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1.5.2 Point-in-Time Recovery Using Event Positions

Instead of specifying dates and times, the --start-position and --stop-position options for mysqlbinlog can be used for specifying log positions. They work the same as the start and stop date options, except that you specify log position numbers rather than dates. Using positions may enable you to be more precise about which part of the log to recover, especially if many transactions occurred around the same time as a damaging SQL statement. To determine the position numbers, run mysqlbinlog for a range of times near the time when the unwanted transaction was executed, but redirect the results to a text file for examination. This can be done like so:

$> mysqlbinlog --start-datetime="2005-04-20 9:55:00" \
         --stop-datetime="2005-04-20 10:05:00" \
         /var/log/mysql/bin.123456 > /tmp/mysql_restore.sql

This command creates a small text file in the /tmp directory that contains the SQL statements around the time that the deleterious SQL statement was executed. Open this file with a text editor and look for the statement that you do not want to repeat. Determine the positions in the binary log for stopping and resuming the recovery and make note of them. Positions are labeled as log_pos followed by a number. After restoring the previous backup file, use the position numbers to process the binary log file. For example, you would use commands something like these:

$> mysqlbinlog --stop-position=368312 /var/log/mysql/bin.123456 \
         | mysql -u root -p
$> mysqlbinlog --start-position=368315 /var/log/mysql/bin.123456 \
         | mysql -u root -p

The first command recovers all the transactions up until the stop position given. The second command recovers all transactions from the starting position given until the end of the binary log. Because the output of mysqlbinlog includes SET TIMESTAMP statements before each SQL statement recorded, the recovered data and related MySQL logs reflect the original times at which the transactions were executed.