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17.3.2 Using Replication with Different Master and Slave Storage Engines

It does not matter for the replication process whether the source table on the master and the replicated table on the slave use different engine types. In fact, the default_storage_engine and storage_engine system variables are not replicated.

This provides a number of benefits in the replication process in that you can take advantage of different engine types for different replication scenarios. For example, in a typical scale-out scenario (see Section 17.3.3, “Using Replication for Scale-Out”), you want to use InnoDB tables on the master to take advantage of the transactional functionality, but use MyISAM on the slaves where transaction support is not required because the data is only read. When using replication in a data-logging environment you may want to use the Archive storage engine on the slave.

Configuring different engines on the master and slave depends on how you set up the initial replication process:

  • If you used mysqldump to create the database snapshot on your master, you could edit the dump file text to change the engine type used on each table.

    Another alternative for mysqldump is to disable engine types that you do not want to use on the slave before using the dump to build the data on the slave. For example, you can add the --skip-federated option on your slave to disable the FEDERATED engine. If a specific engine does not exist for a table to be created, MySQL will use the default engine type, usually MyISAM. (This requires that the NO_ENGINE_SUBSTITUTION SQL mode is not enabled.) If you want to disable additional engines in this way, you may want to consider building a special binary to be used on the slave that only supports the engines you want.

  • If you are using raw data files (a binary backup) to set up the slave, you will be unable to change the initial table format. Instead, use ALTER TABLE to change the table types after the slave has been started.

  • For new master/slave replication setups where there are currently no tables on the master, avoid specifying the engine type when creating new tables.

If you are already running a replication solution and want to convert your existing tables to another engine type, follow these steps:

  1. Stop the slave from running replication updates:

    mysql> STOP SLAVE;

    This will enable you to change engine types without interruptions.

  2. Execute an ALTER TABLE ... ENGINE='engine_type' for each table to be changed.

  3. Start the slave replication process again:

    mysql> START SLAVE;

Although the default_storage_engine variable is not replicated, be aware that CREATE TABLE and ALTER TABLE statements that include the engine specification will be correctly replicated to the slave. For example, if you have a CSV table and you execute:

mysql> ALTER TABLE csvtable Engine='MyISAM';

The above statement will be replicated to the slave and the engine type on the slave will be converted to MyISAM, even if you have previously changed the table type on the slave to an engine other than CSV. If you want to retain engine differences on the master and slave, you should be careful to use the default_storage_engine variable on the master when creating a new table. For example, instead of:

mysql> CREATE TABLE tablea (columna int) Engine=MyISAM;

Use this format:

mysql> SET default_storage_engine=MyISAM;
mysql> CREATE TABLE tablea (columna int);

When replicated, the default_storage_engine variable will be ignored, and the CREATE TABLE statement will execute on the slave using the slave's default engine.

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