQL sharding with ProxySQL works.

Recently a colleague of mine asked me to provide a simple example on how ProxySQL performs sharding.

In response, I’m writing this short tutorial in the hope it will illustrate ProxySQL’s sharding functionalities, and help people out there better understand how to use it.

ProxySQL is a very powerful platform that allows us to manipulate and manage our connections and queries in a simple but effective way. This article shows you how.

Before starting let’s clarify some basic concepts.

  • ProxySQL organizes its internal set of servers in Host Groups (HG), and each HG can be associated with users and Query Rules (QR)
  • Each QR can be final (apply = 1) or = let ProxySQL continue to parse other QRs
  • A QR can be a rewrite action, be a simple match, have a specific target HG, or be generic
  • QRs are defined using regex

You can see QRs as a sequence of filters and transformations that you can arrange as you like.

These simple basic rules give us enormous flexibility. They allow us to create very simple actions like a simple query re-write, or very complex chains that could see dozens of QR concatenated. Documentation can be found here.

The information related to HGs or QRs is easily accessible using the ProxySQL administrator interface, in the tables mysql_servers, mysql_query_rules and stats.stats_mysql_query_rules. The last one allows us to evaluate if and how the rule(s) is used.

With regards to sharding, what can ProxySQL do to help us achieve what we need (in a relatively easy way)? Some people/companies include sharding logic in the application, use multiple connections to reach the different targets, or have some logic to split the load across several schemas/tables. ProxySQL allows us to simplify the way connectivity and query distribution is supposed to work reading data in the query or accepting HINTS.

No matter what the requirements, the sharding exercise can be summarized in a few different categories.

  • By splitting the data inside the same container (like having a shard by State where each State is a schema)
  • By physical data location (this can have multiple MySQL servers in the same room, as well as having them geographically distributed)
  • A combination of the two, where I do split by State using a dedicated server, and again split by schema/table by whatever (say by gender)

In the following examples, I show how to use ProxySQL to cover the three different scenarios defined above (and a bit more).

The example below will report text from the Admin ProxySQL interface and the MySQL console. I will mark each one as follows:

  • Mc for MySQL console
  • Pa for ProxySQL Admin

Please note that the MySQL console MUST use the -c flag to pass the comments in the query. This is because the default behavior in the MySQL console is to remove the comments.

I am going to illustrate procedures that you can replicate on your laptop, and when possible I will mention a real implementation. This because I want you to directly test the ProxySQL functionalities.

For the example described below I have a PrxySQL v1.2.2 that is going to become the master in few days. You can download it from:

Then to compile:

If you need full instructions on how to install and configure ProxySQL, read here and here.

Finally, you need to have the WORLD test DB loaded. WORLD test DB can be found here.

Shard inside the same MySQL Server using three different schemas split by continent

Obviously, you can have any number of shards and relative schemas. What is relevant here is demonstrating how traffic gets redirected to different targets (schemas), maintaining the same structure (tables), by discriminating the target based on some relevant information in the data or pass by the application.

OK, let us roll the ball.

For this exercise, I will use three hosts in replica.

To summarize, I will need:

  • Three hosts: 192.168.1.[5-6-7]
  • Three schemas: Continent X + world schema
  • One user : user_shardRW
  • Three hostgroups: 10, 20, 30 (for future use)

First, we will create the schemas Asia, Africa, Europe:

Now, create the user

Now let us start to configure the ProxySQL:

With this we have defined the user, the servers and the host groups.

Let us start to define the logic with the query rules:

I am now going to query the master (or a single node), but I am expecting ProxySQL to redirect the query to the right shard, catching the value of the continent:

You can say: “Hey! You are querying the schema World, of course you get back the correct data.”

This is not what really happened. ProxySQL did not query the schema World, but the schema Europe.

Let’s look at the details:

Let me explain what happened.

Rule 31 in ProxySQL will take all the FIELDS we will pass in the query. It will catch the CONTINENT in the WHERE clause, it will take any condition after WHERE and it will reorganize the queries all using the RegEx.

Does this work for any table in the sharded schemas? Of course it does.

A query like: SELECT name,population from world.Country WHERE Continent='Asia' ;
Will be transformed into: SELECT name,population from Asia.Country WHERE ?=?

Another possible approach is to instruct ProxySQL to shard is to pass a hint inside a comment. Let see how.

First let me disable the rule I just inserted. This is not really needed, but we’ll do it so you can see how. 🙂