Controlling the Master Thread I/O Rate

The master thread in InnoDB is a thread that performs various tasks in the background. Most of these tasks are I/O related, such as flushing dirty pages from the buffer cache or writing changes from the insert buffer to the appropriate secondary indexes. The master thread attempts to perform these tasks in a way that does not adversely affect the normal working of the server. It tries to estimate the free I/O bandwidth available and tune its activities to take advantage of this free capacity. Historically, InnoDB has used a hard coded value of 100 IOPs (input/output operations per second) as the total I/O capacity of the server.

Beginning with InnoDB 1.0.4, a new configuration parameter indicates the overall I/O capacity available to InnoDB. The new parameter innodb_io_capacity should be set to approximately the number of I/O operations that the system can perform per second. The value depends on your system configuration. When innodb_io_capacity is set, the master threads estimates the I/O bandwidth available for background tasks based on the set value. Setting the value to 100 reverts to the old behavior.

You can set the value of innodb_io_capacity to any number 100 or greater, and the default value is 200. 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.

For more information about InnoDB I/O performance, see Section 7.5.7, “Optimizing InnoDB Disk I/O”.

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