myisamchk Memory Usage

Memory allocation is important when you run myisamchk. myisamchk uses no more memory than its memory-related variables are set to. If you are going to use myisamchk on very large tables, you should first decide how much memory you want it to use. The default is to use only about 3MB to perform repairs. By using larger values, you can get myisamchk to operate faster. For example, if you have more than 512MB RAM available, you could use options such as these (in addition to any other options you might specify):

shell> myisamchk --sort_buffer_size=256M \
           --key_buffer_size=512M \
           --read_buffer_size=64M \
           --write_buffer_size=64M ...

Using --sort_buffer_size=16M is probably enough for most cases.

Be aware that myisamchk uses temporary files in TMPDIR. If TMPDIR points to a memory file system, out of memory errors can easily occur. If this happens, run myisamchk with the --tmpdir=dir_name option to specify a directory located on a file system that has more space.

When performing repair operations, myisamchk also needs a lot of disk space:

  • Twice the size of the data file (the original file and a copy). This space is not needed if you do a repair with --quick; in this case, only the index file is re-created. This space must be available on the same file system as the original data file, as the copy is created in the same directory as the original.

  • Space for the new index file that replaces the old one. The old index file is truncated at the start of the repair operation, so you usually ignore this space. This space must be available on the same file system as the original data file.

  • When using --recover or --sort-recover (but not when using --safe-recover), you need space on disk for sorting. This space is allocated in the temporary directory (specified by TMPDIR or --tmpdir=dir_name). The following formula yields the amount of space required:

    (largest_key + row_pointer_length) * number_of_rows * 2

    You can check the length of the keys and the row_pointer_length with myisamchk -dv tbl_name (see Section, “Obtaining Table Information with myisamchk”). The row_pointer_length and number_of_rows values are the Datafile pointer and Data records values in the table description. To determine the largest_key value, check the Key lines in the table description. The Len column indicates the number of bytes for each key part. For a multiple-column index, the key size is the sum of the Len values for all key parts.

If you have a problem with disk space during repair, you can try --safe-recover instead of --recover.

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