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14.11.3 Physical Row Structure of InnoDB Tables

The physical row structure of an InnoDB table depends on the row format specified when the table is created. InnoDB uses the COMPACT format by default, but the REDUNDANT format is available to retain compatibility with older versions of MySQL. To check the row format of an InnoDB table, use SHOW TABLE STATUS. For example:

mysql> SHOW TABLE STATUS IN test1\G
*************************** 1. row ***************************
           Name: t1
         Engine: InnoDB
        Version: 10
     Row_format: Compact
           Rows: 0
 Avg_row_length: 0
    Data_length: 16384
Max_data_length: 0
   Index_length: 16384
      Data_free: 0
 Auto_increment: 1
    Create_time: 2014-10-31 16:02:01
    Update_time: NULL
     Check_time: NULL
      Collation: latin1_swedish_ci
       Checksum: NULL
 Create_options:
Comment:

Redundant Row Format Characteristics

Rows in InnoDB tables that use REDUNDANT row format have the following characteristics:

  • Each index record contains a 6-byte header. The header is used to link together consecutive records, and also in row-level locking.

  • Records in the clustered index contain fields for all user-defined columns. In addition, there is a 6-byte transaction ID field and a 7-byte roll pointer field.

  • If no primary key was defined for a table, each clustered index record also contains a 6-byte row ID field.

  • Each secondary index record also contains all the primary key fields defined for the clustered index key that are not in the secondary index.

  • A record contains a pointer to each field of the record. If the total length of the fields in a record is less than 128 bytes, the pointer is one byte; otherwise, two bytes. The array of these pointers is called the record directory. The area where these pointers point is called the data part of the record.

  • Internally, InnoDB stores fixed-length character columns such as CHAR(10) in a fixed-length format. InnoDB does not truncate trailing spaces from VARCHAR columns.

  • InnoDB encodes fixed-length fields greater than or equal to 768 bytes in length as variable-length fields, which can be stored off-page. For example, a CHAR(255) column can exceed 768 bytes if the maximum byte length of the character set is greater than 3, as it is with utf8mb4.

  • An SQL NULL value reserves one or two bytes in the record directory. Besides that, an SQL NULL value reserves zero bytes in the data part of the record if stored in a variable length column. In a fixed-length column, it reserves the fixed length of the column in the data part of the record. Reserving the fixed space for NULL values enables an update of the column from NULL to a non-NULL value to be done in place without causing fragmentation of the index page.

COMPACT Row Format Characteristics

The COMPACT row format decreases row storage space by about 20% compared to the REDUNDANT format 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, COMPACT format is likely to be faster. If the workload is a rare case that is limited by CPU speed, compact format might be slower.

Rows in InnoDB tables that use COMPACT row format have the following characteristics:

  • Each index record contains a 5-byte header that may be preceded by a variable-length header. The header is used to link together consecutive records, and also in row-level locking.

  • The variable-length part of the record header contains a bit vector for indicating NULL columns. If the number of columns in the index that can be NULL is N, the bit vector occupies CEILING(N/8) bytes. (For example, if there are anywhere from 9 to 15 columns that can be NULL, the bit vector uses two bytes.) Columns that are NULL do not occupy space other than the bit in this vector. The variable-length part of the header also contains the lengths of variable-length columns. Each length takes one or two bytes, depending on the maximum length of the column. If all columns in the index are NOT NULL and have a fixed length, the record header has no variable-length part.

  • For each non-NULL variable-length field, the record header contains the length of the column in one or two bytes. Two bytes are only needed if part of the column is stored externally in overflow pages or the maximum length exceeds 255 bytes and the actual length exceeds 127 bytes. For an externally stored column, the 2-byte length indicates the length of the internally stored part plus the 20-byte pointer to the externally stored part. The internal part is 768 bytes, so the length is 768+20. The 20-byte pointer stores the true length of the column.

  • The record header is followed by the data contents of the non-NULL columns.

  • Records in the clustered index contain fields for all user-defined columns. In addition, there is a 6-byte transaction ID field and a 7-byte roll pointer field.

  • If no primary key was defined for a table, each clustered index record also contains a 6-byte row ID field.

  • Each secondary index record also contains all the primary key fields defined for the clustered index key that are not in the secondary index. If any of these primary key fields are variable length, the record header for each secondary index has a variable-length part to record their lengths, even if the secondary index is defined on fixed-length columns.

  • Internally, for nonvariable-length character sets, InnoDB stores fixed-length character columns such as CHAR(10) in a fixed-length format.

    InnoDB does not truncate trailing spaces from VARCHAR columns.

  • Internally, for variable-length character sets such as utf8mb3 and utf8mb4, InnoDB attempts to store CHAR(N) in N bytes by trimming trailing spaces. If the byte length of a CHAR(N) column value exceeds N bytes, InnoDB trims trailing spaces to a minimum of the column value byte length. The maximum length of a CHAR(N) column is the maximum character byte length × N.

    InnoDB reserves a minimum of N bytes for CHAR(N). Reserving the minimum space N in many cases enables column updates to be done in place without causing fragmentation of the index page. By comparison, for ROW_FORMAT=REDUNDANT, CHAR(N) columns occupy the maximum character byte length × N.

    InnoDB encodes fixed-length fields greater than or equal to 768 bytes in length as variable-length fields, which can be stored off-page. For example, a CHAR(255) column can exceed 768 bytes if the maximum byte length of the character set is greater than 3, as it is with utf8mb4.

    ROW_FORMAT=DYNAMIC and ROW_FORMAT=COMPRESSED handle CHAR storage in the same way as ROW_FORMAT=COMPACT.

DYNAMIC and COMPRESSED Row Formats

DYNAMIC and COMPRESSED row formats are variations of the COMPACT row format. For information about these row formats, see Section 14.14.3, “DYNAMIC and COMPRESSED Row Formats”.


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