July 25, 2014

Explaining Indexes with a Library Metaphor

My favorite metaphor for explaining indexes is comparing them to index cards in an old library. In an old library, you used to (or still do) have index cards at the front desk which have some brief description of the books in the library. They also used to be categorized alphabetically. (image taken from http://www.flickr.com/photos/reedinglessons/2239767394/) […]

Multiple column index vs multiple indexes with MySQL 5.6

A question often comes when talking about indexing: should we use multiple column indexes or multiple indexes on single columns? Peter Zaitsev wrote about it back in 2008 and the conclusion then was that a multiple column index is most often the best solution. But with all the recent optimizer improvements, is there anything different with […]

Find unused indexes

I wrote one week ago about how to find duplicate indexes. This time we’ll learn how to find unused indexes to continue improving our schema and the overall performance. There are different possibilites and we’ll explore the two most common here. User Statistics from Percona Server and pt-index-usage. User Statistics User Statistics is an improvement […]

Find and remove duplicate indexes

Having duplicate keys in our schemas can hurt the performance of our database: They make the optimizer phase slower because MySQL needs to examine more query plans. The storage engine needs to maintain, calculate and update more index statistics DML and even read queries can be slower because MySQL needs update fetch more data to […]

When EXPLAIN estimates can go wrong!

I have been working with a few customer cases and one interesting case popped up. The customer was facing a peculiar problem where the rows column in the EXPLAIN output of the query was totally off. The actual number of rows was 18 times more than the number of rows reported by MySQL in the […]

EXPLAIN EXTENDED can tell you all kinds of interesting things

While many people are familiar with the MySQL EXPLAIN command, fewer people are familiar with “extended explain” which was added in MySQL 4.1 EXPLAIN EXTENDED can show you what the MySQL optimizer does to your query. You might not know this, but MySQL can dramatically change your query before it actually executes it. This process […]

How (not) to find unused indexes

I’ve seen a few people link to an INFORMATION_SCHEMA query to be able to find any indexes that have low cardinality, in an effort to find out what indexes should be removed.  This method is flawed – here’s the first reason why:

The cardinality of status index is woeful, but provided that the application […]

Multi Column indexes vs Index Merge

The mistake I commonly see among MySQL users is how indexes are created. Quite commonly people just index individual columns as they are referenced in where clause thinking this is the optimal indexing strategy. For example if I would have something like AGE=18 AND STATE=’CA’ they would create 2 separate indexes on AGE and STATE […]

Statistics of InnoDB tables and indexes available in xtrabackup

If you ever wondered how big is that or another index in InnoDB … you had to calculate it yourself by multiplying size of row (which I should add is harder in the case of a VARCHAR – since you need to estimate average length) on count of records. And it still would be quite […]

3 ways MySQL uses indexes

I often see people confuse different ways MySQL can use indexing, getting wrong ideas on what query performance they should expect. There are 3 main ways how MySQL can use the indexes for query execution, which are not mutually exclusive, in fact some queries will use indexes for all 3 purposes listed here.