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C.10.3 Limits on Table Size

The effective maximum table size for MySQL databases is usually determined by operating system constraints on file sizes, not by MySQL internal limits. The following table lists some examples of operating system file-size limits. This is only a rough guide and is not intended to be definitive. For the most up-to-date information, be sure to check the documentation specific to your operating system.

Operating SystemFile-size Limit
Win32 w/ FAT/FAT322GB/4GB
Win32 w/ NTFS2TB (possibly larger)
Linux 2.2-Intel 32-bit2GB (LFS: 4GB)
Linux 2.4+(using ext3 file system) 4TB
Solaris 9/1016TB

Windows users, please note that FAT and VFAT (FAT32) are not considered suitable for production use with MySQL. Use NTFS instead.

On Linux 2.2, you can get MyISAM tables larger than 2GB in size by using the Large File Support (LFS) patch for the ext2 file system. Most current Linux distributions are based on kernel 2.4 or higher and include all the required LFS patches. On Linux 2.4, patches also exist for ReiserFS to get support for big files (up to 2TB). With JFS and XFS, petabyte and larger files are possible on Linux.

For a detailed overview about LFS in Linux, have a look at Andreas Jaeger's Large File Support in Linux page at

If you do encounter a full-table error, there are several reasons why it might have occurred:

  • The disk might be full.

  • The InnoDB storage engine maintains InnoDB tables within a tablespace that can be created from several files. This enables a table to exceed the maximum individual file size. The tablespace can include raw disk partitions, which permits extremely large tables. The maximum tablespace size is 64TB.

    If you are using InnoDB tables and run out of room in the InnoDB tablespace. In this case, the solution is to extend the InnoDB tablespace. See Section 14.7.2, “Changing the Number or Size of InnoDB Redo Log Files”.

  • You are using MyISAM tables on an operating system that supports files only up to 2GB in size and you have hit this limit for the data file or index file.

  • You are using a MyISAM table and the space required for the table exceeds what is permitted by the internal pointer size. MyISAM permits data and index files to grow up to 256TB by default, but this limit can be changed up to the maximum permissible size of 65,536TB (2567 − 1 bytes).

    If you need a MyISAM table that is larger than the default limit and your operating system supports large files, the CREATE TABLE statement supports AVG_ROW_LENGTH and MAX_ROWS options. See Section 13.1.17, “CREATE TABLE Syntax”. The server uses these options to determine how large a table to permit.

    If the pointer size is too small for an existing table, you can change the options with ALTER TABLE to increase a table's maximum permissible size. See Section 13.1.7, “ALTER TABLE Syntax”.

    ALTER TABLE tbl_name MAX_ROWS=1000000000 AVG_ROW_LENGTH=nnn;

    You have to specify AVG_ROW_LENGTH only for tables with BLOB or TEXT columns; in this case, MySQL can't optimize the space required based only on the number of rows.

    To change the default size limit for MyISAM tables, set the myisam_data_pointer_size, which sets the number of bytes used for internal row pointers. The value is used to set the pointer size for new tables if you do not specify the MAX_ROWS option. The value of myisam_data_pointer_size can be from 2 to 7. A value of 4 permits tables up to 4GB; a value of 6 permits tables up to 256TB.

    You can check the maximum data and index sizes by using this statement:

    SHOW TABLE STATUS FROM db_name LIKE 'tbl_name';

    You also can use myisamchk -dv /path/to/table-index-file. See Section 13.7.5, “SHOW Syntax”, or Section 4.6.3, “myisamchk — MyISAM Table-Maintenance Utility”.

    Other ways to work around file-size limits for MyISAM tables are as follows:

  • You are using the NDB storage engine, in which case you need to increase the values for the DataMemory and IndexMemory configuration parameters in your config.ini file. See Section, “MySQL Cluster Data Node Configuration Parameters”.

  • You are using the MEMORY (HEAP) storage engine; in this case you need to increase the value of the max_heap_table_size system variable. See Section 5.1.4, “Server System Variables”.

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