We've been evaluating an active-passive master-master replication setup for our MySQL database, running on version 8.0. While diagnosing some general slowness issues, we were surprised to see very high disk IO ranging from 500MB/s - 1500MB/s on both servers.

I've found that stopping the slave on either server brings the disk IO back to expected levels, 15MB/s - 30 MB/s, and I'm concerned that we have a misconfiguration somewhere.

Here is what I've checked:

  • The server ID's are unique.
  • We are doing row-based replication.
  • We are using the semi-synchronous replication plugin.
  • The writes are happening in an LVM volume that exclusively houses the data directory.
  • vmstat shows no swapping.
  • From the network perspective, we see a few megabits per second going between the servers at most.

Here is the redacted configuration:


# General
server_id                        = <unique_between_servers>                         
event-scheduler                  = ON                              
sync_binlog                      = 1                               
log_bin                          = /var/lib/mysql/mysql-bin        
binlog_format                    = ROW                             
innodb_flush_log_at_trx_commit   =  1                              

# Replication
relay_log                        = /var/lib/mysql/mysql-relay-bin
relay_log_recovery               = ON
log_slave_updates                = 1
sync_master_info                 = 1
sync_relay_log                   = 1
sync_relay_log_info              = 1
rpl_semi_sync_master_enabled     = 1
rpl_semi_sync_master_timeout     = 10000    # 10 seconds
rpl_semi_sync_slave_enabled      = 1

# Fine Tuning
key_buffer_size          = 16M
max_allowed_packet       = 16M
thread_stack             = 192K
thread_cache_size        = 8
myisam-recover-options   = BACKUP           
max_connections          = 800
max_connect_errors       = 1000
innodb_buffer_pool_size  = 192G    # Server has 256GB RAM
innodb_log_buffer_size   = 256M
innodb_log_file_size     = 2G
innodb_flush_method      = O_DIRECT
innodb_lock_wait_timeout = 60

My problem sounds suspiciously similar to this person's dead thread from 2013 (Who were you, DenverCoder9? WHAT DID YOU SEE!?)


In an effort to zero in on the problem, we simplified the setup for testing. We used one master and one slave, both running 8.0.11, same configuration as above, and we saw the following write patterns according to iostat (master is blue, slave is red):

Master-Slave IO

(The "Time" on the X-axis is the minutes and seconds of the current time.)

Those per-minute 1+ GB spikes on the master were tracked down to a script updating two small tables (1000-2000 rows each), around 10-15 MB in size on disk. These tables had keys, but the keys were not primary or unique. The script would DELETE all rows in the tables and then repopulate them by performing one INSERT statement per row, all within a transaction. Despite the glaring problems, I still don't understand how operations on tables this small can result in this much disk IO.

Without fixing the problems, we then returned to the master-master active-passive setup and saw the following (active master is blue, passive master is red):

Active-Passive Master-Master IO

So some additional questions I have are this. Why is the slave consistently writing much more than the master in the first graph? Also, why in master-master replication is there the ping-pong effect seen above where writes to the master result in heavy IO on the slave, which results in heavy IO again on the master?

  • Nice job of providing the "checked" list!
    – Rick James
    Jun 1, 2018 at 16:33
  • One row being updated? Or updating all 1K-2K rows? Row Based Replication?
    – Rick James
    Jun 6, 2018 at 23:26
  • Reinserting: 1K inserts in a single transaction? Or 1K transactions? Ditto for the Update.
    – Rick James
    Jun 6, 2018 at 23:27
  • Reinserting: First, autocommit is set to 0, then all rows in a table are deleted, then 1K-2K insert statements are performed (one per row), and then it's committed. Row-based as far as I know. Which Update are you referring to? I don't recall mentioning an Update statement.
    – billyw
    Jun 7, 2018 at 0:01
  • InnoDB? DELETE, not TRUNCATE? (I guess I made up the UPDATE.)
    – Rick James
    Jun 7, 2018 at 2:37

3 Answers 3

  • ALTERs being replicated? They could be low replication bandwidth but high I/O.
  • How much RAM? innodb_buffer_pool_size is quite large.
  • Do your tables have lots of secondary indexes?
  • Was there previously a lot of activity that led to updating secondary, non-UNIQUE, indexes? The Change Buffer is in the buffer_pool and it is flushed asynchronously. See innodb_change_buffer_max_size, but don't necessarily change it.
  • Lots of TRIGGERs?
  • How big are the tables?
  • In spite of ROW, might a full-table UPDATE have gone through as STATEMENT?
  • LVM's COW may double (or triple?) the I/O activity. (But this would only partially explain what you are seeing.)
  • Are some big SELECTs happening? (Turn on the slowlog, with a small value for long_query_time.)

No, I don't see any configuration changes to make.


Some issues that may be relevant (especially after updates to the Question)

  • For a single UPDATE of 1K rows, Row Based Replication is rather verbose. Each row is a separate record in the replication stream, and it is rather large (compared to the update, itself). These records will be buffered and written to the Master's disk (binlog) and to the Slave's disk (relay log). I would assume that they are buffered, etc, so that the amount of writing is the same. But maybe I am wrong.
  • The "sql thread" on the Slave reads all of these 1-row updates, presumably one at a time. Again, one would hope that there is buffering such that this does not add to the I/O.
  • Both machines need to update any secondary keys via the Change buffer. However, this is a delayed action. In fact, it might be delayed so long that it won't show up on the graphs you have presented.
  • In a Master-Master setup, I do not know when the "loop" is stopped. That is, server_id 123 replicates to its Slave, server_id 234, which then replicates to all of its Slave, including 123. Upon discovering 123=123, the replication packets are dropped. But does that happen before getting back to 123 and being written to the relaylogs there? I don't know. You can figure it out by looking at the growth of the relaylogs on the active Master.
  • What other logs does the Slave have turned on? Presumably the same as the Master. General log? Slow log? Others?

Scenario details

  • SET autocommit=0;
  • DELETE all of 1-2K rows in a particular table. If all at once, and Row-based-replication, then a lot is sent through the replication stream.
  • INSERT one row back in
  • INSERT one row back in
  • ... 1-2K rows inserted
  • COMMIT; It is not until this point that anything goes across to the Slave. I suspect this is when the binlog is being written all at once.

Well, I guess this still does not answer your question, but maybe it provides some more insight.

How to replace a table

This is a more efficient way to replace all of a table. It avoids the table ever being out of service:

load the new data into the table (LOAD DATA or multi-row INSERT(s) is best)
RENAME TABLE real TO old, new TO real;
  • Thanks for this list. I've added a comment in the config that specifies the servers' RAM (256GB). I've also added additional troubleshooting steps I've taken and new information learned. I'm wondering now if the secondary indexes you mentioned could be responsible for the disk IO for those two small tables and their many INSERT statements.
    – billyw
    Jun 6, 2018 at 23:22
  • @billyw - Alas, nothing I have said so far seems to explain the different I/O between the machines. I am trying to lay out the details is hopes that you or someone else will suddenly spot something I missed.
    – Rick James
    Jun 7, 2018 at 2:51


The process of replication when using an active-passive master-master setup appeared to be as follows (based on examining binary and relay logs with mysqlbinlog):

  • The active master writes to its database and its binary logs (two locations).
  • The passive master fetches the binary logs from its active peer, writes them to its relay logs, and applies them to its database, and writes its own binary logs (three locations).
  • The active master fetches the binary logs from its passive peer, recognizes the server ID in each entry as its own, and drops them without writing them to disk. The loop ends here.

Also, a major clue was at the bottom of the graphs:

enter image description here

Whenever the passive master was pegged with disk IO, the active master had zero activity as if it was blocking (spoiler: it was).

So this was our conclusion:

  • Several scripts in our environment were updating tables by deleting all their rows and repopulating them using many single-row INSERT statements (thousands of INSERT statements per table).
  • Having many single-row INSERT statements instead of one multi-row INSERT statement resulted in vastly more metadata in the binary and relay logs.
  • The active master could handle its increase in disk IO, but the passive master needed to do approximately 2-3x the disk IO and would lag behind the master after a big spike. (I still can't fully explain the 2-3x difference, but it seems to be caused by the many single-row INSERT statements.)
  • When the passive master got behind, the active master would block for up to rpl_semi_sync_master_timeout milliseconds (default: 10 seconds) before switching to asynchronous replication.

  • Once in asynchronous mode, the active master would spike again in an effort to process the queries that built up while it was blocking.

Fixing the Problem

We took two steps to resolve this problem.

First, we reduced rpl_semi_sync_master_timeout to 100 milliseconds. This minimized the time that the active master would block if its slave was behind. We did this to prevent database-dependent applications from hanging excessively should this scenario arise again. And we were willing to accept the additional risk of getting out of sync.

Second, we rewrote the INSERT statements causing spikes. Those scripts now use multi-row INSERT statements to repopulate a given table, rather than many single-row INSERT statements in a tight loop.

With these changes, the graph now looks like the following. Note that the disk IO delta between the active and passive databases is much smaller, and also that the spikes are much smaller:

enter image description here

  • Additional information request, please. Post on pastebin.com or here. From your SLAVE server, please. A) complete (not edited) my.cnf-ini Text results of: B) SHOW GLOBAL STATUS; C) SHOW GLOBAL VARIABLES; D) complete MySQLTuner report if readily available - 7 or more days uptime is helpful E) SHOW ENGINE INNODB STATUS; Optional very helpful information, if available includes - htop, top & mytop for most active apps ulimit -a for a linux/unix list of limits iostat -x when system is busy for an idea of IOPS by device for server tuning analysis. Jun 15, 2018 at 19:02

Suggestion to consider for your my.cnf-ini [mysqld] section

innodb_buffer_pool_instances=8  # from 1 to reduce mutex contention
innodb_lru_scan_depth=100  # from 1024 to conserve CPU cycles every second

on each instance.

Posting additional requested information will result in more performance tuning suggestions for your installation.

Please check my profile for contact information.

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