April 19, 2014

How rows_sent can be more than rows_examined?

When looking at queries that are candidates for optimization I often recommend that people look at rows_sent and rows_examined values as available in the slow query log (as well as some other places). If rows_examined is by far larger than rows_sent, say 100 larger, then the query is a great candidate for optimization. Optimization could […]

Percona Toolkit collection: pt-visual-explain

This is the first in a series of posts highlighting a few of the seldom-used but still handy Percona Toolkit tools. Have you ever had a problem understanding the EXPLAIN statement output? And are you the type of person who would rather use the command line than a GUI application? Then I would recommend that […]

How to recover deleted rows from an InnoDB Tablespace

In my previous post I explained how it could be possible to recover, on some specific cases, a single table from a full backup in order to save time and make the recovery process more straightforward. Now the scenario is worse because we don’t have a backup or the backup restore process doesn’t work. How […]

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 […]

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/) […]

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 […]


When we optimize clients’ SQL queries I pretty often see a queries with SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS option used. Many people think, that it is faster to use this option than run two separate queries: one – to get a result set, another – to count total number of rows. In this post I’ll try to check, is […]

Using index for ORDER BY vs restricting number of rows.

One interesting problem with MySQL Optimizer I frequently run into is making poor decision when it comes to choosing between using index for ORDER BY or using index for restriction. Consider we’re running web site which sell goods, goods may be from different categories, different sellers different locations which can be filtered on, and there […]

When EXPLAIN can be misleading

One think I can see with people using EXPLAIN is trusting it too much, ie assuming if number of rows is reported by EXPLAIN is large query must be inefficient. It may not be the case. The question is not only about stats which may be wrong and which is why you may want to […]

Extended EXPLAIN

One nice feature added for EXPLAIN statement in MySQL 4.1 is EXTENDED keyword which provides you with some helpful additional information on query optimization. It should be used together with SHOW WARNINGS to get information about how query looks after transformation as well as what other notes optimizer may wish to tell us. It is […]