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3.9 Semisynchronous Replication

In addition to the built-in asynchronous replication, MySQL 5.7 supports an interface to semisynchronous replication that is implemented by plugins. This section discusses what semisynchronous replication is and how it works. The following sections cover the administrative interface to semisynchronous replication and how to install, configure, and monitor it.

MySQL replication by default is asynchronous. The source writes events to its binary log and replicas request them when they are ready. The source does not know whether or when a replica has retrieved and processed the transactions, and there is no guarantee that any event ever reaches any replica. With asynchronous replication, if the source crashes, transactions that it has committed might not have been transmitted to any replica. Failover from source to replica in this case might result in failover to a server that is missing transactions relative to the source.

With fully synchronous replication, when a source commits a transaction, all replicas must also have committed the transaction before the source returns to the session that performed the transaction. Fully synchronous replication means failover from the source to any replica is possible at any time. The drawback of fully synchronous replication is that there might be a lot of delay to complete a transaction.

Semisynchronous replication falls between asynchronous and fully synchronous replication. The source waits until at least one replica has received and logged the events (the required number of replicas is configurable), and then commits the transaction. The source does not wait for all replicas to acknowledge receipt, and it requires only an acknowledgement from the replicas, not that the events have been fully executed and committed on the replica side. Semisynchronous replication therefore guarantees that if the source crashes, all the transactions that it has committed have been transmitted to at least one replica.

Compared to asynchronous replication, semisynchronous replication provides improved data integrity, because when a commit returns successfully, it is known that the data exists in at least two places. Until a semisynchronous source receives acknowledgment from the required number of replicas, the transaction is on hold and not committed.

Compared to fully synchronous replication, semisynchronous replication is faster, because it can be configured to balance your requirements for data integrity (the number of replicas acknowledging receipt of the transaction) with the speed of commits, which are slower due to the need to wait for replicas.


With semisynchronous replication, if the source crashes and a failover to a replica is carried out, the failed source should not be reused as the replication source server, and should be discarded. It could have transactions that were not acknowledged by any replica, which were therefore not committed before the failover.

If your goal is to implement a fault-tolerant replication topology where all the servers receive the same transactions in the same order, and a server that crashes can rejoin the group and be brought up to date automatically, you can use Group Replication to achieve this. For information, see Group Replication.

The performance impact of semisynchronous replication compared to asynchronous replication is the tradeoff for increased data integrity. The amount of slowdown is at least the TCP/IP roundtrip time to send the commit to the replica and wait for the acknowledgment of receipt by the replica. This means that semisynchronous replication works best for close servers communicating over fast networks, and worst for distant servers communicating over slow networks. Semisynchronous replication also places a rate limit on busy sessions by constraining the speed at which binary log events can be sent from source to replica. When one user is too busy, this slows it down, which can be useful in some deployment situations.

Semisynchronous replication between a source and its replicas operates as follows:

  • A replica indicates whether it is semisynchronous-capable when it connects to the source.

  • If semisynchronous replication is enabled on the source side and there is at least one semisynchronous replica, a thread that performs a transaction commit on the source blocks and waits until at least one semisynchronous replica acknowledges that it has received all events for the transaction, or until a timeout occurs.

  • The replica acknowledges receipt of a transaction's events only after the events have been written to its relay log and flushed to disk.

  • If a timeout occurs without any replica having acknowledged the transaction, the source reverts to asynchronous replication. When at least one semisynchronous replica catches up, the source returns to semisynchronous replication.

  • Semisynchronous replication must be enabled on both the source and replica sides. If semisynchronous replication is disabled on the source, or enabled on the source but on no replicas, the source uses asynchronous replication.

While the source is blocking (waiting for acknowledgment from a replica), it does not return to the session that performed the transaction. When the block ends, the source returns to the session, which then can proceed to execute other statements. At this point, the transaction has committed on the source side, and receipt of its events has been acknowledged by at least one replica. The number of replica acknowledgments the source must receive per transaction before returning to the session is configurable using the rpl_semi_sync_master_wait_for_slave_count system variable, for which the default value is 1.

Blocking also occurs after rollbacks that are written to the binary log, which occurs when a transaction that modifies nontransactional tables is rolled back. The rolled-back transaction is logged even though it has no effect for transactional tables because the modifications to the nontransactional tables cannot be rolled back and must be sent to replicas.

For statements that do not occur in transactional context (that is, when no transaction has been started with START TRANSACTION or SET autocommit = 0), autocommit is enabled and each statement commits implicitly. With semisynchronous replication, the source blocks for each such statement, just as it does for explicit transaction commits.

The rpl_semi_sync_master_wait_point system variable controls the point at which a semisynchronous replication source waits for replica acknowledgment of transaction receipt before returning a status to the client that committed the transaction. These values are permitted:

  • AFTER_SYNC (the default): The source writes each transaction to its binary log and the replica, and syncs the binary log to disk. The source waits for replica acknowledgment of transaction receipt after the sync. Upon receiving acknowledgment, the source commits the transaction to the storage engine and returns a result to the client, which then can proceed.

  • AFTER_COMMIT: The source writes each transaction to its binary log and the replica, syncs the binary log, and commits the transaction to the storage engine. The source waits for replica acknowledgment of transaction receipt after the commit. Upon receiving acknowledgment, the source returns a result to the client, which then can proceed.

The replication characteristics of these settings differ as follows:

  • With AFTER_SYNC, all clients see the committed transaction at the same time, which is after it has been acknowledged by the replica and committed to the storage engine on the source. Thus, all clients see the same data on the source.

    In the event of source failure, all transactions committed on the source have been replicated to the replica (saved to its relay log). An unexpected exit of the source and failover to the replica is lossless because the replica is up to date. As noted above, the source should not be reused after the failover.

  • With AFTER_COMMIT, the client issuing the transaction gets a return status only after the server commits to the storage engine and receives replica acknowledgment. After the commit and before replica acknowledgment, other clients can see the committed transaction before the committing client.

    If something goes wrong such that the replica does not process the transaction, then in the event of an unexpected source exit and failover to the replica, it is possible that such clients see a loss of data relative to what they saw on the source.