14.5.5 Creating a File-Per-Table Tablespace Outside the Data Directory

To create a new InnoDB file-per-table tablespace in a specific location outside the MySQL data directory, use the DATA DIRECTORY = absolute_path_to_directory clause of the CREATE TABLE statement.

Plan the location in advance, because you cannot use the DATA DIRECTORY clause with the ALTER TABLE statement. The directory you specify could be on another storage device with particular performance or capacity characteristics, such as a fast SSD or a high-capacity HDD.

Within the destination directory, MySQL creates a subdirectory corresponding to the database name, and within that a .ibd file for the new table. In the database directory beneath the MySQL DATADIR directory, MySQL creates a table_name.isl file containing the path name for the table. The .isl file is treated by MySQL like a symbolic link. (Using actual symbolic links has never been supported for InnoDB tables.)

The following example demonstrates creating a file-per-table tablespace outside the MySQL data directory. It shows the .ibd created in the specified directory, and the .isl created in the database directory beneath the MySQL data directory.

mysql> USE test;
Database changed

mysql> SHOW VARIABLES LIKE 'innodb_file_per_table';
| Variable_name         | Value |
| innodb_file_per_table | ON    |
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> CREATE TABLE t1 (c1 INT PRIMARY KEY) DATA DIRECTORY = '/alternative/directory';
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.03 sec)

# MySQL creates a .ibd file for the new table in a subdirectory that corresponding  
# to the database name

db_user@ubuntu:~/alternative/directory/test$ ls

# MySQL creates a .isl file containing the path name for the table in a directory 
# beneath the MySQL data directory

db_user@ubuntu:~/mysql/data/test$ ls
db.opt  t1.frm  t1.isl

Usage Notes: