18.5. Restrictions and Limitations on Partitioning

This section discusses current restrictions and limitations on MySQL partitioning support.

Prohibited constructs.  The following constructs are not permitted in partitioning expressions:

  • Stored procedures, stored functions, UDFs, or plugins.

  • Declared variables or user variables.

For a list of SQL functions which are permitted in partitioning expressions, see Section 18.5.3, “Partitioning Limitations Relating to Functions”.

Arithmetic and logical operators.  Use of the arithmetic operators +, -, and * is permitted in partitioning expressions. However, the result must be an integer value or NULL (except in the case of [LINEAR] KEY partitioning, as discussed elswhere in this chapter; see Section 18.2, “Partitioning Types”, for more information).

The DIV operator is also supported, and the / operator is not permitted. (Bug#30188, Bug#33182)

The bit operators |, &, ^, <<, >>, and ~ are not permitted in partitioning expressions.

Server SQL mode.  Tables employing user-defined partitioning do not preserve the SQL mode in effect at the time that they were created. As discussed in Section 5.1.7, “Server SQL Modes”, the results of many MySQL functions and operators may change according to the server SQL mode. Therefore, a change in the SQL mode at any time after the creation of partitioned tables may lead to major changes in the behavior of such tables, and could easily lead to corruption or loss of data. For these reasons, it is strongly recommended that you never change the server SQL mode after creating partitioned tables.

Examples.  The following examples illustrate some changes in behavior of partitioned tables due to a change in the server SQL mode:

  1. Error handling.  Suppose that you create a partitioned table whose partitioning expression is one such as column DIV 0 or column MOD 0, as shown here:

    mysql> CREATE TABLE tn (c1 INT)
        ->     PARTITION BY LIST(1 DIV c1) (
        ->       PARTITION p0 VALUES IN (NULL),
        ->       PARTITION p1 VALUES IN (1)
        -> );
    Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.05 sec)
    

    The default behavior for MySQL is to return NULL for the result of a division by zero, without producing any errors:

    mysql> SELECT @@sql_mode;
    +------------+
    | @@sql_mode |
    +------------+
    |            |
    +------------+
    1 row in set (0.00 sec)
    
    
    mysql> INSERT INTO tn VALUES (NULL), (0), (1);
    Query OK, 3 rows affected (0.00 sec)
    Records: 3  Duplicates: 0  Warnings: 0
    

    However, changing the server SQL mode to treat division by zero as an error and to enforce strict error handling causes the same INSERT statement to fail, as shown here:

    mysql> SET sql_mode='STRICT_ALL_TABLES,ERROR_FOR_DIVISION_BY_ZERO';
    Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)
    
    mysql> INSERT INTO tn VALUES (NULL), (0), (1);
    ERROR 1365 (22012): Division by 0
    
  2. Table accessibility.  Sometimes a change in the server SQL mode can make partitioned tables unusable. The following CREATE TABLE statement can be executed successfully only if the NO_UNSIGNED_SUBTRACTION mode is in effect:

    mysql> SELECT @@sql_mode;
    +------------+
    | @@sql_mode |
    +------------+
    |            |
    +------------+
    1 row in set (0.00 sec)
    
    mysql> CREATE TABLE tu (c1 BIGINT UNSIGNED)
        ->   PARTITION BY RANGE(c1 - 10) (
        ->     PARTITION p0 VALUES LESS THAN (-5),
        ->     PARTITION p1 VALUES LESS THAN (0),
        ->     PARTITION p2 VALUES LESS THAN (5),
        ->     PARTITION p3 VALUES LESS THAN (10),
        ->     PARTITION p4 VALUES LESS THAN (MAXVALUE)
        -> );
    ERROR 1563 (HY000): Partition constant is out of partition function domain
    
    mysql> SET sql_mode='NO_UNSIGNED_SUBTRACTION';
    Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)
    
    mysql> SELECT @@sql_mode;
    +-------------------------+
    | @@sql_mode              |
    +-------------------------+
    | NO_UNSIGNED_SUBTRACTION |
    +-------------------------+
    1 row in set (0.00 sec)
    
    mysql> CREATE TABLE tu (c1 BIGINT UNSIGNED)
        ->   PARTITION BY RANGE(c1 - 10) (
        ->     PARTITION p0 VALUES LESS THAN (-5),
        ->     PARTITION p1 VALUES LESS THAN (0),
        ->     PARTITION p2 VALUES LESS THAN (5),
        ->     PARTITION p3 VALUES LESS THAN (10),
        ->     PARTITION p4 VALUES LESS THAN (MAXVALUE)
        -> );
    Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.05 sec)
    

    If you remove the NO_UNSIGNED_SUBTRACTION server SQL mode after creating tu, you may no longer be able to access this table:

    mysql> SET sql_mode='';
    Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)
    
    mysql> SELECT * FROM tu;
    ERROR 1563 (HY000): Partition constant is out of partition function domain
    mysql> INSERT INTO tu VALUES (20);
    ERROR 1563 (HY000): Partition constant is out of partition function domain
    

Server SQL modes also impact replication of partitioned tables. Differing SQL modes on master and slave can lead to partitioning expressions being evaluated differently; this can cause the distribution of data among partitions to be different in the master's and slave's copies of a given table, and may even cause inserts into partitioned tables that succeed on the master to fail on the slave. For best results, you should always use the same server SQL mode on the master and on the slave.

Performance considerations.  Some affects of partitioning operations on performance are given in the following list:

  • File system operations.  Partitioning and repartitioning operations (such as ALTER TABLE with PARTITION BY ..., REORGANIZE PARTITIONS, or REMOVE PARTITIONING) depend on file system operations for their implementation. This means that the speed of these operations is affected by such factors as file system type and characteristics, disk speed, swap space, file handling efficiency of the operating system, and MySQL server options and variables that relate to file handling. In particular, you should make sure that large_files_support is enabled and that open_files_limit is set properly. For partitioned tables using the MyISAM storage engine, increasing myisam_max_sort_file_size may improve performance; partitioning and repartitioning operations involving InnoDB tables may be made more efficient by enabling innodb_file_per_table.

    See also Maximum number of partitions.

  • Table locks.  The process executing a partitioning operation on a table takes a write lock on the table. Reads from such tables are relatively unaffected; pending INSERT and UPDATE operations are performed as soon as the partitioning operation has completed.

  • Storage engine.  Partitioning operations, queries, and update operations generally tend to be faster with MyISAM tables than with InnoDB tables.

  • Use of indexes and partition pruning.  As with nonpartitioned tables, proper use of indexes can speed up queries on partitioned tables significantly. In addition, designing partitioned tables and queries on these tables to take advantage of partition pruning can improve performance dramatically. See Section 18.4, “Partition Pruning”, for more information.

  • Performance with LOAD DATA In MySQL 5.5, LOAD DATA uses buffering to improve performance. You should be aware that the buffer uses 130 KB memory per partition to achieve this.

Maximum number of partitions.  The maximum possible number of partitions for a given table is 1024. This includes subpartitions.

If, when creating tables with a large number of partitions (but less than the maximum), you encounter an error message such as Got error ... from storage engine: Out of resources when opening file, you may be able to address the issue by increasing the value of the open_files_limit system variable. However, this is dependent on the operating system, and may not be possible or advisable on all platforms; see Section C.5.2.18, “'File' Not Found and Similar Errors”, for more information. In some cases, using large numbers (hundreds) of partitions may also not be advisable due to other concerns, so using more partitions does not automatically lead to better results.

See also File system operations.

Per-partition key caches.  In MySQL 5.5, key caches are supported for partitioned MyISAM tables, using the CACHE INDEX and LOAD INDEX INTO CACHE statements. Key caches may be defined for one, several, or all partitions, and indexes for one, several, or all partitions may be preloaded into key caches.

Foreign keys not supported.  Partitioned tables do not support foreign keys. More specifically, this means that the following two statements are true:

  1. Definitions of tables employing user-defined partitioning may not contain foreign key references to other tables.

  2. No table definition may contain a foreign key reference to a partitioned table.

The scope of these restrictions includes tables that use the InnoDB storage engine.

ALTER TABLE ... ORDER BY An ALTER TABLE ... ORDER BY column statement run against a partitioned table causes ordering of rows only within each partition.

FULLTEXT indexes.  Partitioned tables do not support FULLTEXT indexes. This includes partitioned tables employing the MyISAM storage engine.

Spatial columns.  Columns with spatial data types such as POINT or GEOMETRY cannot be used in partitioned tables.

Temporary tables.  Temporary tables cannot be partitioned. (Bug#17497)

Log tables.  It is not possible to partition the log tables; an ALTER TABLE ... PARTITION BY ... statement on such a table fails with an error.

Data type of partitioning key.  A partitioning key must be either an integer column or an expression that resolves to an integer. The column or expression value may also be NULL. (See Section 18.2.7, “How MySQL Partitioning Handles NULL.)

There are two exceptions to this restriction:

  1. When partitioning by [LINEAR] KEY, it is possible to use columns of other types as partitioning keys, because MySQL's internal key-hashing functions produce the correct data type from these types. For example, the following CREATE TABLE statement is valid:

    CREATE TABLE tkc (c1 CHAR)
    PARTITION BY KEY(c1)
    PARTITIONS 4;
    
  2. When partitioning by RANGE COLUMNS or LIST COLUMNS, it is possible to use string, DATE, and DATETIME columns. For example, each of the following CREATE TABLE statements is valid:

    CREATE TABLE rc (c1 INT, c2 DATE)
    PARTITION BY RANGE COLUMNS(c2) (
        PARTITION p0 VALUES LESS THAN('1990-01-01'),
        PARTITION p1 VALUES LESS THAN('1995-01-01'),
        PARTITION p2 VALUES LESS THAN('2000-01-01'),
        PARTITION p3 VALUES LESS THAN('2005-01-01'),
        PARTITION p4 VALUES LESS THAN(MAXVALUE)
    );
    
    CREATE TABLE lc (c1 INT, c2 CHAR(1))
    PARTITION BY LIST COLUMNS(c2) (
        PARTITION p0 VALUES IN('a', 'd', 'g', 'j', 'm', 'p', 's', 'v', 'y'),
        PARTITION p1 VALUES IN('b', 'e', 'h', 'k', 'n', 'q', 't', 'w', 'z'),
        PARTITION p2 VALUES IN('c', 'f', 'i', 'l', 'o', 'r', 'u', 'x', NULL)
    );
    

Neither of the preceding exceptions applies to BLOB or TEXT column types.

Subqueries.  A partitioning key may not be a subquery, even if that subquery resolves to an integer value or NULL.

Issues with subpartitions.  Subpartitions must use HASH or KEY partitioning. Only RANGE and LIST partitions may be subpartitioned; HASH and KEY partitions cannot be subpartitioned.

Currently, SUBPARTITION BY KEY requires that the subpartitioning column or columns be specified explicitly, unlike the case with PARTITION BY KEY, where it can be omitted (in which case the table's primary key column is used by default). Consider the table created by this statement:

CREATE TABLE ts (
    id INT NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT PRIMARY KEY,
    name VARCHAR(30)
);

You can create a table having the same columns, partitioned by KEY, using a statement such as this one:

CREATE TABLE ts (
    id INT NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT PRIMARY KEY,
    name VARCHAR(30)
)
PARTITION BY KEY() 
PARTITIONS 4;
        

The previous statement is treated as though it had been written like this, with the table's primary key column used as the partitioning column:

CREATE TABLE ts (
    id INT NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT PRIMARY KEY,
    name VARCHAR(30)
)
PARTITION BY KEY(id) 
PARTITIONS 4;
        

However, the following statement that attempts to create a subpartitioned table using the default column as the subpartitioning column fails, and the column must be specified for the statement to succeed, as shown here:

mysql> CREATE TABLE ts (
    ->     id INT NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT PRIMARY KEY,
    ->     name VARCHAR(30)
    -> )
    -> PARTITION BY RANGE(id)
    -> SUBPARTITION BY KEY()
    -> SUBPARTITIONS 4
    -> (
    ->     PARTITION p0 VALUES LESS THAN (100),
    ->     PARTITION p1 VALUES LESS THAN (MAXVALUE)
    -> );
ERROR 1064 (42000): You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that 
corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near ')

mysql> CREATE TABLE ts (
    ->     id INT NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT PRIMARY KEY,
    ->     name VARCHAR(30)
    -> )
    -> PARTITION BY RANGE(id)
    -> SUBPARTITION BY KEY(id)
    -> SUBPARTITIONS 4
    -> (
    ->     PARTITION p0 VALUES LESS THAN (100),
    ->     PARTITION p1 VALUES LESS THAN (MAXVALUE)
    -> );
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.07 sec)

This is a known issue (see Bug#51470).

DELAYED option not supported.  Use of INSERT DELAYED to insert rows into a partitioned table is not supported. Attempting to do so fails with an error.

DATA DIRECTORY and INDEX DIRECTORY options.  DATA DIRECTORY and INDEX DIRECTORY are subject to the following restrictions when used with partitioned tables:

  • Table-level DATA DIRECTORY and INDEX DIRECTORY options are ignored (see Bug#32091).

  • On Windows, the DATA DIRECTORY and INDEX DIRECTORY options are not supported for individual partitions or subpartitions (Bug#30459).

Repairing and rebuilding partitioned tables.  The statements CHECK TABLE, OPTIMIZE TABLE, ANALYZE TABLE, and REPAIR TABLE are supported for partitioned tables.

In addition, you can use ALTER TABLE ... REBUILD PARTITION to rebuild one or more partitions of a partitioned table; ALTER TABLE ... REORGANIZE PARTITION also causes partitions to be rebuilt. See Section 12.1.6, “ALTER TABLE Syntax”, for more information about these two statements.

mysqlcheck and myisamchk are not supported with partitioned tables.

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