5.3 Running Multiple MySQL Instances on One Machine

5.3.1 Setting Up Multiple Data Directories
5.3.2 Running Multiple MySQL Instances on Windows
5.3.3 Running Multiple MySQL Instances on Unix
5.3.4 Using Client Programs in a Multiple-Server Environment

In some cases, you might want to run multiple instances of MySQL on a single machine. You might want to test a new MySQL release while leaving an existing production setup undisturbed. Or you might want to give different users access to different mysqld servers that they manage themselves. (For example, you might be an Internet Service Provider that wants to provide independent MySQL installations for different customers.)

It is possible to use a different MySQL server binary per instance, or use the same binary for multiple instances, or any combination of the two approaches. For example, you might run a server from MySQL 5.0 and one from MySQL 5.1, to see how different versions handle a given workload. Or you might run multiple instances of the current production version, each managing a different set of databases.

Whether or not you use distinct server binaries, each instance that you run must be configured with unique values for several operating parameters. This eliminates the potential for conflict between instances. Parameters can be set on the command line, in option files, or by setting environment variables. See Section 4.2.3, “Specifying Program Options”. To see the values used by a given instance, connect to it and execute a SHOW VARIABLES statement.

The primary resource managed by a MySQL instance is the data directory. Each instance should use a different data directory, the location of which is specified using the --datadir=path option. For methods of configuring each instance with its own data directory, and warnings about the dangers of failing to do so, see Section 5.3.1, “Setting Up Multiple Data Directories”.

In addition to using different data directories, several other options must have different values for each server instance:

If you use the following log file options, their values must differ for each server:

For further discussion of log file options, see Section 5.2, “MySQL Server Logs”.

To achieve better performance, you can specify the following option differently for each server, to spread the load between several physical disks:

Having different temporary directories also makes it easier to determine which MySQL server created any given temporary file.

If you have multiple MySQL installations in different locations, you can specify the base directory for each installation with the --basedir=path option. This causes each instance to automatically use a different data directory, log files, and PID file because the default for each of those parameters is relative to the base directory. In that case, the only other options you need to specify are the --socket and --port options. Suppose that you install different versions of MySQL using tar file binary distributions. These install in different locations, so you can start the server for each installation using the command bin/mysqld_safe under its corresponding base directory. mysqld_safe determines the proper --basedir option to pass to mysqld, and you need specify only the --socket and --port options to mysqld_safe.

As discussed in the following sections, it is possible to start additional servers by specifying appropriate command options or by setting environment variables. However, if you need to run multiple servers on a more permanent basis, it is more convenient to use option files to specify for each server those option values that must be unique to it. The --defaults-file option is useful for this purpose.