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MySQL 5.5 Reference Manual  /  ...  /  Configuring the Server

5.1.1 Configuring the Server

The MySQL server, mysqld, has many command options and system variables that can be set at startup to configure its operation. To determine the command option and system variable values used by the server, execute this command:

shell> mysqld --verbose --help

The command produces a list of all mysqld options and configurable system variables. Its output includes the default option and variable values and looks something like this:

allow-suspicious-udfs             FALSE
archive                           ON
auto-increment-increment          1
auto-increment-offset             1
autocommit                        TRUE
automatic-sp-privileges           TRUE
back-log                          50
basedir                           /home/jon/bin/mysql-5.5/
...
tmpdir                            /tmp
transaction-alloc-block-size      8192
transaction-isolation             REPEATABLE-READ
transaction-prealloc-size         4096
updatable-views-with-limit        YES
verbose                           TRUE
wait-timeout                      28800

To see the current system variable values used by the server as it runs, connect to it and execute this statement:

mysql> SHOW VARIABLES;

To see some statistical and status indicators for a running server, execute this statement:

mysql> SHOW STATUS;

System variable and status information also is available using the mysqladmin command:

shell> mysqladmin variables
shell> mysqladmin extended-status

For a full description of all command options, system variables, and status variables, see these sections:

More detailed monitoring information is available from the Performance Schema; see Chapter 22, MySQL Performance Schema.

MySQL uses algorithms that are very scalable, so you can usually run with very little memory. However, normally better performance results from giving MySQL more memory.

When tuning a MySQL server, the two most important variables to configure are key_buffer_size and table_open_cache. You should first feel confident that you have these set appropriately before trying to change any other variables.

The following examples indicate some typical variable values for different runtime configurations.

  • If you have at least 1-2GB of memory and many tables and want maximum performance with a moderate number of clients, use something like this:

    shell> mysqld_safe --key_buffer_size=384M --table_open_cache=4000 \
               --sort_buffer_size=4M --read_buffer_size=1M &
    
  • If you have only 256MB of memory and only a few tables, but you still do a lot of sorting, you can use something like this:

    shell> mysqld_safe --key_buffer_size=64M --sort_buffer_size=1M
    

    If there are very many simultaneous connections, swapping problems may occur unless mysqld has been configured to use very little memory for each connection. mysqld performs better if you have enough memory for all connections.

  • With little memory and lots of connections, use something like this:

    shell> mysqld_safe --key_buffer_size=512K --sort_buffer_size=100K \
               --read_buffer_size=100K &
    

    Or even this:

    shell> mysqld_safe --key_buffer_size=512K --sort_buffer_size=16K \
               --table_open_cache=32 --read_buffer_size=8K \
               --net_buffer_length=1K &
    

If you are performing GROUP BY or ORDER BY operations on tables that are much larger than your available memory, increase the value of read_rnd_buffer_size to speed up the reading of rows following sorting operations.

You can make use of the example option files included with your MySQL distribution; see Section 5.1.2, “Server Configuration Defaults”.

If you specify an option on the command line for mysqld or mysqld_safe, it remains in effect only for that invocation of the server. To use the option every time the server runs, put it in an option file. See Section 4.2.6, “Using Option Files”.


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