Storage technology and file system format

The underlying storage technology and the file system format can impact performance significantly. In general, locally attached SSD storage will perform best. However, network based storage systems can perform well. As always, performance is dependent on the request profile coming from clients. You should spend some time studying and experimenting with different storage technologies and configuration options.

Aside from the storage technology, the file system format used with MySQL can impact performance. The xfs file system is a good starting point. The ext4 file system is another good alternative.

MySQL storage engines

There are different storage engines available for MySQL. The default storage engine is InnoDB. InnoDB is good for performance testing and tuning.

Information on alternative storage engines can be found in the MySQL documentation .

Kernel configuration

MySQL can benefit from adjustments to kernel parameters. Below is a list of kernel related settings that can have a positive impact on performance.

Linux-PAM limits

Linux-PAM limits can be changed in the /etc/security/limits.conf file, or by using the ulimit command.

If you want more information about how to display and modify parameters check the documentation of the ulimit command.

To display all limits:


            ulimit -a

To display the memlock (Max locked-in-memory address space) limit only:


            ulimit -l

memlock is the only PAM limit which is useful to adjust for MySQL.

The suggested value for memlock is unlimited when using huge pages with MySQL.

Enabling huge pages can result in significant performance gains (discussed below).

The suggestion to set memlock when huge pages are enabled can be found in the MySQL documentation .

Linux virtual memory subsystem

Making changes to the Linux Virtual Memory subsystem can also improve performance.

These settings can be changed in the /etc/sysctl.conf file, or by using the sysctl command.

If you want more information about how to display and modify virtual memory parameters check the documentation of the sysctl command.

Documentation on each of these parameters can be found in the admin-guide for sysctl in the Linux source code .

To list all kernel parameters available:


            sudo sysctl -a

Huge memory pages

MySQL benefits from using huge memory pages. Huge pages reduce how often virtual memory pages are mapped to physical memory.

To see the current memory page configuration, run the following command on the host:


            cat /proc/meminfo | grep ^Huge

The output should be similar to:


        HugePages_Total:       0
HugePages_Free:        0
HugePages_Rsvd:        0
HugePages_Surp:        0
Hugepagesize:       2048 kB
Hugetlb:               0 kB


Huge pages are not being used if HugePages_Total is 0 (this is the default).

Also note that Hugepagesize is 2MB which is the typical default for huge pages on Linux.

The kernel parameter that enables huge pages is shown below:




This parameter sets the number of huge pages you want the kernel to make available to applications.

The total amount of memory that will be used for huge pages will be this number (defaulted to 0) times the Hugepagesize.

As an example, if you want a total of 1GB of huge page space, then you should set vm.nr_hugepages to 500 (500x2MB=1GB).


            sudo sysctl -w vm.nr_hugepages=500

To make the change permanent:


            sudo sh -c 'echo "vm.nr_hugepages=500" >> /etc/sysctl.conf'

Selecting the number of huge pages to use

You should set vm.nr_hugepages to a value that gives a total huge page space slightly larger than the MySQL buffer pool size (discussed later).

It should be slightly larger than the buffer pool because MySQL will use additional memory for things like connection management.

More information on the different parameters that affect the configuration of huge pages can be found in the admin-guide for hugetlbpage in the Linux source code .

Compiler Considerations

The easiest way to gain performance is to use the latest version of GCC. Aside from that, the flags -mcpu and -flto can be used to potentially gain additional performance. Usage of these flags is explained in the Migrating C/C++ applications section of the Migrating applications to Arm servers learning path.

OpenSSL Considerations

MySQL relies on OpenSSL for cryptographic operations. Thus, the version of OpenSSL used with MySQL (and the GCC version and switches used to compile it) can impact performance. Typically using the Linux distribution default version of OpenSSL is sufficient.

However, it is possible to use newer versions of OpenSSL which could yield performance improvements. This is achieved by building and installing OpenSSL before building MySQL.