If there are random insertions into or deletions from the indexes of a table, the indexes may become fragmented. Fragmentation means that the physical ordering of the index pages on the disk is not close to the index ordering of the records on the pages, or that there are many unused pages in the 64-page blocks that were allocated to the index.
One symptom of fragmentation is that a table takes more space than
it “should” take. How much that is exactly, is
difficult to determine. All
InnoDB data and
indexes are stored in B-trees, and their
fill factor may vary from
50% to 100%. Another symptom of fragmentation is that a table scan
such as this takes more time than it “should” take:
SELECT COUNT(*) FROM t WHERE a_non_indexed_column <> 12345;
The preceding query requires MySQL to perform a full table scan, the slowest type of query for a large table.
It can speed up index scans if you periodically perform a
operation, which causes MySQL to rebuild the table:
Another way to perform a defragmentation operation is to use mysqldump to dump the table to a text file, drop the table, and reload it from the dump file.
If the insertions into an index are always ascending and records
are deleted only from the end, the
filespace management algorithm guarantees that fragmentation in
the index does not occur.