The MySQL query optimizer uses estimated statistics about key distributions to select or avoid using an index in an execution plan, based on the relative selectivity of the index. Previously, InnoDB sampled 8 random pages from an index to get an estimate of the cardinality of (i.e., the number of distinct values in) the index. (This page sampling technique is frequently described as “index dives”.) This small number of page samples frequently was insufficient, and could give inaccurate estimates of an index’s selectivity and thus lead to poor choices by the query optimizer.
To give users control over the quality of the statistics estimate
(and thus better information for the query optimizer), the number
of sampled pages now can be changed via the parameter
You can change the number of sampled pages via the global
innodb_stats_sample_pages, which can be set at runtime
(i.e., it is a dynamic parameter). The default value for this
parameter is 8, preserving the same behavior as in past releases.
Note that the value of
innodb_stats_sample_pages affects the
index sampling for all tables and indexes.
You should also be aware that there are the following potentially
significant impacts when you change the index sample size:
small values like 1 or 2 can result in very inaccurate estimates of cardinality
values much larger than 8 (say, 100), can cause a big
slowdown in the time it takes to open a table or execute
SHOW TABLE STATUS.
the optimizer may choose very different query plans based on different estimates of index selectivity
Note that the cardinality estimation can be disabled for metadata
commands such as
SHOW TABLE STATUS by executing
Before InnoDB storage engine 1.0.2, this variable could only be set in
the MySQL option file (
my.ini), and changing it required shutting down
and restarting the server.
The cardinality (the number of different key values) in every
index of a table is calculated when a table is opened, at
SHOW TABLE STATUS and
ANALYZE TABLE and on other circumstances
(like when the table has changed too much). Note that all tables
are opened, and the statistics are re-estimated, when the
mysql client starts if the auto-rehash setting
is set on (the default). The auto-rehash feature enables automatic
name completion of database, table, and column names for
interactive users. You may prefer setting auto-rehash off to
improve the start up time of the
You should note that it does not make sense to increase the index
sample size, then run
ANALYZE TABLE and decrease sample size to
attempt to obtain better statistics. This is because the
statistics are not persistent. They are automatically recalculated
at various times other than on execution of
Sooner or later the “better” statistics calculated by
running with a high value of
innodb_stats_sample_pages will be
The estimated cardinality for an index will be more accurate with
a larger number of samples, but each sample might require a disk
read, so you do not want to make the sample size too large. You
should choose a value for
innodb_stats_sample_pages that results
in reasonably accurate estimates for all tables in your database
without requiring excessive I/O.
Although it is not possible to specify the sample size on a
per-table basis, smaller tables generally would require fewer
index samples than larger tables require. If your database has
many large tables, you may want to consider using a higher value
innodb_stats_sample_pages than if you have mostly smaller
This is the User’s Guide for InnoDB storage engine 1.1 for MySQL 5.5, generated on 2010-04-13 (revision: 19994) .