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MySQL 5.5 Reference Manual  /  Optimization  /  Optimizing for MEMORY Tables

8.7 Optimizing for MEMORY Tables

Consider using MEMORY tables for noncritical data that is accessed often, and is read-only or rarely updated. Benchmark your application against equivalent InnoDB or MyISAM tables under a realistic workload, to confirm that any additional performance is worth the risk of losing data, or the overhead of copying data from a disk-based table at application start.

For best performance with MEMORY tables, examine the kinds of queries against each table, and specify the type to use for each associated index, either a B-tree index or a hash index. On the CREATE INDEX statement, use the clause USING BTREE or USING HASH. B-tree indexes are fast for queries that do greater-than or less-than comparisons through operators such as > or BETWEEN. Hash indexes are only fast for queries that look up single values through the = operator, or a restricted set of values through the IN operator. For why USING BTREE is often a better choice than the default USING HASH, see Section, “How to Avoid Full Table Scans”. For implementation details of the different types of MEMORY indexes, see Section 8.3.8, “Comparison of B-Tree and Hash Indexes”.

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