If you need to administer MySQL, this article gets you off to a good start. The first of a multi-part series, it is excerpted from chapter four of the book MySQL Administrator's Guide, written by Paul Dubois (Sams; ISBN: 0672326345).
This chapter covers topics that deal with administering a MySQL installation, such as configuring the server, managing user accounts, and performing backups.
4.1 The MySQL Server and Server Startup Scripts
The MySQL server, mysqld, is the main program that does most of the work in a MySQL installation. The server is accompanied by several related scripts that perform setup operations when you install MySQL or that are helper programs to assist you in starting and stopping the server.
This section provides an overview of the server and related programs, and information about server startup scripts. Information about configuring the server itself is given in Section 4.2, "Configuring the MySQL Server."
4.1.1 Overview of the Server-Side Scripts and Utilities
All MySQL programs take many different options. However, every MySQL program provides a --help option that you can use to get a description of the program's options. For example, try mysqld --help.
You can override default options for all standard programs by specifying options on the command line or in an option file. See Section 3.3, "Specifying Program Options."
The following list briefly describes the MySQL server and server-related programs:
The SQL daemon (that is, the MySQL server). To use client programs, this program must be running, because clients gain access to databases by connecting to the server. See Section 4.2, "Configuring the MySQL Server."
A version of the server that includes additional features. See Section 4.1.2, "The mysqld-max Extended MySQL Server."
A server startup script. mysqld_safe attempts to start mysqld-max if it exists, and mysqld otherwise. See Section 4.1.3, "The mysqld_safe Server Startup Script."
A server startup script. This script is used on systems that use run directories containing scripts that start system services for particular run levels. It invokes mysqld_safe to start the MySQL server. See Section 4.1.4, "The mysql.server Server Startup Script."
A server startup script that can start or stop multiple servers installed on the system. See Section 4.1.5, "The mysqld_multi Program for Managing Multiple MySQL Servers."
This script creates the MySQL grant tables with default privileges. It is usually executed only once, when first installing MySQL on a system.
This script is used after an upgrade install operation, to update the grant tables with any changes that have been made in newer versions of MySQL.
There are several other programs that also are run on the server host:
A utility to describe, check, optimize, and repair MyISAM tables. myisamchk is described in Section 4.6.2, "Table Maintenance and Crash Recovery."
This program makes a binary release of a compiled MySQL. This could be sent by FTP to /pub/mysql/upload on ftp.mysql.com for the convenience of other MySQL users.
The MySQL bug reporting script. It can be used to send a bug report to the MySQL mailing list. (You can also visit http://bugs.mysql.com/ to file a bug report online.)