I'm shortly migrating a Debian Lenny webserver to another host and Debian Squeeze. The standard MySQL installation even on Squeeze is 5.1 and therefore would default to MyISAM - I'm inclined to stick with my usual rule of thumb that I stay with as standard a Debian install as possible for maximum stability, particularly as enabling InnoDB doesn't seem to be completely fool-proof

The transactional load on the database is minimal as it is a low traffic website. I'm more concerned with keeping management as simple as possible than anything else. The site runs a customised version of WordPress developed by a 3rd party.

I should add that my experience with MySQL in any form is minimal.

Should I stick with my plan or take the opportunity to look into InnoDB?

  • Your question does provide inspiration for the kind of insight any DBA would need when planning data migraion. +1 for this question !!! – RolandoMySQLDBA May 23 '11 at 15:51

To be honest, with a low traffic environment running on 5.1, you shouldn't have any problems with MyISAM. The biggest downfall of MyISAM is table-locking WRITES, IMO. But with limited data in the tables, this won't be noticeable.

MyISAM is probably easier to manage from a DBA standpoint with recovery and repair.

And in 5.1, I think InnoDB's benchmarks aren't really up to par. I could be wrong on this, so I'm going to look it up again!

Edit: Quick google turned up this article in 2009 using 5.1 http://www.mysqlperformanceblog.com/2009/01/12/should-you-move-from-myisam-to-innodb/

Gives some nice talking points, specifically the section on InnoDB needing tuning.


  • I couldn't agree more. +1 !!! In fact, caching is much easier to manage in MyISAM than InnoDB. – RolandoMySQLDBA May 23 '11 at 14:17
  • Thanks for the post and the article link. I think I will go ahead and stick with MyISAM this time round. – Jack Douglas May 24 '11 at 6:40
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    MyISAM is good if you have small data-set and if you don't have experienced DBAs managing your MySQL server, because InnoDB does not run quite as well on the default installation, you have to tune it and configure it to work properly,. @DTest: yes with InnoDB is recovery is not as simple as copy/paste of data files., but InnoDB is crash resilient,. – ovais.tariq May 25 '11 at 11:58

This is just chime-in on @DTest's answer.

I agree with his answer concerning pros and cons of Migration From MyISAM to InnoDB

I would like add that setting up caching for MyISAM is more simplistic that InnoDB because you have to worry about InnoDB log files in conjunction with the buffer pool usage and sizing objects that can be stored in it. MyISAM is just setting up enough cache for MYI index pages.

Since your site is already low traffic, you should remain as you are in MyISAM, provided that there will be no expected rise in traffic in the immediate future.

So as not to steal anyone's thunder, @DTest's answer hits the nail right on the head as per MyISAM pros and cons. Additionally, InnoDB will provide too much firepower for a low traffic website (needless overkill).

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