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InnoDB 1.1 for MySQL 5.5 User's Guide
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7.9. Asynchronous I/O on Linux

Starting in InnoDB 1.1 with MySQL 5.5, the asynchronous I/O capability that InnoDB has had on Windows systems is now available on Linux systems. (Other Unix-like systems continue to use synchronous I/O calls.) This feature improves the scalability of heavily I/O-bound systems, which typically show many pending reads/writes in the output of the command SHOW ENGINE INNODB STATUS\G.

Running with a large number of InnoDB I/O threads, and especially running multiple such instances on the same server machine, can exceed capacity limits on Linux systems. In this case, you can fix the error:

EAGAIN: The specified maxevents exceeds the user's limit of available events. 

by writing a higher limit to /proc/sys/fs/aio-max-nr.

In general, if a problem with the asynchronous I/O subsystem in the OS prevents InnoDB from starting, set the option innodb_use_native_aio=0 in the configuration file. This new configuration option applies to Linux systems only, and cannot be changed once the server is running.

For more information about InnoDB I/O performance, see Optimizing InnoDB Disk I/O.

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