14.8.2 InnoDB File-Per-Table Mode

By default, all InnoDB tables and indexes are stored in the system tablespace. As an alternative, you can store each InnoDB table and its indexes in its own file. This feature is called file-per-table mode because each table that is created when this setting is in effect has its own .ibd file. Each such .ibd file represents a separate tablespace. This mode is controlled by the innodb_file_per_table configuration option.

Advantages of File-Per-Table Mode

Potential Disadvantages of File-Per-Table Mode

Enabling and Disabling Multiple Tablespaces

To enable multiple tablespaces, start the server with the --innodb_file_per_table option. For example, add a line to the [mysqld] section of my.cnf:


With multiple tablespaces enabled, InnoDB stores each newly created table in its own tbl_name.ibd file in the appropriate database directory. Unlike the MyISAM storage engine, with its separate tbl_name.MYD and tbl_name.MYI files for indexes and data, InnoDB stores the data and the indexes together in a single .ibd file. The tbl_name.frm file is still created as usual.

If you remove the innodb_file_per_table line from my.cnf and restart the server, InnoDB creates any new tables inside the shared tablespace files.

You can always access both tables in the system tablespace and tables in their own tablespaces, regardless of the file-per-table setting. To move a table from the system tablespace to its own tablespace, or vice versa, you can change the innodb_file_per_table setting and issue the command:

-- Move table from system tablespace to its own tablespace.
SET GLOBAL innodb_file_per_table=1;
-- Move table from its own tablespace to system tablespace.
SET GLOBAL innodb_file_per_table=0;

InnoDB always needs the shared tablespace because it puts its internal data dictionary and undo logs there. The .ibd files are not sufficient for InnoDB to operate.

When a table is moved out of the system tablespace into its own .ibd file, the data files that make up the system tablespace remain the same size. The space formerly occupied by the table can be reused for new InnoDB data, but is not reclaimed for use by the operating system. When moving large InnoDB tables out of the system tablespace, where disk space is limited, you might prefer to turn on innodb_file_per_table and then recreate the entire instance using the mysqldump command.

Portability Considerations for .ibd Files

You cannot freely move .ibd files between database directories as you can with MyISAM table files. The table definition stored in the InnoDB shared tablespace includes the database name. The transaction IDs and log sequence numbers stored in the tablespace files also differ between databases.

To move an .ibd file and the associated table from one database to another, use a RENAME TABLE statement:

RENAME TABLE db1.tbl_name TO db2.tbl_name;

If you have a clean backup of an .ibd file, you can restore it to the MySQL installation from which it originated as follows:

  1. The table must not have been dropped or truncated since you copied the .ibd file, because doing so changes the table ID stored inside the tablespace.

  2. Issue this ALTER TABLE statement to delete the current .ibd file:

  3. Copy the backup .ibd file to the proper database directory.

  4. Issue this ALTER TABLE statement to tell InnoDB to use the new .ibd file for the table:


In this context, a clean .ibd file backup is one for which the following requirements are satisfied:

You can make a clean backup .ibd file using the following method:

  1. Stop all activity from the mysqld server and commit all transactions.

  2. Wait until SHOW ENGINE INNODB STATUS shows that there are no active transactions in the database, and the main thread status of InnoDB is Waiting for server activity. Then you can make a copy of the .ibd file.

Another method for making a clean copy of an .ibd file is to use the MySQL Enterprise Backup product:

  1. Use MySQL Enterprise Backup to back up the InnoDB installation.

  2. Start a second mysqld server on the backup and let it clean up the .ibd files in the backup.