14.13.4 Configuring InnoDB Change Buffering

When INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE operations are performed on a table, often the values of indexed columns (particularly the values of secondary keys) are not in sorted order, requiring substantial I/O to bring secondary indexes up to date. InnoDB has an insert buffer that caches changes to secondary index entries when the relevant page is not in the buffer pool, thus avoiding I/O operations by not reading in the page from the disk. The buffered changes are merged when the page is loaded to the buffer pool, and the updated page is later flushed to disk using the normal mechanism. The InnoDB main thread merges buffered changes when the server is nearly idle, and during a slow shutdown.

Because it can result in fewer disk reads and writes, this feature is most valuable for workloads that are I/O-bound, for example applications with a high volume of DML operations such as bulk inserts.

However, the insert buffer occupies a part of the buffer pool, reducing the memory available to cache data pages. If the working set almost fits in the buffer pool, or if your tables have relatively few secondary indexes, it may be useful to disable insert buffering. If the working set entirely fits in the buffer pool, insert buffering does not impose any extra overhead, because it only applies to pages that are not in the buffer pool.

You can control the extent to which InnoDB performs insert buffering with the system configuration parameter innodb_change_buffering. You can turn on and off buffering for inserts, delete operations (when index records are initially marked for deletion) and purge operations (when index records are physically deleted). An update operation is represented as a combination of an insert and a delete. In MySQL 5.5 and higher, the default value is changed from inserts to all.

The allowed values of innodb_change_buffering are:

You can set the value of this parameter in the MySQL option file (my.cnf or my.ini) or change it dynamically with the SET GLOBAL command, which requires the SUPER privilege. Changing the setting affects the buffering of new operations; the merging of already buffered entries is not affected.

For more information about speeding up INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE statements, see Section 8.2.2, “Optimizing DML Statements”.