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Excerpts from this Manual Undo Tablespaces

Undo tablespaces contain undo logs, which are collections of undo log records that contain information about how to undo the latest change by a transaction to a clustered index record. Undo logs exist within undo log segments, which are contained within rollback segments. The innodb_rollback_segments variable defines the number of rollback segments allocated to each undo tablespace.

Undo logs can be stored in one or more undo tablespaces instead of the system tablespace. This layout differs from the default configuration in which undo logs reside in the system tablespace. The I/O patterns for undo logs make undo tablespaces good candidates for SSD storage, while keeping the system tablespace on hard disk storage.

The number of undo tablespaces used by InnoDB is controlled by the innodb_undo_tablespaces configuration option. This option can only be configured when initializing the MySQL instance. It cannot be changed afterward.


The innodb_undo_tablespaces configuration option is deprecated and will be removed in a future release.

Undo tablespaces and individual segments inside those tablespaces cannot be dropped. However, undo logs stored in undo tablespaces can be truncated. For more information, see Truncating Undo Tablespaces.

Configuring Undo Tablespaces

To configure undo tablespaces for a MySQL instance, perform the following steps. It is assumed that you are performing the procedure on a test instance prior to deploying the configuration to a production system.


The number of undo tablespaces can only be configured when initializing a MySQL instance and is fixed for the life of the instance.

  1. Specify a directory location for undo tablespaces using the innodb_undo_directory configuration option. If a directory location is not specified, undo tablespaces are created in the data directory.

  2. Define the number of rollback segments using the innodb_rollback_segments configuration option. Start with a relatively low value and increase it incrementally over time to examine the effect on performance. The default setting for innodb_rollback_segments is 128, which is also the maximum value.

    One rollback segment is always assigned to the system tablespace, and 32 rollback segments are reserved for the temporary tablespace (ibtmp1). Therefore, to allocate rollback segments to undo tablespaces, set innodb_rollback_segments to a value greater than 33. For example, if you have two undo tablespaces, set innodb_rollback_segments to 35 to assign one rollback segment to each of the two undo tablespaces. Rollback segments are distributed among undo tablespaces in a circular fashion.

    When you configure separate undo tablespaces, the rollback segment in the system tablespace is rendered inactive.

  3. Define the number of undo tablespaces using the innodb_undo_tablespaces option. The specified number of undo tablespaces is fixed for the life of the MySQL instance, so if you are uncertain about an optimal value, estimate on the high side.

  4. Create a new MySQL test instance using the option values you have chosen.

  5. Use a realistic workload on your test instance with data volume similar to your production servers to test the configuration.

  6. Benchmark the performance of I/O intensive workloads.

  7. Periodically increase the value of innodb_rollback_segments and rerun performance tests until there are no further improvements in I/O performance.

Truncating Undo Tablespaces

Truncating undo tablespaces requires that the MySQL instance have a minimum of two active undo tablespaces, which ensures that one undo tablespace remains active while the other is taken offline to be truncated. The number of undo tablespaces is defined by the innodb_undo_tablespaces variable. The default value is 0. Use this statement to check the value of innodb_undo_tablespaces:

mysql> SELECT @@innodb_undo_tablespaces;
| @@innodb_undo_tablespaces |
|                         2 |

To have undo tablespaces truncated, enable the innodb_undo_log_truncate variable. For example:

mysql> SET GLOBAL innodb_undo_log_truncate=ON;

When the innodb_undo_log_truncate variable is enabled, undo tablespaces that exceed the size limit defined by the innodb_max_undo_log_size variable are subject to truncation. The innodb_max_undo_log_size variable is dynamic and has a default value of 1073741824 bytes (1024 MiB).

mysql> SELECT @@innodb_max_undo_log_size;
| @@innodb_max_undo_log_size |
|                 1073741824 |

When the innodb_undo_log_truncate variable is enabled:

  1. Undo tablespaces that exceed the innodb_max_undo_log_size setting are marked for truncation. Selection of an undo tablespace for truncation is performed in a circular fashion to avoid truncating the same undo tablespace each time.

  2. Rollback segments residing in the selected undo tablespace are made inactive so that they are not assigned to new transactions. Existing transactions that are currently using rollback segments are permitted to finish.

  3. The purge system frees rollback segments that are no longer in use.

  4. After all rollback segments in the undo tablespace are freed, the truncate operation runs and truncates the undo tablespace to its initial size. The initial size of an undo tablespace depends on the innodb_page_size value. For the default 16KB page size, the initial undo tablespace file size is 10MiB. For 4KB, 8KB, 32KB, and 64KB page sizes, the initial undo tablespace files sizes are 7MiB, 8MiB, 20MiB, and 40MiB, respectively.

    The size of an undo tablespace after a truncate operation may be larger than the initial size due to immediate use following the completion of the operation.

    The innodb_undo_directory variable defines the location of undo tablespace files. If the innodb_undo_directory variable is undefined, undo tablespaces reside in the data directory.

  5. Rollback segments are reactivated so that they can be assigned to new transactions.

Expediting Truncation of Undo Tablespaces

The purge thread is responsible for emptying and truncating undo tablespaces. By default, the purge thread looks for undo tablespaces to truncate once every 128 times that purge is invoked. The frequency with which the purge thread looks for undo tablespaces to truncate is controlled by the innodb_purge_rseg_truncate_frequency variable, which has a default setting of 128.

mysql> SELECT @@innodb_purge_rseg_truncate_frequency;
| @@innodb_purge_rseg_truncate_frequency |
|                                    128 |

To increase that frequency, decrease the innodb_purge_rseg_truncate_frequency setting. For example, to have the purge thread look for undo tabespaces once every 32 timees that purge is invoked, set innodb_purge_rseg_truncate_frequency to 32.

mysql> SET GLOBAL innodb_purge_rseg_truncate_frequency=32;

When the purge thread finds an undo tablespace that requires truncation, the purge thread returns with increased frequency to quickly empty and truncate the undo tablespace.

Performance Impact of Truncating Undo Tablespace Files

When an undo tablespace is truncated, the rollback segments in the undo tablespace are deactivated. The active rollback segments in other undo tablespaces assume responsibility for the entire system load, which may result in a slight performance degradation. The amount of performance degradation depends on a number of factors:

  • Number of undo tablespaces

  • Number of undo logs

  • Undo tablespace size

  • Speed of the I/O susbsystem

  • Existing long running transactions

  • System load

The easiest way to avoid this potential performance issue is to increase the number of undo tablespaces.

Also, two checkpoint operations are performed during an undo tablespace truncate operation. The first checkpoint operation removes the old undo tablespace pages from the buffer pool. The second checkpoint flushes the initial pages of the new undo tablespace to disk. On a busy system, the first checkpoint in particular can temporarily affect system performance if there is a large number of pages to remove.

Undo Tablespace Truncation Recovery

An undo tablespace truncate operation creates a temporary undo_space_number_trunc.log file in the server log directory. That log directory is defined by innodb_log_group_home_dir. If a system failure occurs during the truncate operation, the temporary log file permits the startup process to identify undo tablespaces that were being truncated and to continue the operation.