High Performance MySQL

Here’s the brick book that’s been keeping me from reading some other design & HTML books since Christmas, and I’m finally done! Despite its size, I wanted to read High Performance MySQL from cover to cover as I’ve been working a lot recently with some databases that could stand to go faster, and, while it was a long read, (made longer by taking breaks and reading other books), it was very useful, and will never be too far from my desk, especially when I’m working on server-side code and database design and tuning.

Even before I finished the High Performance MySQL my work was seeing the benefits of what I had learned partway through the book. There are a lot of quirks in MySQL that I wasn’t aware of, especially when it comes to joining tables and applying indexes. In one instance I was able to take a query that had been taking several minutes to execute and bring its execution time down to just a few seconds simply by rewriting some joins in such a way that, when thinking only about how data is related, appears to be quite bizarre, but when thinking about how a query will be executed by MySQL makes good sense.

I learned about how indexes are used, not just in theory but actually how MySQL looks for something within an index, and I learned about how I can use indexes to make it so MySQL doesn’t have to touch the underlying table data for some SELECT queries, (quite the speed enhancement there). I learned more about InnoDB than I thought I would know for quite some time. There’s a great appendix about the Sphinx search server, which is a product that I’ve been interested in for quite a while. The appendix gave me the introduction that I needed, and I hope to start using Sphinx to power some searches soon.

If you work with MySQL databases a lot, and especially if you are involved in designing them, then High Performance MySQL is a very good book to have on hand. Even if you don’t read it from cover to cover like I did it’s a great reference and will help you speed up your MySQL instances.

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