Prior to MySQL 4.1, access to the key cache is serialized: No two threads can access key cache buffers simultaneously. The server processes a request for an index block only after it has finished processing the previous request. As a result, a request for an index block not present in any key cache buffer blocks access by other threads while a buffer is being updated to contain the requested index block.
Starting from version 4.1.0, the server supports shared access to the key cache:
Shared access to the key cache allows the server to improve throughput significantly.
22.214.171.124 Multiple Key Caches
Shared access to the key cache improves performance but does not eliminate contention among threads entirely. They still compete for control structures that manage access to the key cache buffers. To reduce key cache access contention further, MySQL 4.1.1 offers the feature of multiple key caches. This allows you to assign different table indexes to different key caches.
When there can be multiple key caches, the server must know which cache to use when processing queries for a given MyISAM table. By default, all MyISAM table indexes are cached in the default key cache. To assign table indexes to a specific key cache, use the CACHE INDEX statement.
For example, the following statement assigns indexes from the tables t1, t2, and t3 to the key cache named hot_cache:
mysql> CACHE INDEX t1, t2, t3 IN hot_cache; +---------+--------------------+----------+----------+ | Table | Op | Msg_type | Msg_text | +---------+--------------------+----------+----------+ | test.t1 | assign_to_keycache | status | OK | | test.t2 | assign_to_keycache | status | OK | | test.t3 | assign_to_keycache | status | OK | +---------+--------------------+----------+----------+
Note: If the server has been built with the ISAM storage engine enabled, ISAM tables use the key cache mechanism. However, ISAM indexes use only the default key cache and cannot be reassigned to a different cache.
The key cache referred to in a CACHE INDEX statement can be created by setting its size with a SET GLOBAL parameter setting statement or by using server startup options. For example:
mysql> SET GLOBAL keycache1.key_buffer_size=128*1024;
To destroy a key cache, set its size to zero:
mysql> SET GLOBAL keycache1.key_buffer_size=0;
Key cache variables are structured system variables that have a name and components. For keycache1.key_buffer_size, keycache1 is the cache variable name and key_buffer_size is the cache component.
By default, table indexes are assigned to the main (default) key cache created at the server startup. When a key cache is destroyed, all indexes assigned to it are reassigned to the default key cache.
For a busy server, we recommend a strategy that uses three key caches:
One reason the use of three key caches is beneficial is that access to one key cache structure does not block access to the others. Queries that access tables assigned to one cache do not compete with queries that access tables assigned to another cache. Performance gains occur for other reasons as well:
126.96.36.199 Midpoint Insertion Strategy
By default, the key cache management system of MySQL 4.1 uses the LRU strategy for choosing key cache blocks to be evicted, but it also supports a more sophisticated method called the "midpoint insertion strategy."
When using the midpoint insertion strategy, the LRU chain is divided into two parts: a hot sub-chain and a warm sub-chain. The division point between two parts is not fixed, but the key cache management system takes care that the warm part is not "too short," always containing at least key_cache_division_limit percent of the key cache blocks. key_cache_ division_limit is a component of structured key cache variables, so its value is a parameter that can be set per cache.
When an index block is read from a table into the key cache, it is placed at the end of the warm sub-chain. After a certain number of hits (accesses of the block), it is promoted to the hot sub-chain. At present, the number of hits required to promote a block (3) is the same for all index blocks. In the future, we will allow the hit count to depend on the B-tree level of the node corresponding to an index block: Fewer hits will be required for promotion of an index block if it contains a non-leaf node from the upper levels of the index B-tree than if it contains a leaf node.
A block promoted into the hot sub-chain is placed at the end of the chain. The block then circulates within this sub-chain. If the block stays at the beginning of the sub-chain for a long enough time, it is demoted to the warm chain. This time is determined by the value of the key_cache_age_threshold component of the key cache.
The threshold value prescribes that, for a key cache containing N blocks, the block at the beginning of the hot sub-chain not accessed within the last N*key_cache_age_threshold/100 hits is to be moved to the beginning of the warm sub-chain. It then becomes the first candidate for eviction, because blocks for replacement always are taken from the beginning of the warm sub-chain.
The midpoint insertion strategy allows you to keep more-valued blocks always in the cache. If you prefer to use the plain LRU strategy, leave the key_cache_division_limit value set to its default of 100.
The midpoint insertion strategy helps to improve performance when execution of a query that requires an index scan effectively pushes out of the cache all the index blocks corresponding to valuable high-level B-tree nodes. To avoid this, you must use a midpoint insertion strategy with the key_cache_division_limit set to much less than 100. Then valuable frequently hit nodes will be preserved in the hot sub-chain during an index scan operation as well.
188.8.131.52 Index Preloading
If there are enough blocks in a key cache to hold blocks of an entire index, or at least the blocks corresponding to its non-leaf nodes, then it makes sense to preload the key cache with index blocks before starting to use it. Preloading allows you to put the table index blocks into a key cache buffer in the most efficient way: by reading the index blocks from disk sequentially.
Without preloading, the blocks still will be placed into the key cache as needed by queries. Although the blocks will stay in the cache, because there are enough buffers for all of them, they will be fetched from disk in a random order, not sequentially.
To preload an index into a cache, use the LOAD INDEX INTO CACHE statement. For example, the following statement preloads nodes (index blocks) of indexes of the tables t1 and t2:
mysql> LOAD INDEX INTO CACHE t1, t2 IGNORE LEAVES; +---------+--------------+----------+----------+ | Table | Op | Msg_type | Msg_text | +---------+--------------+----------+----------+ | test.t1 | preload_keys | status | OK | | test.t2 | preload_keys | status | OK | +---------+--------------+----------+----------+
The IGNORE LEAVES modifier causes only blocks for the non-leaf nodes of the index to be preloaded. Thus, the statement shown preloads all index blocks from t1, but only blocks for the non-leaf nodes from t2.
If an index has been assigned to a key cache using a CACHE INDEX statement, preloading places index blocks into that cache. Otherwise, the index is loaded into the default key cache.
184.108.40.206 Key Cache Block Size
MySQL 4.1 introduces a new key_cache_block_size variable on a per-key cache basis. This variable specifies the size of the block buffers for a key cache. It is intended to allow tuning of the performance of I/O operations for index files.
The best performance for I/O operations is achieved when the size of read buffers is equal to the size of the native operating system I/O buffers. But setting the size of key nodes equal to the size of the I/O buffer does not always ensure the best overall performance. When reading the big leaf nodes, the server pulls in a lot of unnecessary data, effectively preventing reading other leaf nodes.
Currently, you cannot control the size of the index blocks in a table. This size is set by the server when the .MYI index file is created, depending on the size of the keys in the indexes present in the table definition. In most cases, it is set equal to the I/O buffer size. In the future, this will be changed and then key_cache_block_size variable will be fully employed.
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