This section discussions optimizations relating to MySQL Partitioning. See Partitioning, for general information about the partitioning implementation in MySQL 5.1 and later.
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The operation of partition pruning is defined as follows:
Given a query over partitioned table, match the table DDL
against any WHERE
or
ON
clauses, and find the minimal set of
partitions that must be accessed to resolve the query.
The set of partitions thus obtained (hereafter referred to as used) can be smaller then the set of all table partitions. Partitions that did not get into this set (that is, those that were pruned away) will not be accessed at all: this is how query execution is made faster.
NonTransactional Table Engines.
With nontransactional tables such as
MyISAM
, locks are placed on entire
partitioned table. It is theoretically possible to use
partition pruning to improve concurrency by placing locks
only on partitions that are actually used, but this is
currently not implemented.
Partition pruning doesn't depend on what table engine is used. Therefore its implementation is a part of the MySQL Query Optimizer. The next few sections provide a detailed description of partition pruning.
Partition pruning is performed using the following steps:
Analyze the
WHERE
clause and construct an interval graph describing the results of this analysis.Walk the graph, and find sets of partitions (or subpartitions, if necessary) to be used for each interval in the graph.
Construct a set of partitions used for the entire query.
The description represented by the interval graph is structured in a bottomup fashion. In the discussion that follows, we first define the term partitioning interval, then describe how partitioning interval are combined to make an interval graph, and then describe the graph walking process.
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Let's start from simplest cases. Suppose that we have a partitioned table with N columns, using partitioning type p_type and the partitioning function p_func, represented like this:
CREATE TABLE t (columns
) PARTITION BYp_type
(p_func(col1, col2,... colN
)...);
Suppose also that we have a WHERE
clause of the form
WHERE t.col1=const1 AND t.col2=const2 AND ... t.colN
=constN
We can calculate p_func(const1, const2 ...
constN)
and discover which partition can
contain records matching the WHERE
clause. Note that this process works for all
partitioning types and all partitioning functions.
Note: This process works only if the
WHERE
clause is of the exact form given above — that is, each column in the table must be tested for equality with some arbitrary constant (not necessarily the same constant for each column). For example, ifcol1=const1
were missing from the exampleWHERE
clause, then we would not be able to calculate the partitioning function value and so would be unable to restrict the set of partitions to those actually used.
Let a partitioned table t
be defined
with a set of column definitions columns, a partitioning
type p_type using a partitioning function p_func taking
an integer column int_col, as shown here:
CREATE TABLE t (columns
) PARTITION BYp_type
(p_func
(int_col
)) ...
Now suppose that we have a query whose
WHERE
clause is of the form
WHEREconst1
<= int_col <=const2
We can reduce this case to a number of cases of
singlepoint intervals by converting the
WHERE
clause into the following
relation:
int_field=const1 OR int_field=const1 + 1 OR int_field=const1 + 2 OR ... OR int_field=const2
In the source code this conversion is referred to as interval walking. Walking over short intervals is not very expensive, since we can reduce the number of partitions to scan to a small number. However, walking over long intervals may not be very efficient there will be lots of numbers to examine, and we are very likely to out that all partitions need to be scanned.
The threshold for interval walking is determined by
#define MAX_RANGE_TO_WALK=10
The logic of the previous example also applies for a relation such as this one:
const1
>=int_col
>=const2
Let a partitioned table t
be defined
as follows:
CREATE TABLE t (columns
) PARTITION BY RANGELIST(unary_ascending_function
(column
))
Suppose we have a query on table t
whose WHERE
clause is of one of the
forms shown here:
const1 <= t.column <= const2
t.column <= const2
const1 <= t.column
Since the partitioning function is ascending, the following relationship holds:
const1 <= t.col <=const2
=>p_func
(const1
) <=p_func
(t.column
) <=p_func
(const2
)
Using A and B to denote the leftmost and rightmost parts of this relation, we can rewrite it like this:
A <= p_func(t.column) <= B
Note: In this instance, the interval is closed and has two bounds. However, similar inferences can be performed for other kinds of intervals.
For RANGE
partitioning, each
partition occupies one interval on the partition
function value axis, and the intervals are disjoint, as
shown here:
p0 p1 p2 table partitions xxx> search interval x==============x> A B
A partition needs to be accessed if and only if its
interval has a nonempty intersection with the search
interval [
.
A
,
B
]
For LIST
partitioning, each partition
covers a set of points on the partition function value
axis. Points produced by various partitions may be
interleaved, as shown here:
p0 p1 p2 p1 p1 p0 table partitions ++++++> search interval x===================x> A B
A partition needs to be accessed if it has at least one
point in the interval [A, B]
. The set
of partitions used can be determined by running from A
to B and collecting partitions that have their points
within this range.
In the previous sections we've described ways to infer the set of used partitions from "elementary" WHERE clauses. Everything said there about partitions also applies to subpartitions (with exception that subpartitioning by RANGE or LIST is currently not possible).
Since each partition is subpartitioned in the same way, we'll find which subpartitions should be accessed within each partition.
Previous sections deal with inferring the set of
partitions used from WHERE
clauses that
represent partitioning or subpartitioning intervals. Now
we look at how MySQL extracts intervals from arbitrary
WHERE
clauses.
The extraction process uses the Range
Analyzer a part of the MySQL optimizer that
produces plans for the range access method. This is
because the tasks are similar. In both cases we have a
WHERE
clause as input: the range access
method needs index ranges (that is, intervals) to scan;
partition pruning module needs partitioning intervals so
that it can determine which partitions should be used.
For range access, the Range Analyzer is invoked with the
WHERE
clause and descriptions of table
indexes. Each index is described by an ordered list of the
columns which it covers:
(keypart1, keypart2, ..., keypartN
)
For partition pruning, Range Analyzer is invoked with the
WHERE
clause and a list of table
columns used by the partitioning and subpartitioning
functions:
(part_col1, part_col2, ... part_colN
, subpart_col1, subpart_col2, ... subpart_colM
)
The result of the Range Analyzer's work is known as a SEL_ARG</code> graph. This is a complex (and not yet fully documented) structure, which we will not attempt to describe here. What's important for the current discussion is that we can walk over it and collect partitioning and subpartitioning intervals.
The following example illustrates the structure and the
walking process. Suppose a table t
is
partitioned as follows:
CREATE TABLE t (..., pf INT, sp1 CHAR(5), sp2 INT, ... ) PARTITION BY LIST (pf) SUBPARTITION BY HASH(sp1, sp2) ( PARTITION p0 VALUES IN (1), PARTITION p1 VALUES IN (2), PARTITION p2 VALUES IN (3), PARTITION p3 VALUES IN (4), PARTITION p4 VALUES IN (5), );
Now suppose that a query on table t
has
a highly complex WHERE
clause, such as
this one:
pf=1 AND (sp1='foo' AND sp2 IN (40,50)) OR (pf1=3 OR pf1=4) AND sp1='bar' AND sp2=33 OR ((pf=3 OR pf=4) AND sp1=5) OR p=8
The SEL_ARG
graph for this is shown
here:
(root)  :  Partitioning : Subpartitioning  :  :  :  ++ : ++ ++ \ pf=1 : sp1='foo'  sp2=40  ++ : ++ ++  :   : ++  :  sp2=50   : ++  :  : ++ : ++ ++  pf=3 :+ sp1='bar'  sp2=33  ++ :  ++ ++  :  ++ :   pf=4 :+ ++ :  :  : ++ : ++  pf=8 : sp1='baz'  ++ : ++
In the previous diagram, vertical edges
(
) represent OR
and
the horizontal ones (
) represent
AND
(the line with both horizontal and
vertical segments also represents AND
).
The partitionpruning code walks the graph top to bottom and from left to right, making these inferences:

Start with an empty set of used partitions at the topmost and leftmost interval.
Perform interval analysis for
pf=1
; find a corresponding set of partitions P0; move right.Move right again, to
sp2=40
.Analyze the interval
sp1='foo' AND sp2=40
interval; find that it covers rows in some subpartition SP1. Make first inference: within each partition making up set P0, mark subpartition SP1 as used.Move down to
sp2=50
.Analyze the interval
sp1='foo' AND sp2=50
, finding that it covers rows in some subpartition SP2. Make another inference: within each partition of set P0, mark subpartition SP2 as used.Move back to
pf=1
, and then down topf=3
.Perform interval analysis for
pf=3
; find a corresponding set of partitions P1; move right.Move right again, to
sp2=33
.Analyze the interval
sp1='foo' AND sp2=33
, find that it covers rows in a subpartition SP3. Make another inference: within each partition from set P1, mark subpartition SP3 as used.Move back to
pf=3
, then down topf=4
.Perform interval analysis for
pf=4
; find a corresponding set of partitions P2; move right.Perform moves and inferences analogous to what we did to the right of
pf=3
. There is some potential inefficiency due to the fact that that we will analyze the interval forsp1='foo' AND sp2=33
again, but this should not have much impact on overall performance.Move back to
pf=3
, then down topf=8
.Perform interval analysis for
pf=8
; find a corresponding set of partitions P3, move right.Now we've arrived at
sp1='baz'
, and find that we can't move any further to the right and can't construct a subpartitioning interval. We remember this, and move back topf=8
.In the previous step we could not limit the set of subpartitions, so we make this inference: for every partition in set P3, assume that all subpartitions are active, and mark them as such.
Try to move down from
pf=8
; find that there is nothing there; this completes the graph analysis.
Note: In certain cases
the result of the RANGE
optimizer will
be several SEL_ARG
graphs that are to
be combined using OR
or
AND
operators. This happens for
WHERE
clauses which either are very
complicated or do not allow for the construction of a
single list of intervals. In such cases, the partition
pruning code takes apprpriate action, an example being
this query:
SELECT * FROM t1 WHERE partition_id=10 OR subpartition_id=20
No single list of intervals can be constructed in this instance, but the partition pruning code correctly infers that the set of partitions used is a union of:
All subpartitions within the partition containing rows with
partition_id=10
; and
subpartition_id=20
within each
partition.
Here is a short walkthrough of what is where in the code:

sql/opt_range.cc
:This file contains the implementation of what is described in Section 7.2.6.2.1.4, “From WHERE Clauses to Intervals”. The entry point is the function
prune_partitions()
. There are also detailed codelevel comments about partition pruning; search forPartitionPruningModule
to find the starting point.
sql/partition_info.h
:class partition_info { ... /* Bitmap of used (i.e. not pruned away) partitions. This is where result of partition pruning is stored. */ MY_BITMAP used_partitions; /* "virtual function" pointers to functions that perform interval analysis on this partitioned table (used by the code in opt_range.cc) */ get_partitions_in_range_iter get_part_iter_for_interval; get_partitions_in_range_iter get_subpart_iter_for_interval; };
sql/sql_partition.cc
:

This file contains the functions implementing all types of partitioning interval analysis.
If a partitioned table is accessed in a series of index
lookups (that is, using the ref
,
eq_ref
, or ref_or_null
access methods), MySQL checks to see whether it needs to
make index lookups in all partitions or that it can limit
access to a particular partition. This is performed for each
index lookup.
Consider this example:
CREATE TABLE t1 (a INT, b INT); INSERT INTO t1 VALUES (1,1),(2,2),(3,3); CREATE TABLE t2 ( keypart1 INT, keypart2 INT, KEY(keypart1, keypart2) ) PARTITION BY HASH(keypart2); INSERT INTO t2 VALUES (1,1),(2,2),(3,3);
The query
SELECT * FROM t1, t2 WHERE t2.keypart1=t1.a AND t2.keypart2=t1.b;
is executed using this algorithm:
(for each record in t1:) { t2>index_read({currentvalueof(t1.a), currentvalueof(t1.b)}); while( t2>index_next_same() ) pass row combination to query output; }
In the index_read()
call, the partitioned
table handler will discover that the value of all
partitioning columns (in this case, the single column
b
) is fixed, and find a single partition
to access. If this partition was pruned away, then no
partitions will be accessed at all.