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16 Maintaining a MySQL Installation

This chapter covers what you should know about maintaining a MySQL distribution. You will learn how to care for your tables on a regular basis, and what to do when disaster strikes.

16.1 Using myisamchk for Table Maintenance and Crash Recovery

Starting with MySQL Version 3.23.13, you can check MyISAM tables with the CHECK TABLE command. See section 7.12 CHECK TABLE Syntax. You can repair tables with the REPAIR TABLE command. See section 7.16 REPAIR TABLE Syntax.

To check/repair MyISAM tables (.MYI and .MYD) you should use the myisamchk utility. To check/repair ISAM tables (.ISM and .ISD) you should use the isamchk utility. See section 8 MySQL Table Types.

In the following text we will talk about myisamchk, but everything also applies to the old isamchk.

You can use the myisamchk utility to get information about your database tables, check and repair them, or optimize them. The following sections describe how to invoke myisamchk (including a description of its options), how to set up a table maintenance schedule, and how to use myisamchk to perform its various functions.

You can, in most cases, also use the command OPTIMIZE TABLES to optimize and repair tables, but this is not as fast or reliable (in case of real fatal errors) as myisamchk. On the other hand, OPTIMIZE TABLE is easier to use and you don't have to worry about flushing tables. See section 7.11 OPTIMIZE TABLE Syntax.

Even that the repair in myisamchk is quite secure, it's always a good idea to make a backup BEFORE doing a repair (or anything that could make a lot of changes to a table)

16.1.1 myisamchk Invocation Syntax

myisamchk is invoked like this:

shell> myisamchk [options] tbl_name

The options specify what you want myisamchk to do. They are described below. (You can also get a list of options by invoking myisamchk --help.) With no options, myisamchk simply checks your table. To get more information or to tell myisamchk to take corrective action, specify options as described below and in the following sections.

tbl_name is the database table you want to check/repair. If you run myisamchk somewhere other than in the database directory, you must specify the path to the file, because myisamchk has no idea where your database is located. Actually, myisamchk doesn't care whether or not the files you are working on are located in a database directory; you can copy the files that correspond to a database table into another location and perform recovery operations on them there.

You can name several tables on the myisamchk command line if you wish. You can also specify a name as an index file name (with the `.MYI' suffix), which allows you to specify all tables in a directory by using the pattern `*.MYI'. For example, if you are in a database directory, you can check all the tables in the directory like this:

shell> myisamchk *.MYI

If you are not in the database directory, you can check all the tables there by specifying the path to the directory:

shell> myisamchk /path/to/database_dir/*.MYI

You can even check all tables in all databases by specifying a wild card with the path to the MySQL data directory:

shell> myisamchk /path/to/datadir/*/*.MYI

The recommended way to quickly check all tables is:

myisamchk --silent --fast /path/to/datadir/*/*.MYI
isamchk --silent /path/to/datadir/*/*.ISM

If you want to check all tables and repair all tables that are corrupted, you can use the following line:

myisamchk --silent --force --fast --update-state -O key_buffer=64M -O sort_buffer=64M -O read_buffer=1M -O write_buffer=1M /path/to/datadir/*/*.MYI
isamchk --silent --force -O key_buffer=64M -O sort_buffer=64M -O read_buffer=1M -O write_buffer=1M /path/to/datadir/*/*.ISM

The above assumes that you have more than 64 M free.

Note that if you get an error like:

myisamchk: warning: 1 clients is using or hasn't closed the table properly

This means that you are trying to check a table that has been updated by the another program (like the mysqld server) that hasn't yet closed the file or that has died without closing the file properly.

If you mysqld is running, you must force a sync/close of all tables with FLUSH TABLES and ensure that no one is using the tables while you are running myisamchk. In MySQL Version 3.23 the easiest way to avoid this problem is to use CHECK TABLE instead of myisamchk to check tables.

16.1.1.1 General Options for myisamchk

myisamchk supports the following options.

-# or --debug=debug_options
Output debug log. The debug_options string often is 'd:t:o,filename'.
-? or --help
Display a help message and exit.
-O var=option, --set-variable var=option
Set the value of a variable. The possible variables and their default values for myisamchk can be examined with myisamchk --help:
key_buffer_size 523264
read_buffer_size 262136
write_buffer_size 262136
sort_buffer_size 2097144
sort_key_blocks 16
decode_bits 9
sort_buffer_size is used when the keys are repaired by sorting keys, which is the normal case when you use --recover. key_buffer_size is used when you are checking the table with --extended-check or when the keys are repaired by inserting key row by row in to the table (like when doing normal inserts). Repairing through the key buffer is used in the following cases: Reparing through the key buffer takes much less disk space than using sorting, but is also much slower. If you want a faster repair, set the above variables to about 1/4 of your available memory. You can set both variables to big values, as only one of the above buffers will be used at a time.
-s or --silent
Silent mode. Write output only when errors occur. You can use -s twice (-ss) to make myisamchk very silent.
-v or --verbose
Verbose mode. Print more information. This can be used with -d and -e. Use -v multiple times (-vv, -vvv) for more verbosity!
-V or --version
Print the myisamchk version and exit.
-w or, --wait
Instead of giving an error if the table is locked, wait until the table is unlocked before continuing. Note that if you are running mysqld on the table with --skip-locking, the table can only be locked by another myisamchk command.

16.1.1.2 Check Options for myisamchk

-c or --check
Check table for errors. This is the default operation if you are not giving myisamchk any options that override this.
-e or --extend-check
Check the table VERY thoroughly (which is quite slow if you have many indexes). This option should only be used in extreme cases. Normally, myisamchk or myisamchk --medium-check should, in most cases, be able to find out if there are any errors in the table. If you are using --extended-check and have much memory, you should increase the value of key_buffer_size a lot!
-F or --fast
Check only tables that haven't been closed properly.
-C or --check-only-changed
Check only tables that have changed since the last check.
-f or --force
Restart myisamchk with -r (repair) on the table, if myisamchk finds any errors in the table.
-i or --information
Print informational statistics about the table that is checked.
-m or --medium-check
Faster than extended-check, but only finds 99.99% of all errors. Should, however, be good enough for most cases.
-U or --update-state
Store in the `.MYI' file when the table was checked and if the table crashed. This should be used to get full benefit of the --check-only-changed option, but you shouldn't use this option if the mysqld server is using the table and you are running mysqld with --skip-locking.
-T or --read-only
Don't mark table as checked. This is useful if you use myisamchk to check a table that is in use by some other application that doesn't use locking (like mysqld --skip-locking).

16.1.1.3 Repair Options for myisamchk

The following options are used if you start myisamchk with -r or -o:

-D # or --data-file-length=#
Max length of data file (when re-creating data file when it's 'full').
-e or --extend-check
Try to recover every possible row from the data file. Normally this will also find a lot of garbage rows. Don't use this option if you are not totally desperate.
-f or --force
Overwrite old temporary files (table_name.TMD) instead of aborting.
-k # or keys-used=#
If you are using ISAM, tells the ISAM table handler to update only the first # indexes. If you are using MyISAM, tells which keys to use, where each binary bit stands for one key (first key is bit 0). This can be used to get faster inserts! Deactivated indexes can be reactivated by using myisamchk -r. keys.
-l or --no-symlinks
Do not follow symbolic links. Normally myisamchk repairs the table a symlink points at. This option doesn't exist in MySQL 4.0, as MySQL 4.0 will not remove symlinks during repair.
-r or --recover
Can fix almost anything except unique keys that aren't unique (which is an extremely unlikely error with ISAM/MyISAM tables). If you want to recover a table, this is the option to try first. Only if myisamchk reports that the table can't be recovered by -r, you should then try -o. (Note that in the unlikely case that -r fails, the data file is still intact.) If you have lots of memory, you should increase the size of sort_buffer_size!
-o or --safe-recover
Uses an old recovery method (reads through all rows in order and updates all index trees based on the found rows); this is a magnitude slower than -r, but can handle a couple of very unlikely cases that -r cannot handle. This recovery method also uses much less disk space than -r. Normally one should always first repair with -r, and only if this fails use -o. If you have lots of memory, you should increase the size of key_buffer_size!
-n or --sort-recover
Force myisamchk to use sorting to resolve the keys even if the temporary files should be very big. This will not have any effect if you have fulltext keys in the table.
--character-sets-dir=...
Directory where character sets are stored.
--set-character-set=name
Change the character set used by the index
.t or --tmpdir=path
Path for storing temporary files. If this is not set, myisamchk will use the environment variable TMPDIR for this.
-q or --quick
Faster repair by not modifying the data file. One can give a second -q to force myisamchk to modify the original datafile in case of duplicate keys
-u or --unpack
Unpack file packed with myisampack.

16.1.1.4 Other Options for myisamchk

Other actions that myisamchk can do, besides repair and check tables:

-a or --analyze
Analyze the distribution of keys. This improves join performance by enabling the join optimizer to better choose in which order it should join the tables and which keys it should use: myisamchk --describe --verbose table_name' or using SHOW KEYS in MySQL.
-d or --description
Prints some information about table.
-A or --set-auto-increment[=value]
Force auto_increment to start at this or higher value. If no value is given, then sets the next auto_increment value to the highest used value for the auto key + 1.
-S or --sort-index
Sort the index tree blocks in high-low order. This will optimize seeks and will make table scanning by key faster.
-R or --sort-records=#
Sorts records according to an index. This makes your data much more localized and may speed up ranged SELECT and ORDER BY operations on this index. (It may be VERY slow to do a sort the first time!) To find out a table's index numbers, use SHOW INDEX, which shows a table's indexes in the same order that myisamchk sees them. Indexes are numbered beginning with 1.

16.1.2 myisamchk Memory Usage

Memory allocation is important when you run myisamchk. myisamchk uses no more memory than you specify with the -O options. If you are going to use myisamchk on very large files, you should first decide how much memory you want it to use. The default is to use only about 3M to fix things. By using larger values, you can get myisamchk to operate faster. For example, if you have more than 32M RAM, you could use options such as these (in addition to any other options you might specify):

shell> myisamchk -O sort=16M -O key=16M -O read=1M -O write=1M ...

Using -O sort=16M should probably be enough for most cases.

Be aware that myisamchk uses temporary files in TMPDIR. If TMPDIR points to a memory file system, you may easily get out of memory errors. If this happens, set TMPDIR to point at some directory with more space and restart myisamchk.

When repairing, myisamchk will also need a lot of disk space:

If you have a problem with disk space during repair, you can try to use --safe-recover instead of --recover.

16.2 Using mysqlcheck for Table Maintenance and Crash Recovery

Since MySQL version 3.23.38 you will be able to use a new checking and repairing tool for MyISAM tables. The difference to myisamchk is that mysqlcheck should be used when the mysqld server is running, where as myisamchk should be used when it is not. The benefit is that you no longer have to take the server down for checking or repairing your tables.

mysqlcheck uses MySQL server commands CHECK, REPAIR, ANALYZE and OPTIMIZE in a convenient way for the user.

There are three alternative ways to invoke mysqlcheck:

shell> mysqlcheck [OPTIONS] database [tables]
shell> mysqlcheck [OPTIONS] --databases DB1 [DB2 DB3...]
shell> mysqlcheck [OPTIONS] --all-databases

So it can be used in a similar way as mysqldump when it comes to what databases and tables you want to choose.

mysqlcheck does have a special feature compared to the other clients; the default behavior, checking tables (-c), can be changed by renaming the binary. So if you want to have a tool that repairs tables by default, you should just copy mysqlcheck to your harddrive with a new name, mysqlrepair, or alternatively make a symbolic link to mysqlrepair and name the symbolic link as mysqlrepair. If you invoke mysqlrepair now, it will repair tables by default.

The names that you can use to change mysqlcheck default behavior are here:

mysqlrepair:   The default option will be -r
mysqlanalyze:  The default option will be -a
mysqloptimize: The default option will be -o

The options available for mysqlcheck are listed here, please check what your version supports with mysqlcheck --help.

-A, --all-databases
Check all the databases. This will be same as --databases with all databases selected
-1, --all-in-1
Instead of making one query for each table, execute all queries in 1 query separately for each database. Table names will be in a comma separated list.
-a, --analyze
Analyze given tables.
--auto-repair
If a checked table is corrupted, automatically fix it. Repairing will be done after all tables have been checked, if corrupted ones were found.
-#, --debug=...
Output debug log. Often this is 'd:t:o,filename'
--character-sets-dir=...
Directory where character sets are
-c, --check
Check table for errors
-C, --check-only-changed
Check only tables that have changed since last check or haven't been closed properly.
--compress
Use compression in server/client protocol.
-?, --help
Display this help message and exit.
-B, --databases
To check several databases. Note the difference in usage; In this case no tables are given. All name arguments are regarded as database names.
--default-character-set=...
Set the default character set
-F, --fast
Check only tables that hasn't been closed properly
-f, --force
Continue even if we get an sql-error.
-e, --extended
If you are using this option with CHECK TABLE, it will ensure that the table is 100 percent consistent, but will take a long time. If you are using this option with REPAIR TABLE, it will run an extended repair on the table, which may not only take a long time to execute, but may produce a lot of garbage rows also!
-h, --host=...
Connect to host.
-m, --medium-check
Faster than extended-check, but only finds 99.99 percent of all errors. Should be good enough for most cases.
-o, --optimize
Optimize table
-p, --password[=...]
Password to use when connecting to server. If password is not given it's solicited on the tty.
-P, --port=...
Port number to use for connection.
-q, --quick
If you are using this option with CHECK TABLE, it prevents the check from scanning the rows to check for wrong links. This is the fastest check. If you are using this option with REPAIR TABLE, it will try to repair only the index tree. This is the fastest repair method for a table.
-r, --repair
Can fix almost anything except unique keys that aren't unique.
-s, --silent
Print only error messages.
-S, --socket=...
Socket file to use for connection.
--tables
Overrides option --databases (-B).
-u, --user=#
User for login if not current user.
-v, --verbose
Print info about the various stages.
-V, --version
Output version information and exit.

16.3 Setting Up a Table Maintenance Regimen

Starting with MySQL Version 3.23.13, you can check MyISAM tables with the CHECK TABLE command. See section 7.12 CHECK TABLE Syntax. You can repair tables with the REPAIR TABLE command. See section 7.16 REPAIR TABLE Syntax.

It is a good idea to perform table checks on a regular basis rather than waiting for problems to occur. For maintenance purposes, you can use myisamchk -s to check tables. The -s option (short for --silent) causes myisamchk to run in silent mode, printing messages only when errors occur.

It's also a good idea to check tables when the server starts up. For example, whenever the machine has done a reboot in the middle of an update, you usually need to check all the tables that could have been affected. (This is an ``expected crashed table''.) You could add a test to safe_mysqld that runs myisamchk to check all tables that have been modified during the last 24 hours if there is an old `.pid' (process ID) file left after a reboot. (The `.pid' file is created by mysqld when it starts up and removed when it terminates normally. The presence of a `.pid' file at system startup time indicates that mysqld terminated abnormally.)

An even better test would be to check any table whose last-modified time is more recent than that of the `.pid' file.

You should also check your tables regularly during normal system operation. At MySQL AB, we run a cron job to check all our important tables once a week, using a line like this in a `crontab' file:

35 0 * * 0 /path/to/myisamchk --fast --silent /path/to/datadir/*/*.MYI

This prints out information about crashed tables so we can examine and repair them when needed.

As we haven't had any unexpectedly crashed tables (tables that become corrupted for reasons other than hardware trouble) for a couple of years now (this is really true), once a week is more than enough for us.

We recommend that to start with, you execute myisamchk -s each night on all tables that have been updated during the last 24 hours, until you come to trust MySQL as much as we do.

Normally you don't need to maintain MySQL tables that much. If you are changing tables with dynamic size rows (tables with VARCHAR, BLOB or TEXT columns) or have tables with many deleted rows you may want to from time to time (once a month?) defragment/reclaim space from the tables.

You can do this by using OPTIMIZE TABLE on the tables in question or if you can take the mysqld server down for a while do:

isamchk -r --silent --sort-index -O sort_buffer_size=16M */*.ISM
myisamchk -r --silent --sort-index  -O sort_buffer_size=16M */*.MYI

16.4 Getting Information About a Table

To get a description of a table or statistics about it, use the commands shown below. We explain some of the information in more detail later:

myisamchk -d tbl_name
Runs myisamchk in ``describe mode'' to produce a description of your table. If you start the MySQL server using the --skip-locking option, myisamchk may report an error for a table that is updated while it runs. However, because myisamchk doesn't change the table in describe mode, there isn't any risk of destroying data.
myisamchk -d -v tbl_name
To produce more information about what myisamchk is doing, add -v to tell it to run in verbose mode.
myisamchk -eis tbl_name
Shows only the most important information from a table. It is slow because it must read the whole table.
myisamchk -eiv tbl_name
This is like -eis, but tells you what is being done.

Example of myisamchk -d output:

MyISAM file:     company.MYI
Record format:   Fixed length
Data records:    1403698  Deleted blocks:         0
Recordlength:    226

table description:
Key Start Len Index   Type
1   2     8   unique  double
2   15    10  multip. text packed stripped
3   219   8   multip. double
4   63    10  multip. text packed stripped
5   167   2   multip. unsigned short
6   177   4   multip. unsigned long
7   155   4   multip. text
8   138   4   multip. unsigned long
9   177   4   multip. unsigned long
    193   1           text

Example of myisamchk -d -v output:

MyISAM file:         company
Record format:       Fixed length
File-version:        1
Creation time:       1999-10-30 12:12:51
Recover time:        1999-10-31 19:13:01
Status:              checked
Data records:           1403698  Deleted blocks:              0
Datafile parts:         1403698  Deleted data:                0
Datafilepointer (bytes):      3  Keyfile pointer (bytes):     3
Max datafile length: 3791650815  Max keyfile length: 4294967294
Recordlength:               226

table description:
Key Start Len Index   Type                  Rec/key     Root Blocksize
1   2     8   unique  double                      1 15845376      1024
2   15    10  multip. text packed stripped        2 25062400      1024
3   219   8   multip. double                     73 40907776      1024
4   63    10  multip. text packed stripped        5 48097280      1024
5   167   2   multip. unsigned short           4840 55200768      1024
6   177   4   multip. unsigned long            1346 65145856      1024
7   155   4   multip. text                     4995 75090944      1024
8   138   4   multip. unsigned long              87 85036032      1024
9   177   4   multip. unsigned long             178 96481280      1024
    193   1           text

Example of myisamchk -eis output:

Checking MyISAM file: company
Key:  1:  Keyblocks used:  97%  Packed:    0%  Max levels:  4
Key:  2:  Keyblocks used:  98%  Packed:   50%  Max levels:  4
Key:  3:  Keyblocks used:  97%  Packed:    0%  Max levels:  4
Key:  4:  Keyblocks used:  99%  Packed:   60%  Max levels:  3
Key:  5:  Keyblocks used:  99%  Packed:    0%  Max levels:  3
Key:  6:  Keyblocks used:  99%  Packed:    0%  Max levels:  3
Key:  7:  Keyblocks used:  99%  Packed:    0%  Max levels:  3
Key:  8:  Keyblocks used:  99%  Packed:    0%  Max levels:  3
Key:  9:  Keyblocks used:  98%  Packed:    0%  Max levels:  4
Total:    Keyblocks used:  98%  Packed:   17%

Records:          1403698    M.recordlength:     226   Packed:             0%
Recordspace used:     100%   Empty space:          0%  Blocks/Record:   1.00
Record blocks:    1403698    Delete blocks:        0
Recorddata:     317235748    Deleted data:         0
Lost space:             0    Linkdata:             0

User time 1626.51, System time 232.36
Maximum resident set size 0, Integral resident set size 0
Non physical pagefaults 0, Physical pagefaults 627, Swaps 0
Blocks in 0 out 0, Messages in 0 out 0, Signals 0
Voluntary context switches 639, Involuntary context switches 28966

Example of myisamchk -eiv output:

Checking MyISAM file: company
Data records: 1403698   Deleted blocks:       0
- check file-size
- check delete-chain
block_size 1024:
index  1:
index  2:
index  3:
index  4:
index  5:
index  6:
index  7:
index  8:
index  9:
No recordlinks
- check index reference
- check data record references index: 1
Key:  1:  Keyblocks used:  97%  Packed:    0%  Max levels:  4
- check data record references index: 2
Key:  2:  Keyblocks used:  98%  Packed:   50%  Max levels:  4
- check data record references index: 3
Key:  3:  Keyblocks used:  97%  Packed:    0%  Max levels:  4
- check data record references index: 4
Key:  4:  Keyblocks used:  99%  Packed:   60%  Max levels:  3
- check data record references index: 5
Key:  5:  Keyblocks used:  99%  Packed:    0%  Max levels:  3
- check data record references index: 6
Key:  6:  Keyblocks used:  99%  Packed:    0%  Max levels:  3
- check data record references index: 7
Key:  7:  Keyblocks used:  99%  Packed:    0%  Max levels:  3
- check data record references index: 8
Key:  8:  Keyblocks used:  99%  Packed:    0%  Max levels:  3
- check data record references index: 9
Key:  9:  Keyblocks used:  98%  Packed:    0%  Max levels:  4
Total:    Keyblocks used:   9%  Packed:   17%

- check records and index references
[LOTS OF ROW NUMBERS DELETED]

Records:          1403698    M.recordlength:     226   Packed:             0%
Recordspace used:     100%   Empty space:          0%  Blocks/Record:   1.00
Record blocks:    1403698    Delete blocks:        0
Recorddata:     317235748    Deleted data:         0
Lost space:             0    Linkdata:             0

User time 1639.63, System time 251.61
Maximum resident set size 0, Integral resident set size 0
Non physical pagefaults 0, Physical pagefaults 10580, Swaps 0
Blocks in 4 out 0, Messages in 0 out 0, Signals 0
Voluntary context switches 10604, Involuntary context switches 122798

Here are the sizes of the data and index files for the table used in the preceding examples:

-rw-rw-r--   1 monty    tcx     317235748 Jan 12 17:30 company.MYD
-rw-rw-r--   1 davida   tcx      96482304 Jan 12 18:35 company.MYM

Explanations for the types of information myisamchk produces are given below. The ``keyfile'' is the index file. ``Record'' and ``row'' are synonymous:

ISAM file
Name of the ISAM (index) file.
Isam-version
Version of ISAM format. Currently always 2.
Creation time
When the data file was created.
Recover time
When the index/data file was last reconstructed.
Data records
How many records are in the table.
Deleted blocks
How many deleted blocks still have reserved space. You can optimize your table to minimize this space. See section 16.5.3 Table Optimization.
Datafile: Parts
For dynamic record format, this indicates how many data blocks there are. For an optimized table without fragmented records, this is the same as Data records.
Deleted data
How many bytes of non-reclaimed deleted data there are. You can optimize your table to minimize this space. See section 16.5.3 Table Optimization.
Datafile pointer
The size of the data file pointer, in bytes. It is usually 2, 3, 4, or 5 bytes. Most tables manage with 2 bytes, but this cannot be controlled from MySQL yet. For fixed tables, this is a record address. For dynamic tables, this is a byte address.
Keyfile pointer
The size of the index file pointer, in bytes. It is usually 1, 2, or 3 bytes. Most tables manage with 2 bytes, but this is calculated automatically by MySQL. It is always a block address.
Max datafile length
How long the table's data file (.MYD file) can become, in bytes.
Max keyfile length
How long the table's key file (.MYI file) can become, in bytes.
Recordlength
How much space each record takes, in bytes.
Record format
The format used to store table rows. The examples shown above use Fixed length. Other possible values are Compressed and Packed.
table description
A list of all keys in the table. For each key, some low-level information is presented:
Key
This key's number.
Start
Where in the record this index part starts.
Len
How long this index part is. For packed numbers, this should always be the full length of the column. For strings, it may be shorter than the full length of the indexed column, because you can index a prefix of a string column.
Index
unique or multip. (multiple). Indicates whether or not one value can exist multiple times in this index.
Type
What data-type this index part has. This is an ISAM data-type with the options packed, stripped or empty.
Root
Address of the root index block.
Blocksize
The size of each index block. By default this is 1024, but the value may be changed at compile time.
Rec/key
This is a statistical value used by the optimizer. It tells how many records there are per value for this key. A unique key always has a value of 1. This may be updated after a table is loaded (or greatly changed) with myisamchk -a. If this is not updated at all, a default value of 30 is given.
In the first example above, the 9th key is a multi-part key with two parts.
Keyblocks used
What percentage of the keyblocks are used. Because the table used in the examples had just been reorganized with myisamchk, the values are very high (very near the theoretical maximum).
Packed
MySQL tries to pack keys with a common suffix. This can only be used for CHAR/VARCHAR/DECIMAL keys. For long strings like names, this can significantly reduce the space used. In the third example above, the 4th key is 10 characters long and a 60% reduction in space is achieved.
Max levels
How deep the B-tree for this key is. Large tables with long keys get high values.
Records
How many rows are in the table.
M.recordlength
The average record length. For tables with fixed-length records, this is the exact record length.
Packed
MySQL strips spaces from the end of strings. The Packed value indicates the percentage of savings achieved by doing this.
Recordspace used
What percentage of the data file is used.
Empty space
What percentage of the data file is unused.
Blocks/Record
Average number of blocks per record (that is, how many links a fragmented record is composed of). This is always 1 for fixed-format tables. This value should stay as close to 1.0 as possible. If it gets too big, you can reorganize the table with myisamchk. See section 16.5.3 Table Optimization.
Recordblocks
How many blocks (links) are used. For fixed format, this is the same as the number of records.
Deleteblocks
How many blocks (links) are deleted.
Recorddata
How many bytes in the data file are used.
Deleted data
How many bytes in the data file are deleted (unused).
Lost space
If a record is updated to a shorter length, some space is lost. This is the sum of all such losses, in bytes.
Linkdata
When the dynamic table format is used, record fragments are linked with pointers (4 to 7 bytes each). Linkdata is the sum of the amount of storage used by all such pointers.

If a table has been compressed with myisampack, myisamchk -d prints additional information about each table column. See section 15.12 The MySQL Compressed Read-only Table Generator, for an example of this information and a description of what it means.

16.5 Using myisamchk for Crash Recovery

If you run mysqld with --skip-locking (which is the default on some systems, like Linux), you can't reliably use myisamchk to check a table when mysqld is using the same table. If you can be sure that no one is accessing the tables through mysqld while you run myisamchk, you only have to do mysqladmin flush-tables before you start checking the tables. If you can't guarantee the above, then you must take down mysqld while you check the tables. If you run myisamchk while mysqld is updating the tables, you may get a warning that a table is corrupt even if it isn't.

If you are not using --skip-locking, you can use myisamchk to check tables at any time. While you do this, all clients that try to update the table will wait until myisamchk is ready before continuing.

If you use myisamchk to repair or optimize tables, you MUST always ensure that the mysqld server is not using the table (this also applies if you are using --skip-locking). If you don't take down mysqld you should at least do a mysqladmin flush-tables before you run myisamchk.

This chapter describes how to check for and deal with data corruption in MySQL databases. If your tables get corrupted a lot you should try to find the reason for this! See section 21.2 What to Do if MySQL Keeps Crashing.

The MyISAM table section contains reason for why a table could be corrupted. See section 8.1.3 MyISAM table problems..

When performing crash recovery, it is important to understand that each table tbl_name in a database corresponds to three files in the database directory:

File Purpose
`tbl_name.frm' Table definition (form) file
`tbl_name.MYD' Data file
`tbl_name.MYI' Index file

Each of these three file types is subject to corruption in various ways, but problems occur most often in data files and index files.

myisamchk works by creating a copy of the `.MYD' (data) file row by row. It ends the repair stage by removing the old `.MYD' file and renaming the new file to the original file name. If you use --quick, myisamchk does not create a temporary `.MYD' file, but instead assumes that the `.MYD' file is correct and only generates a new index file without touching the `.MYD' file. This is safe, because myisamchk automatically detects if the `.MYD' file is corrupt and aborts the repair in this case. You can also give two --quick options to myisamchk. In this case, myisamchk does not abort on some errors (like duplicate key) but instead tries to resolve them by modifying the `.MYD' file. Normally the use of two --quick options is useful only if you have too little free disk space to perform a normal repair. In this case you should at least make a backup before running myisamchk.

16.5.1 How to Check Tables for Errors

To check a MyISAM table, use the following commands:

myisamchk tbl_name
This finds 99.99% of all errors. What it can't find is corruption that involves ONLY the data file (which is very unusual). If you want to check a table, you should normally run myisamchk without options or with either the -s or --silent option.
myisamchk -m tbl_name
This finds 99.999% of all errors. It checks first all index entries for errors and then it reads through all rows. It calculates a checksum for all keys in the rows and verifies that they checksum matches the checksum for the keys in the index tree.
myisamchk -e tbl_name
This does a complete and thorough check of all data (-e means ``extended check''). It does a check-read of every key for each row to verify that they indeed point to the correct row. This may take a LONG time on a big table with many keys. myisamchk will normally stop after the first error it finds. If you want to obtain more information, you can add the --verbose (-v) option. This causes myisamchk to keep going, up through a maximum of 20 errors. In normal usage, a simple myisamchk (with no arguments other than the table name) is sufficient.
myisamchk -e -i tbl_name
Like the previous command, but the -i option tells myisamchk to print some informational statistics, too.

16.5.2 How to Repair Tables

In the following section we only talk about using myisamchk on MyISAM tables (extensions .MYI and .MYD). If you are using ISAM tables (extensions .ISM and .ISD), you should use isamchk instead.

Starting with MySQL Version 3.23.14, you can repair MyISAM tables with the REPAIR TABLE command. See section 7.16 REPAIR TABLE Syntax.

The symptoms of a corrupted table include queries that abort unexpectedly and observable errors such as these:

In the other cases, you must repair your tables. myisamchk can usually detect and fix most things that go wrong.

The repair process involves up to four stages, described below. Before you begin, you should cd to the database directory and check the permissions of the table files. Make sure they are readable by the Unix user that mysqld runs as (and to you, because you need to access the files you are checking). If it turns out you need to modify files, they must also be writable by you.

If you are using MySQL Version 3.23.16 and above, you can (and should) use the CHECK and REPAIR commands to check and repair MyISAM tables. See section 7.12 CHECK TABLE Syntax. See section 7.16 REPAIR TABLE Syntax.

The manual section about table maintenance includes the options to isamchk/myisamchk. See section 16.1 Using myisamchk for Table Maintenance and Crash Recovery.

The following section is for the cases where the above command fails or if you want to use the extended features that isamchk/myisamchk provides.

If you are going to repair a table from the command line, you must first take down the mysqld server. Note that when you do mysqladmin shutdown on a remote server, the mysqld server will still be alive for a while after mysqladmin returns, until all queries are stopped and all keys have been flushed to disk.

Stage 1: Checking your tables

Run myisamchk *.MYI or myisamchk -e *.MYI if you have more time. Use the -s (silent) option to suppress unnecessary information.

If the mysqld server is done you should use the --update option to tell myisamchk to mark the table as 'checked'.

You have to repair only those tables for which myisamchk announces an error. For such tables, proceed to Stage 2.

If you get weird errors when checking (such as out of memory errors), or if myisamchk crashes, go to Stage 3.

Stage 2: Easy safe repair

NOTE: If you want repairing to go much faster, you should add: -O sort_buffer=# -O key_buffer=# (where # is about 1/4 of the available memory) to all isamchk/myisamchk commands.

First, try myisamchk -r -q tbl_name (-r -q means ``quick recovery mode''). This will attempt to repair the index file without touching the data file. If the data file contains everything that it should and the delete links point at the correct locations within the data file, this should work, and the table is fixed. Start repairing the next table. Otherwise, use the following procedure:

  1. Make a backup of the data file before continuing.
  2. Use myisamchk -r tbl_name (-r means ``recovery mode''). This will remove incorrect records and deleted records from the data file and reconstruct the index file.
  3. If the preceding step fails, use myisamchk --safe-recover tbl_name. Safe recovery mode uses an old recovery method that handles a few cases that regular recovery mode doesn't (but is slower).

If you get weird errors when repairing (such as out of memory errors), or if myisamchk crashes, go to Stage 3.

Stage 3: Difficult repair

You should only reach this stage if the first 16K block in the index file is destroyed or contains incorrect information, or if the index file is missing. In this case, it's necessary to create a new index file. Do so as follows:

  1. Move the data file to some safe place.
  2. Use the table description file to create new (empty) data and index files:
    shell> mysql db_name
    mysql> SET AUTOCOMMIT=1;
    mysql> TRUNCATE TABLE table_name;
    mysql> quit
    
    If your SQL version doesn't have TRUNCATE TABLE, use DELETE FROM table_name instead.
  3. Copy the old data file back onto the newly created data file. (Don't just move the old file back onto the new file; you want to retain a copy in case something goes wrong.)

Go back to Stage 2. myisamchk -r -q should work now. (This shouldn't be an endless loop.)

Stage 4: Very difficult repair

You should reach this stage only if the description file has also crashed. That should never happen, because the description file isn't changed after the table is created:

  1. Restore the description file from a backup and go back to Stage 3. You can also restore the index file and go back to Stage 2. In the latter case, you should start with myisamchk -r.
  2. If you don't have a backup but know exactly how the table was created, create a copy of the table in another database. Remove the new data file, then move the description and index files from the other database to your crashed database. This gives you new description and index files, but leaves the data file alone. Go back to Stage 2 and attempt to reconstruct the index file.

16.5.3 Table Optimization

To coalesce fragmented records and eliminate wasted space resulting from deleting or updating records, run myisamchk in recovery mode:

shell> myisamchk -r tbl_name

You can optimize a table in the same way using the SQL OPTIMIZE TABLE statement. OPTIMIZE TABLE does a repair of the table, a key analyzes and also sorts the index tree to give faster key lookups. There is also no possibility of unwanted interaction between a utility and the server, because the server does all the work when you use OPTIMIZE TABLE. See section 7.11 OPTIMIZE TABLE Syntax.

myisamchk also has a number of other options you can use to improve the performance of a table:

-S, --sort-index
-R index_num, --sort-records=index_num
-a, --analyze

For a full description of the option. See section 16.1.1 myisamchk Invocation Syntax.

16.6 Log file Maintenance

MySQL has a lot of log files which make it easy to see what is going. See section 23 The MySQL log files. One must however from time to time clean up after MysQL to ensure that the logs don't take up too much disk space.

When using MySQL with log files, you will, from time to time, want to remove/backup old log files and tell MySQL to start logging on new files. See section 22.2 Database Backups.

On a Linux (Redhat) installation, you can use the mysql-log-rotate script for this. If you installed MySQL from an RPM distribution, the script should have been installed automatically. Note that you should be careful with this if you are using the log for replication!

On other systems you must install a short script yourself that you start from cron to handle log files.

You can force MySQL to start using new log files by using mysqladmin flush-logs or by using the SQL command FLUSH LOGS. If you are using MySQL Version 3.21 you must use mysqladmin refresh.

The above command does the following:

If you are using only an update log, you only have to flush the logs and then move away the old update log files to a backup. If you are using the normal logging, you can do something like:

shell> cd mysql-data-directory
shell> mv mysql.log mysql.old
shell> mysqladmin flush-logs

and then take a backup and remove `mysql.old'.


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