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What is MySQL Partitioning?

 | July 27, 2017 |  Posted In: Insight for DBAs, MySQL, MySQL 101

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MySQL PartitioningIn this blog, we’ll quickly look at MySQL partitioning.

Partitioning is a way in which a database (MySQL in this case) splits its actual data down into separate tables, but still get treated as a single table by the SQL layer.

When partitioning, it’s a good idea to find a natural partition key. You want to ensure that table lookups go to the correct partition or group of partitions. This means that all SELECT, UPDATE, DELETE should include that column in the WHERE clause. Otherwise, the storage engine does a scatter-gather, and queries ALL partitions in a UNION that is not concurrent.

Generally, you must add the partition key into the primary key along with the auto increment, i.e., PRIMARY KEY (part_id,id). If you don’t have well-designed and small columns for this composite primary key, it could enlarge all of your secondary indexes.

You can partition by range or hash. Range is great because you have groups of known IDs in each table, and it helps when querying across partition IDs. This still can create hotspots in the newest partition, as all new inserts go there. Partitioning by hash “load balances” the table, and allows you to write to partitions more concurrently. This makes range queries on the partition key a bad idea.

In MySQL 5.7, partitioning became native to the store engine and deprecated the old method where MySQL itself had to handle the partitions. This means InnoDB partitions (and a larger amount of partitions) are a better choice than in the past.

As with all features and recommendations, this only makes sense if it helps your data and workload!

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Manjot Singh

Manjot Singh is an Architect with Percona in California. He loves to learn about new technologies and apply them to real world problems. Manjot is a veteran of startup and Fortune 50 enterprise companies alike with a few years spent in government, education, and hospital IT.

One Comment

  • Hi Manjot, I think PRIMARY KEY (part_id,id), where id is auto increment column, wont work. Because the auto increment column should be in first position while creating the composite primary key.

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