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I'm not really all too familiar with the ndbcluster storage engine of MySQL, but I've recently written an application that does some very simple queries. However, a co-worker of mine (who is now on vacation, or I'd ask him about it, of course) left a TODO in the comments next to what I thought to be a pretty harmless query.

The comment read "TODO: Avoid sorting on PK when querying on MySQL cluster"

Granted, there are some things I'm aware of when working on a cluster (like using less JOIN's) but I gathered the index (and therefore the PK) lookups were effectively O(1) operations, so a simple ORDER BY someID DESC wouldn't hurt performance.
I've been looking around on google, but I can't quite find a definitive answer as to what this ORDER BY means on a cluster. I can make a few educated guesses, but still...

What's more, I can't really think what query I can use instead. Basically, I have a generic method that enables me to fetch the last N rows based on 1 or 2 values. The simplified version of the query looks something like this:

SELECT * 
    FROM db.tbl 
WHERE user_Id = ? 
  AND req_action = ? 
ORDER BY tbl_Id DESC
LIMIT 0,?; -- 0,1 is default, though

Most of the time, the limit, though is 0,1, so I came up with this alternative approach that enables me to not use the ORDER BY clause, but it reduces the flexibility of my method, rather significantly:

SELECT *
    FROM db.tbl
WHERE 
    tbl_Id = (
        SELECT MAX(tbl_ID)
            FROM db.tbl
        WHERE user_Id = ?
          AND req_action = ?);

But in that case, I'm always going to end up with either an empty resultset, or a single row.

My questions:

  • Is it true that ORDER BY on the primary key is not advisable on a cluster
  • if so, what alternative constructs should I be looking at to maintain the flexibility of my initial query, while sticking to good practices for cluster queries?

Things to keep in mind:

  • The dataset I'm querying is certain to have hundreds of thousands, if not millions of rows.
  • The table will be used heavily, both read and write operations, 30 RW/s is not exceptional
  • I can write stored procedures, but we only use them as a last resort.
  • An EXPLAIN EXTENDED of both queries would have me believe that the first (my initial query) is still preferable, but I ran it on a vagrant box, and just noticed the test tables use InnoDB storage engine, so I take it I can't trust those results :)
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1 Answer

up vote 0 down vote accepted

Right, I've found the answer to my own question, and thought I'd post it here in case anyone else would ever have the same basic question:

Given that a cluster shard the data across numerous nodes, there is no real guarantee that an AUTO_INCREMENT primary key will reflect the order in which records were added. Especially when dealing with multiple master replication.
Details can be found here

In essence, the answer to my question boils down to this:
Each node is given a range of available increment-values for the next N inserts. However, you have no real say in which node will insert the next row, and thus you can't be absolutely sure that the next row to be inserted will receive the MAX(pk_id_val) + 1 as a PK value.
A simple diagram to clarify:

 +------------+      +------------+
 |   Node 1   | <==> |   Node 2   |
 +------------+      +------------+
 |   PK 1-3   |      |   PK 4-6   | (Range of available increment vals)
 +------------+      +------------+
 INSERT INTO cluster_tbl (field) VALUES ('test');
 INSERT INTO cluster_tbl (field) VALUES ('test');
 INSERT INTO cluster_tbl (field) VALUES ('test');

If all three insert queries are sent to Node 1, then all is fine and dandy, and the PK's will be 1, 2 and 3 respectively. However, if the first query is sent to node 1, the second to Node 2, and the third back to node 1 again, then the PK's will be 1, 4 and 2 respectively.
In which chase a SELECT * FROM cluster_tbl ORDER BY pk_field DESC LIMIT 0,1; query will serve up the second row that was inserted, and not the third.

A possible solution: create an index on an inserted field, defined as follows:

`insert` TIMESTAMP NOT NULL DEFAULT CURRENT_TIMESTAMP

And order the query by descending timestamp values:

SELECT *
FROM cluster_tbl
ORDER BY insert DESC
LIMIT 0,1;

That, for me at least, did the trick

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