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MySQL 5.5 Reference Manual
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The ndbd process has a number of simple constructs which are used to access the data in a MySQL Cluster. We have created a very simple benchmark to check the performance of each of these and the effects which various interconnects have on their performance.

There are four access methods:

  • Primary key access. This is access of a record through its primary key. In the simplest case, only one record is accessed at a time, which means that the full cost of setting up a number of TCP/IP messages and a number of costs for context switching are borne by this single request. In the case where multiple primary key accesses are sent in one batch, those accesses share the cost of setting up the necessary TCP/IP messages and context switches. If the TCP/IP messages are for different destinations, additional TCP/IP messages need to be set up.

  • Unique key access. Unique key accesses are similar to primary key accesses, except that a unique key access is executed as a read on an index table followed by a primary key access on the table. However, only one request is sent from the MySQL Server, and the read of the index table is handled by ndbd. Such requests also benefit from batching.

  • Full table scan. When no indexes exist for a lookup on a table, a full table scan is performed. This is sent as a single request to the ndbd process, which then divides the table scan into a set of parallel scans on all cluster ndbd processes. In future versions of MySQL Cluster, an SQL node will be able to filter some of these scans.

  • Range scan using ordered index. When an ordered index is used, it performs a scan in the same manner as the full table scan, except that it scans only those records which are in the range used by the query transmitted by the MySQL server (SQL node). All partitions are scanned in parallel when all bound index attributes include all attributes in the partitioning key.

With benchmarks developed internally by MySQL for testing simple and batched primary and unique key accesses, we have found that using SCI sockets improves performance by approximately 100% over TCP/IP, except in rare instances when communication performance is not an issue. This can occur when scan filters make up most of processing time or when very large batches of primary key accesses are achieved. In that case, the CPU processing in the ndbd processes becomes a fairly large part of the overhead.

Using the SCI transporter instead of SCI Sockets is only of interest in communicating between ndbd processes. Using the SCI transporter is also only of interest if a CPU can be dedicated to the ndbd process because the SCI transporter ensures that this process will never go to sleep. It is also important to ensure that the ndbd process priority is set in such a way that the process does not lose priority due to running for an extended period of time, as can be done by locking processes to CPUs in Linux 2.6. If such a configuration is possible, the ndbd process will benefit by 10−70% as compared with using SCI sockets. (The larger figures will be seen when performing updates and probably on parallel scan operations as well.)

There are several other optimized socket implementations for computer clusters, including Myrinet, Gigabit Ethernet, Infiniband and the VIA interface. However, we have tested MySQL Cluster so far only with SCI sockets. See Section, “Configuring MySQL Cluster to use SCI Sockets”, for information on how to set up SCI sockets using ordinary TCP/IP for MySQL Cluster.

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