MySQL Replication Notes

The MySQL Replication was my first project as a Database Administrator (DBA) and I have been working with Replication technologies for last few years and I am indebted to contribute my little part for development of this technology. MySQL supports different replication topologies, having better understanding of basic concepts will help you in building and managing various and complex topologies.
I am writing here, some of the key points to taken care when you are building MySQL replication. I consider this post as a starting point for building a high performance and consistent MySQL servers.  Let me start with below key points
MySQL Server Version
MySQL Server Configuration
Primary Key
Storage Engine
I will update this post with relevant points, whenever I get time. I am trying to provide generic concepts and it will be applicable to all version of MySQL, however, some of the concepts are new and applicable to latest versions (>5.0).

Resourcing of the slave must be on par (or better than) for any Master to keep up with the Master. The slave resource includes the following things:

Disk IO
Computation (vCPU)
InnoDB Buffer Pool (RAM)
MySQL 5.7 supports Multi Threaded Replication, but are limited to one thread per database. In case of heavy writes (multiple threads) on Master databases, there is a chance that, Slave will be lag behind the Master, since only one thread is applying BINLOG to the Slave per database and its writes are all serialised.

MySQL Version:

It is highly recommended to have Master and Slave servers should run on same version. Different version of MySQL on slave can affect the SQL execution timings.
For example, MySQL 8.0 is comparatively much faster than 5.5. Also, it is worth to consider the features addition, deletion and modifications.

MySQL Server Configuration:

The MySQL server configuration should be identical, we may have identical hardware resources and same MySQL version, but if MySQL is not configured to utilize the available resources in similar method, there will be changes in execution plan.
For example, InnoDB buffer pool size should be configured on MySQL server to utilize the memory. Even if we have a identical hardwares, buffer pool must be configured at the MySQL instance.

Primary Key:

The primary key plays an important role in Row-Based-Replication (when binlog_format is either ROW or MIXED). Most often, slave lagging behind master while applying RBR event is due to the lack of primary key on the table involved.
When no primary key is defined, for each affected row on master, the entire row image has to be compared on a row-by-row basis against the matching table’s data on the slave.
This can be explained by how a transaction is performed on master and slave based on the availability of primary key:

With Primary Key
Without Primary Key
On Master
Uniquely identifies the row
Make use of any available key or performs a full table scan
On Slave
Uniquely identifies each rows & changes can be quickly applied to appropriate row images on the slave.
Entire row image is compared on a row-by-row basis against the matching table’s data on slave.
Row-by-row scan can be very expensive and time consuming and cause slave to lag behind master.
When there is no primary key defined on a table, InnoDB internally generates a hidden clustered index named GEN_CLUST_INDEX containing row ID values. MySQL replication cannot use this hidden primary key for sort operations, because this hidden row IDs are unique to each MySQL instance and are not consistent between a master and a slave.
The best solution is to ensure all tables have a primary key. When there is no unique not null key available on table, at least create an auto-incrementing integer column (surrogate key) as primary key.
If immediately, it is not possible to create a primary key on all such tables, there is a workaround to overcome this for short period of time by changing slave rows search algorithm. This is not the scope of this post, I will write future post on this topic.

Mixing of Storage Engines:

MySQL Replication supports different storage engines on master and slave servers. But, there are few important configuration to be taken care when mixing of storage engines.
It should be noted that, InnoDB is a transactional storage engine and MyISAM is a non-transactional.
On Rollback: If binlog_format is STATEMENT and when a transaction updates, InnoDB and MyISAM tables and then performs ROLLBACK, only InnoDB tables data is removed and when this statement is written to binlog it will be send to slave, on slave where both the tables are MyISAM will not perform the ROLLBACK, since it does not supports transaction. It will leave the table inconsistent with master.
Auto-Increment column: This should be noted that, the way auto-increment is implemented on MyISAM and InnoDB different, MyISAM will lock a entire table to generate auto-increment and the auto-increment is part of a composite key, insert operation on MyISAM table marked as unsafe. Refer this page for better understanding
Referential Integrity Constraints: InnoDB supports foreign keys and MyISAM does not. Cascading updates and deletes operations on InnoDB tables on master will replicate to slave, only if the tables are InnoDB on both master and slave. This is true for both STATEMENT and ROW based replications. Refer this page for explanation:
Locking: InnoDB performs row-level locking and MyISAM performs table-level locking and all transaction on the slave are executed in a serialized manner, this will negatively impact the slave performance and end up in slave lagging behind the master.
Logging: MyISAM is a non-transactional storage engine and transactions are logged into binary log by client thread, immediately after execution, but before the locks are released.
If the query is part of the transaction and if there is a InnoDB table involved on same transaction and it is executed before the MyISAM query, then it will not written to binlog immediately after execution, it will wait for either commit or rollback. This is done to ensure, order of execution is same in slave as in the master.
Transaction on InnoDB tables will be written to the binary log, only when the transaction is committed.
It is highly advisable to use transactional storage engine on MySQL Replication. Mixing of storage engine may leads to inconsistency and performance issues between master and slave server. Though MySQL does not produce any warnings, it should be noted and taken care from our end.
Also, the introduction of MySQL 8.0 (from 5.6) with default storage engine as InnoDB and deprecating older ISAM feature indicates the future of MySQL database, it is going to be completely transactional and it is recommended to have InnoDB storage engine.
There is a discussion online, about the removal of other storage engines and development on InnoDB engine by Oracle, though it is not scope of this article, as a Database Administrator, I prefer having different storage engine for different use cases and it has been unique feature of MySQL.

I hope this post is useful, please share your thoughts / feedbacks on comment section.


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