Design your tables to minimize their space on the disk. This can result in huge improvements by reducing the amount of data written to and read from disk. Smaller tables normally require less main memory while their contents are being actively processed during query execution. Any space reduction for table data also results in smaller indexes that can be processed faster.
MySQL supports many different storage engines (table types) and row formats. For each table, you can decide which storage and indexing method to use. Choosing the proper table format for your application may give you a big performance gain. See Chapter 14, Storage Engines.
You can get better performance for a table and minimize storage space by using the techniques listed here:
Use the most efficient (smallest) data types possible. MySQL
has many specialized types that save disk space and memory.
For example, use the smaller integer types if possible to
get smaller tables.
is often a better choice than
INT because a
MEDIUMINT column uses 25%
Declare columns to be
NOT NULL if
possible. It makes everything faster and you save one bit
per column. If you really need
your application, you should definitely use it. Just avoid
having it on all columns by default.
MyISAM tables, if you do not have any
BLOB columns), a fixed-size
row format is used. This is faster but may waste some space.
See Section 14.5.3, “MyISAM Table Storage Formats”. You can hint
that you want to have fixed length rows even if you have
VARCHAR columns with the
CREATE TABLE option
InnoDB tables use a compact storage
format. In versions of MySQL earlier than 5.0.3,
InnoDB rows contain some redundant
information, such as the number of columns and the length of
each column, even for fixed-size columns. By default, tables
are created in the compact format
ROW_FORMAT=COMPACT). If you wish to
downgrade to older versions of MySQL, you can request the
old format with
The presence of the compact row format decreases row storage space by about 20% at the cost of increasing CPU use for some operations. If your workload is a typical one that is limited by cache hit rates and disk speed it is likely to be faster. If it is a rare case that is limited by CPU speed, it might be slower.
InnoDB format also changes
CHAR columns containing
UTF-8 data are stored. With
ROW_FORMAT=REDUNDANT, a UTF-8
occupies 3 ×
N bytes, given
that the maximum length of a UTF-8 encoded character is
three bytes. Many languages can be written primarily using
single-byte UTF-8 characters, so a fixed storage length
often wastes space. With
InnoDB allocates a variable amount of
storage in the range from
N to 3
N bytes for these columns
by stripping trailing spaces if necessary. The minimum
storage length is kept as
to facilitate in-place updates in typical cases.
The primary index of a table should be as short as possible. This makes identification of each row easy and efficient.
Create only the indexes that you really need. Indexes are good for retrieval but bad when you need to store data quickly. If you access a table mostly by searching on a combination of columns, create an index on them. The first part of the index should be the column most used. If you always use many columns when selecting from the table, the first column in the index should be the one with the most duplicates to obtain better compression of the index.
If it is very likely that a string column has a unique prefix on the first number of characters, it is better to index only this prefix, using MySQL's support for creating an index on the leftmost part of the column (see Section 13.1.13, “CREATE INDEX Syntax”). Shorter indexes are faster, not only because they require less disk space, but because they also give you more hits in the index cache, and thus fewer disk seeks. See Section 8.9.2, “Tuning Server Parameters”.
In some circumstances, it can be beneficial to split into two a table that is scanned very often. This is especially true if it is a dynamic-format table and it is possible to use a smaller static format table that can be used to find the relevant rows when scanning the table.