mysql version 5.5.25, while use mysqldump to dump big tables, it eat lots of swap while there is lots of free memory.

# free -m
             total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
Mem:         32177      31427        749          0        208      10747
-/+ buffers/cache:      20471      11705
Swap:        16002      12952       3049

# cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness 

max_allowed_packet = 16M
  • 1
    I don't see "lots" of free memory. 31427 / 32177 = 97.6% used memory, 749 / 32177 = 2.4% free memory. May 1, 2015 at 9:37
  • There is 10GB free, the problem is that mysqldump bloats the pagecache. It’s a pitty Linux still has that problem.
    – eckes
    Nov 25, 2017 at 15:29

2 Answers 2


Your problem is, that mysqldump normally caches the results it produces.
You have to use the --quick option, to prevent this.

 --quick, -q

This option is useful for dumping large tables. It forces mysqldump to retrieve rows for a table from the server a row at a time rather than retrieving the entire row set and buffering it in memory before writing it out.

  • there is quick option in mysql config file: [mysqldump] quick max_allowed_packet = 16M
    – seanlin
    Mar 18, 2014 at 2:57
  • i dont understand you comment ? was my answer correct ! it improved the speed of your mysqldump ?
    – Up_One
    Mar 18, 2014 at 11:37
  • i have using the --quick option already. but the same.
    – seanlin
    Mar 20, 2014 at 8:29

In this instance, you can only do but so much. I would recommend upgrading to 5.7

SUGGESTION 1 : Increase Buffer Pool Instances

To address some swapping issues in the past, I have set innodb_buffer_pool_instances to the number of CPUs. (See my answer to How do you tune MySQL for a heavy InnoDB workload?)

If you upgrade to MySQL 5.7, the default is 8. This will lower the incidence of swapping.

SUGGESTION #2 : Dump the Buffer Pool to Disk

Dump the Buffer Pool before the mysqldump

mysql> SET GLOBAL innodb_buffer_pool_dump_now = 1;

Execute the mysqldump, then run

mysql> SET GLOBAL innodb_buffer_pool_load_now = 1;

Now the Buffer Pool is has the same Data and Index Pages it had before the dump

This is only possible in MySQL 5.6/5.7

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