14.2.9.4 Adaptive Hash Indexes

If a table fits almost entirely in main memory, the fastest way to perform queries on it is to use hash indexes. InnoDB has a mechanism that monitors index searches made to the indexes defined for a table. If InnoDB notices that queries could benefit from building a hash index, it does so automatically.

The hash index is always built based on an existing B-tree index on the table. InnoDB can build a hash index on a prefix of any length of the key defined for the B-tree, depending on the pattern of searches that InnoDB observes for the B-tree index. A hash index can be partial: It is not required that the whole B-tree index is cached in the buffer pool. InnoDB builds hash indexes on demand for those pages of the index that are often accessed.

In a sense, InnoDB tailors itself through the adaptive hash index mechanism to ample main memory, coming closer to the architecture of main-memory databases.