Replication enables data from one MySQL database server (the master) to be replicated to one or more MySQL database servers (the slaves). Replication is asynchronous by default, therefore slaves do not need to be connected permanently to receive updates from the master. This means that updates can occur over long-distance connections and even over temporary or intermittent connections such as a dial-up service. Depending on the configuration, you can replicate all databases, selected databases, or even selected tables within a database.
For answers to some questions often asked by those who are new to MySQL Replication, see MySQL 5.5 FAQ: Replication.
Advantages of replication in MySQL include:
Scale-out solutions - spreading the load among multiple slaves to improve performance. In this environment, all writes and updates must take place on the master server. Reads, however, may take place on one or more slaves. This model can improve the performance of writes (since the master is dedicated to updates), while dramatically increasing read speed across an increasing number of slaves.
Data security - because data is replicated to the slave, and the slave can pause the replication process, it is possible to run backup services on the slave without corrupting the corresponding master data.
Analytics - live data can be created on the master, while the analysis of the information can take place on the slave without affecting the performance of the master.
Long-distance data distribution - if a branch office would like to work with a copy of your main data, you can use replication to create a local copy of the data for their use without requiring permanent access to the master.
Replication in MySQL features support for one-way, asynchronous replication, in which one server acts as the master, while one or more other servers act as slaves. This is in contrast to the synchronous replication which is a characteristic of NDB Cluster (see MySQL NDB Cluster 7.2). In MySQL 5.5, an interface to semisynchronous replication is supported in addition to the built-in asynchronous replication. With semisynchronous replication, a commit performed on the master side blocks before returning to the session that performed the transaction until at least one slave acknowledges that it has received and logged the events for the transaction. See Section 3.8, “Semisynchronous Replication”
There are a number of solutions available for setting up replication between two servers, but the best method to use depends on the presence of data and the engine types you are using. For more information on the available options, see Section 2.1, “How to Set Up Replication”.
There are two core types of replication format, Statement Based Replication (SBR), which replicates entire SQL statements, and Row Based Replication (RBR), which replicates only the changed rows. You may also use a third variety, Mixed Based Replication (MBR). For more information on the different replication formats, see Section 2.2, “Replication Formats”. In MySQL 5.5, statement-based format is the default.
Replication is controlled through a number of different options and variables. These control the core operation of the replication, timeouts, and the databases and filters that can be applied on databases and tables. For more information on the available options, see Section 2.3, “Replication and Binary Logging Options and Variables”.
You can use replication to solve a number of different problems, including problems with performance, supporting the backup of different databases, and as part of a larger solution to alleviate system failures. For information on how to address these issues, see Chapter 3, Replication Solutions.
For notes and tips on how different data types and statements are treated during replication, including details of replication features, version compatibility, upgrades, and problems and their resolution, including an FAQ, see Chapter 4, Replication Notes and Tips.
For detailed information on the implementation of replication, how replication works, the process and contents of the binary log, background threads and the rules used to decide how statements are recorded and replication, see Chapter 5, Replication Implementation.