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MySQL 5.7 Reference Manual  /  ...  /  Adapting an Existing MySQL Schema for the InnoDB memcached Plugin Adapting an Existing MySQL Schema for the InnoDB memcached Plugin

Consider these aspects of memcached applications when adapting an existing MySQL schema or application to use the daemon_memcached plugin:

  • memcached keys cannot contain spaces or newlines, because these characters are used as separators in the ASCII protocol. If you are using lookup values that contain spaces, transform or hash them into values without spaces before using them as keys in calls to add(), set(), get(), and so on. Although theoretically these characters are allowed in keys in programs that use the binary protocol, you should restrict the characters used in keys to ensure compatibility with a broad range of clients.

  • If there is a short numeric primary key column in an InnoDB table, use it as the unique lookup key for memcached by converting the integer to a string value. If the memcached server is used for multiple applications, or with more than one InnoDB table, consider modifying the name to ensure that it is unique. For example, prepend the table name, or the database name and the table name, before the numeric value.


    The daemon_memcached plugin supports inserts and reads on mapped InnoDB tables that have an INTEGER defined as the primary key.

  • You cannot use a partitioned table for data queried or stored using memcached.

  • The memcached protocol passes numeric values around as strings. To store numeric values in the underlying InnoDB table, to implement counters that can be used in SQL functions such as SUM() or AVG(), for example:

    • Use VARCHAR columns with enough characters to hold all the digits of the largest expected number (and additional characters if appropriate for the negative sign, decimal point, or both).

    • In any query that performs arithmetic using column values, use the CAST() function to convert the values from string to integer, or to some other numeric type. For example:

      # Alphabetic entries are returned as zero.
      SELECT CAST(c2 as unsigned integer) FROM demo_test;
      # Since there could be numeric values of 0, can't disqualify them.
      # Test the string values to find the ones that are integers, and average only those.
      SELECT AVG(cast(c2 as unsigned integer)) FROM demo_test
        WHERE c2 BETWEEN '0' and '9999999999';
      # Views let you hide the complexity of queries. The results are already converted;
      # no need to repeat conversion functions and WHERE clauses each time.
        FROM demo_test WHERE c2 BETWEEN '0' and '9999999999';
      SELECT SUM(val) FROM numbers;

      Any alphabetic values in the result set are converted into 0 by the call to CAST(). When using functions such as AVG(), which depend on the number of rows in the result set, include WHERE clauses to filter out non-numeric values.

  • If the InnoDB column used as a key could have values longer than 250 bytes, hash the value to less than 250 bytes.

  • To use an existing table with the daemon_memcached plugin, define an entry for it in the innodb_memcache.containers table. To make that table the default for all memcached requests, specify a value of default in the name column, then restart the MySQL server to make the change take effect. If you use multiple tables for different classes of memcached data, set up multiple entries in the innodb_memcache.containers table with name values of your choice, then issue a memcached request in the form of get @@name or set @@name within the application to specify the table to be used for subsequent memcached requests.

    For an example of using a table other than the predefined test.demo_test table, see Example 14.13, “Using Your Own Table with an InnoDB memcached Application”. For the required table layout, see Section 14.21.7, “InnoDB memcached Plugin Internals”.

  • To use multiple InnoDB table column values with memcached key-value pairs, specify column names separated by comma, semicolon, space, or pipe characters in the value_columns field of the innodb_memcache.containers entry for the InnoDB table. For example, specify col1,col2,col3 or col1|col2|col3 in the value_columns field.

    Concatenate the column values into a single string using the pipe character as a separator before passing the string to memcached add or set calls. The string is unpacked automatically into the correct column. Each get call returns a single string containing the column values that is also delimited by the pipe character. You can unpack the values using the appropriate application language syntax.

Example 14.13 Using Your Own Table with an InnoDB memcached Application

This example shows how to use your own table with a sample Python application that uses memcached for data manipulation.

The example assumes that the daemon_memcached plugin is installed as described in Section 14.21.3, “Setting Up the InnoDB memcached Plugin”. It also assumes that your system is configured to run a Python script that uses the python-memcache module.

  1. Create the multicol table which stores country information including population, area, and driver side data ('R' for right and 'L' for left).

    mysql> USE test;
    mysql> CREATE TABLE `multicol` (
            `country` varchar(128) NOT NULL DEFAULT '',
            `population` varchar(10) DEFAULT NULL,
            `area_sq_km` varchar(9) DEFAULT NULL,
            `drive_side` varchar(1) DEFAULT NULL,
            `c3` int(11) DEFAULT NULL,
            `c4` bigint(20) unsigned DEFAULT NULL,
            `c5` int(11) DEFAULT NULL,
            PRIMARY KEY (`country`)
            ) ENGINE=InnoDB DEFAULT CHARSET=latin1;
  2. Insert a record into the innodb_memcache.containers table so that the daemon_memcached plugin can access the multicol table.

    mysql> INSERT INTO innodb_memcache.containers
    mysql> COMMIT;
    • The innodb_memcache.containers record for the multicol table specifies a name value of 'bbb', which is the table identifier.


      If a single InnoDB table is used for all memcached applications, the name value can be set to default to avoid using @@ notation to switch tables.

    • The db_schema column is set to test, which is the name of the database where the multicol table resides.

    • The db_table column is set to multicol, which is the name of the InnoDB table.

    • key_columns is set to the unique country column. The country column is defined as the primary key in the multicol table definition.

    • Rather than a single InnoDB table column to hold a composite data value, data is divided among three table columns (population, area_sq_km, and drive_side). To accommodate multiple value columns, a comma-separated list of columns is specified in the value_columns field. The columns defined in the value_columns field are the columns used when storing or retrieving values.

    • Values for the flags, expire_time, and cas_column fields are based on values used in the demo.test sample table. These fields are typically not significant in applications that use the daemon_memcached plugin because MySQL keeps data synchronized, and there is no need to worry about data expiring or becoming stale.

    • The unique_idx_name_on_key field is set to PRIMARY, which refers to the primary index defined on the unique country column in the multicol table.

  3. Copy the sample Python application into a file. In this example, the sample script is copied to a file named

    The sample Python application inserts data into the multicol table and retrieves data for all keys, demonstrating how to access an InnoDB table through the daemon_memcached plugin.

    import sys, os
    import memcache
    def connect_to_memcached():
      memc = memcache.Client([''], debug=0);
      print "Connected to memcached."
      return memc
    def banner(message):
      print "=" * len(message)
      print message
      print "=" * len(message)
    country_data = [
    def switch_table(memc,table):
      key = "@@" + table
      print "Switching default table to '" + table + "' by issuing GET for '" + key + "'."
      result = memc.get(key)
    def insert_country_data(memc):
      banner("Inserting initial data via memcached interface")
      for item in country_data:
        country = item[0]
        population = item[1]
        area = item[2]
        drive_side = item[3]
        key = country
        value = "|".join([population,area,drive_side])
        print "Key = " + key
        print "Value = " + value
        if memc.add(key,value):
          print "Added new key, value pair."
          print "Updating value for existing key."
    def query_country_data(memc):
      banner("Retrieving data for all keys (country names)")
      for item in country_data:
        key = item[0]
        result = memc.get(key)
        print "Here is the result retrieved from the database for key " + key + ":"
        print result
        (m_population, m_area, m_drive_side) = result.split("|")
        print "Unpacked population value: " + m_population
        print "Unpacked area value      : " + m_area
        print "Unpacked drive side value: " + m_drive_side
    if __name__ == '__main__':
      memc = connect_to_memcached()

    Sample Python application notes:

    • No database authorization is required to run the application, since data manipulation is performed through the memcached interface. The only required information is the port number on the local system where the memcached daemon listens.

    • To make sure the application uses the multicol table, the switch_table() function is called, which performs a dummy get or set request using @@ notation. The name value in the request is bbb, which is the multicol table identifier defined in the field.

      A more descriptive name value might be used in a real-world application. This example simply illustrates that a table identifier is specified rather than the table name in get @@... requests.

    • The utility functions used to insert and query data demonstrate how to turn a Python data structure into pipe-separated values for sending data to MySQL with add or set requests, and how to unpack the pipe-separated values returned by get requests. This extra processing is only required when mapping a single memcached value to multiple MySQL table columns.

  4. Run the sample Python application.

    $> python

    If successful, the sample application returns this output:

    Connected to memcached.
    Switching default table to 'bbb' by issuing GET for '@@bbb'.
    Inserting initial data via memcached interface
    Key = Canada
    Value = 34820000|9984670|R
    Added new key, value pair.
    Key = USA
    Value = 314242000|9826675|R
    Added new key, value pair.
    Key = Ireland
    Value = 6399152|84421|L
    Added new key, value pair.
    Key = UK
    Value = 62262000|243610|L
    Added new key, value pair.
    Key = Mexico
    Value = 113910608|1972550|R
    Added new key, value pair.
    Key = Denmark
    Value = 5543453|43094|R
    Added new key, value pair.
    Key = Norway
    Value = 5002942|385252|R
    Added new key, value pair.
    Key = UAE
    Value = 8264070|83600|R
    Added new key, value pair.
    Key = India
    Value = 1210193422|3287263|L
    Added new key, value pair.
    Key = China
    Value = 1347350000|9640821|R
    Added new key, value pair.
    Retrieving data for all keys (country names)
    Here is the result retrieved from the database for key Canada:
    Unpacked population value: 34820000
    Unpacked area value      : 9984670
    Unpacked drive side value: R
    Here is the result retrieved from the database for key USA:
    Unpacked population value: 314242000
    Unpacked area value      : 9826675
    Unpacked drive side value: R
    Here is the result retrieved from the database for key Ireland:
    Unpacked population value: 6399152
    Unpacked area value      : 84421
    Unpacked drive side value: L
    Here is the result retrieved from the database for key UK:
    Unpacked population value: 62262000
    Unpacked area value      : 243610
    Unpacked drive side value: L
    Here is the result retrieved from the database for key Mexico:
    Unpacked population value: 113910608
    Unpacked area value      : 1972550
    Unpacked drive side value: R
    Here is the result retrieved from the database for key Denmark:
    Unpacked population value: 5543453
    Unpacked area value      : 43094
    Unpacked drive side value: R
    Here is the result retrieved from the database for key Norway:
    Unpacked population value: 5002942
    Unpacked area value      : 385252
    Unpacked drive side value: R
    Here is the result retrieved from the database for key UAE:
    Unpacked population value: 8264070
    Unpacked area value      : 83600
    Unpacked drive side value: R
    Here is the result retrieved from the database for key India:
    Unpacked population value: 1210193422
    Unpacked area value      : 3287263
    Unpacked drive side value: L
    Here is the result retrieved from the database for key China:
    Unpacked population value: 1347350000
    Unpacked area value      : 9640821
    Unpacked drive side value: R
  5. Query the innodb_memcache.containers table to view the record you inserted earlier for the multicol table. The first record is the sample entry for the demo_test table that is created during the initial daemon_memcached plugin setup. The second record is the entry you inserted for the multicol table.

    mysql> SELECT * FROM innodb_memcache.containers\G
    *************************** 1. row ***************************
                      name: aaa
                 db_schema: test
                  db_table: demo_test
               key_columns: c1
             value_columns: c2
                     flags: c3
                cas_column: c4
        expire_time_column: c5
    unique_idx_name_on_key: PRIMARY
    *************************** 2. row ***************************
                      name: bbb
                 db_schema: test
                  db_table: multicol
               key_columns: country
             value_columns: population,area_sq_km,drive_side
                     flags: c3
                cas_column: c4
        expire_time_column: c5
    unique_idx_name_on_key: PRIMARY
  6. Query the multicol table to view data inserted by the sample Python application. The data is available for MySQL queries, which demonstrates how the same data can be accessed using SQL or through applications (using the appropriate MySQL Connector or API).

    mysql> SELECT * FROM test.multicol;
    | country | population | area_sq_km | drive_side | c3   | c4   | c5   |
    | Canada  | 34820000   | 9984670    | R          |    0 |   11 |    0 |
    | China   | 1347350000 | 9640821    | R          |    0 |   20 |    0 |
    | Denmark | 5543453    | 43094      | R          |    0 |   16 |    0 |
    | India   | 1210193422 | 3287263    | L          |    0 |   19 |    0 |
    | Ireland | 6399152    | 84421      | L          |    0 |   13 |    0 |
    | Mexico  | 113910608  | 1972550    | R          |    0 |   15 |    0 |
    | Norway  | 5002942    | 385252     | R          |    0 |   17 |    0 |
    | UAE     | 8264070    | 83600      | R          |    0 |   18 |    0 |
    | UK      | 62262000   | 243610     | L          |    0 |   14 |    0 |
    | USA     | 314242000  | 9826675    | R          |    0 |   12 |    0 |

    Always allow sufficient size to hold necessary digits, decimal points, sign characters, leading zeros, and so on when defining the length for columns that are treated as numbers. Too-long values in a string column such as a VARCHAR are truncated by removing some characters, which could produce nonsensical numeric values.

  7. Optionally, run report-type queries on the InnoDB table that stores the memcached data.

    You can produce reports through SQL queries, performing calculations and tests across any columns, not just the country key column. (Because the following examples use data from only a few countries, the numbers are for illustration purposes only.) The following queries return the average population of countries where people drive on the right, and the average size of countries whose names start with U:

    mysql> SELECT AVG(population) FROM multicol WHERE drive_side = 'R';
    | avg(population)   |
    | 261304724.7142857 |
    mysql> SELECT SUM(area_sq_km) FROM multicol WHERE country LIKE 'U%';
    | sum(area_sq_km) |
    |        10153885 |

    Because the population and area_sq_km columns store character data rather than strongly typed numeric data, functions such as AVG() and SUM() work by converting each value to a number first. This approach does not work for operators such as < or >, for example, when comparing character-based values, 9 > 1000, which is not expected from a clause such as ORDER BY population DESC. For the most accurate type treatment, perform queries against views that cast numeric columns to the appropriate types. This technique lets you issue simple SELECT * queries from database applications, while ensuring that casting, filtering, and ordering is correct. The following example shows a view that can be queried to find the top three countries in descending order of population, with the results reflecting the latest data in the multicol table, and with population and area figures treated as numbers:

    mysql> CREATE VIEW populous_countries AS
           cast(population as unsigned integer) population,
           cast(area_sq_km as unsigned integer) area_sq_km,
           drive_side FROM multicol
           ORDER BY CAST(population as unsigned integer) DESC
           LIMIT 3;
    mysql> SELECT * FROM populous_countries;
    | country | population | area_sq_km | drive_side |
    | China   | 1347350000 |    9640821 | R          |
    | India   | 1210193422 |    3287263 | L          |
    | USA     |  314242000 |    9826675 | R          |
    mysql> DESC populous_countries;
    | Field      | Type                | Null | Key | Default | Extra |
    | country    | varchar(128)        | NO   |     |         |       |
    | population | bigint(10) unsigned | YES  |     | NULL    |       |
    | area_sq_km | int(9) unsigned     | YES  |     | NULL    |       |
    | drive_side | varchar(1)          | YES  |     | NULL    |       |