File Space Management

The data files that you define in the configuration file form the InnoDB tablespace. The files are logically concatenated to form the tablespace. There is no striping in use. You cannot define where within the tablespace your tables are allocated. However, in a newly created tablespace, InnoDB allocates space starting from the first data file.

The tablespace consists of database pages with a default size of 16KB. The pages are grouped into extents of size 1MB (64 consecutive pages). The files inside a tablespace are called segments in InnoDB. The term rollback segment is somewhat confusing because it actually contains many tablespace segments.

When a segment grows inside the tablespace, InnoDB allocates the first 32 pages to it individually. After that, InnoDB starts to allocate whole extents to the segment. InnoDB can add up to 4 extents at a time to a large segment to ensure good sequentiality of data.

Two segments are allocated for each index in InnoDB. One is for nonleaf nodes of the B-tree, the other is for the leaf nodes. The idea here is to achieve better sequentiality for the leaf nodes, which contain the data.

Some pages in the tablespace contain bitmaps of other pages, and therefore a few extents in an InnoDB tablespace cannot be allocated to segments as a whole, but only as individual pages.

When you ask for available free space in the tablespace by issuing a SHOW TABLE STATUS statement, InnoDB reports the extents that are definitely free in the tablespace. InnoDB always reserves some extents for cleanup and other internal purposes; these reserved extents are not included in the free space.

When you delete data from a table, InnoDB contracts the corresponding B-tree indexes. Whether the freed space becomes available for other users depends on whether the pattern of deletes frees individual pages or extents to the tablespace. Dropping a table or deleting all rows from it is guaranteed to release the space to other users, but remember that deleted rows are physically removed only in an (automatic) purge operation after they are no longer needed for transaction rollbacks or consistent reads. (See Section, “InnoDB Multi-Versioning”.)

To see information about the tablespace, use the Tablespace Monitor. See Section 14.6.9, “InnoDB Monitors”.

The maximum row length, except for variable-length columns (VARBINARY, VARCHAR, BLOB and TEXT), is slightly less than half of a database page. That is, the maximum row length is about 8000 bytes. LONGBLOB and LONGTEXT columns must be less than 4GB, and the total row length, including BLOB and TEXT columns, must be less than 4GB.

If a row is less than half a page long, all of it is stored locally within the page. If it exceeds half a page, variable-length columns are chosen for external off-page storage until the row fits within half a page. For a column chosen for off-page storage, InnoDB stores the first 768 bytes locally in the row, and the rest externally into overflow pages. Each such column has its own list of overflow pages. The 768-byte prefix is accompanied by a 20-byte value that stores the true length of the column and points into the overflow list where the rest of the value is stored.