MySQL 8.0 Reference Manual Including MySQL NDB Cluster 8.0

8.3.13 Descending Indexes

MySQL supports descending indexes: DESC in an index definition is no longer ignored but causes storage of key values in descending order. Previously, indexes could be scanned in reverse order but at a performance penalty. A descending index can be scanned in forward order, which is more efficient. Descending indexes also make it possible for the optimizer to use multiple-column indexes when the most efficient scan order mixes ascending order for some columns and descending order for others.

Consider the following table definition, which contains two columns and four two-column index definitions for the various combinations of ascending and descending indexes on the columns:

  c1 INT, c2 INT,
  INDEX idx1 (c1 ASC, c2 ASC),
  INDEX idx2 (c1 ASC, c2 DESC),
  INDEX idx3 (c1 DESC, c2 ASC),
  INDEX idx4 (c1 DESC, c2 DESC)

The table definition results in four distinct indexes. The optimizer can perform a forward index scan for each of the ORDER BY clauses and need not use a filesort operation:

ORDER BY c1 ASC, c2 ASC    -- optimizer can use idx1
ORDER BY c1 DESC, c2 DESC  -- optimizer can use idx4
ORDER BY c1 ASC, c2 DESC   -- optimizer can use idx2
ORDER BY c1 DESC, c2 ASC   -- optimizer can use idx3

Use of descending indexes is subject to these conditions: