Friday, April 05, 2019

Manual for dbt2-, fully automated Sysbench and DBT2 benchmarking with NDB

The link dbt2.0.37.50 manual provides the details of how to use the dbt2-0.37.50 scripts
to execute benchmarks using MySQL Cluster.

These scripts can be used to execute automated test runs of Sysbench, DBT2 and
FlexAsynch. I also use it to start up NDB Clusters to run DBT3 benchmarks and
YCSB benchmarks.

This set of scripts originates from 2006 when I wanted to automate all my benchmark
efforts. The most challenging benchmarks constitute starting more than 100 programs
to work together and using more than 100 machines. This requires automation to
be succesful.

Now running any benchmark is a 1-liner e.g.
./ --default-directory /path/to/dir --init

The preparation to run this benchmark is to place a file called autobench.conf in
/path/to/dir. This contains the configuration of the NDB data nodes, NDB MGM
servers, MySQL Servers and the benchmark programs. Multiple benchmark
programs are supported for Sysbench, DBT2 and flexAsynch.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

MySQL Cluster 7.6.8 performance jump of up to 240%

In February I added a new feature to my Sysbench version that I use in
my MySQL Cluster testing. This new feature adds a new column in the
table called filter. It contains the same value as the primary key.

With this new column I can easily change the range scan queries in
sysbench from returning 100 rows to instead scan 100 rows and
return 1 row. This means that sysbench can benchmark the filtering
performance of the underlying database engine.

Next I ran tests where set the number of rows in the range to
10.000 rows. This new test was a perfect vehicle to improve performance
in NDB for scan filtering.

Filtering one row in 7.6.7 in this sysbench tests costs about 750 ns.

When I started out optimising these 750 ns of time I didn't expect so
much improvement, but using perf it was possible to get very
fine-grained pinpointing of the wasted CPU performance. One
interesting thing was that I found a bitmask that had zeroing of the
bitmask in the constructor, it turned out that this constructor was
called twice in filtering a row and neither of them was required.
So fixing this simple thing removed about 20 ns of CPU usage and
in this case about 3-4% performance improvement.

As you can see this is micro-optimisations and for those perf is a
splendid tool.

One of the biggest reasons for bad performance in modern software
applications is instruction cache misses. Most modern software
is packed with features and this requires a lot of code to handle.
The compiler has a hard time knowing which code is the common
path and which path is the error handling path.

In the MySQL code we have two macro's likely and unlikely that
can hint the compiler what code path to optimise for.

In this code path I was optimising I found that I had roughly 1 billion
instruction cache misses over a short period (20 seconds if I remember
correctly). I managed with numerous changes to decrease the number
of instruction cache misses to 100 million in the same amount of time.

I also found some simple fixes that cut away a third of the processing time.

In the end I found myself looking at the cost being brought down to around
250ns. So comparing the performance of this scan filtering with 7.5.10 we
have optimised this particular code path by 240%.

During the development of these improvements of scan filtering, I discovered
that some of the optimisations could be applied also to searching in our
ordered indexes. The impact of this is that the index rebuild phase of a restart
will go faster, I haven't measured the exact impact this has yet. It also means
that any application using ordered indexes will go a lot faster.

For example performance of a standard Sysbench OLTP RW benchmark
with one added ordered index column improves by 70% in 7.6.8
compared to earlier versions of 7.6 and 7.5.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Non-blocking Two-phase commit in NDB Cluster

Non-blocking 2PC protocol

Many of the new DBMSs developed in the last 10 years have abandoned the
two-phase commit protocol and instead relied on replication protocols.

One of the main reasons for this has been the notion that two-phase commit
protocol is a blocking protocol. This is true for the classic version of the
two-phase commit protocol.

When NDB Cluster was developed in the 1990s we had requirements that
the replication protocol could not be blocking. A competitor at the time,
ClustRa, solved this by using a backup transaction coordinator. Given that
NDB Cluster had requirements to survive multiple simultaneous node failures,
this wasn't sufficient.

Thus a new two-phase commit protocol was developed that is completely
non-blocking. The main idea is that one uses a take-over protocol, this means
that any number of nodes can crash and we can still handle it as long as there
is enough nodes to keep all data available.

In addition NDB Cluster is designed both for Disk Durable transactions
and Network Durable transactions. Disk Durable transactions requires
data to be durable on disk when the transaction have committed and
Network Durable requires that the transaction is on at least 2 computers
when the transaction is committed.

Due to the response time requirements for applications that NDB Cluster
was designed for, we implemented it such that when applications received
the response the transaction was Network Durable.

The Disk Durability is handled in a background phase where data is
consistently flushed to disk such that we can always recover a consistent
version of the data even in the presence of a complete failure of the

This part is handled by the Global Checkpoint protocol. The PDF above
describes the transaction protocol and the global checkpoint protocol that
together implement the Network Durability and Disk Durability of NDB

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Basics of MySQL Cluster

Basics of MySQL Cluster

This PDF introduces the basic architecture of MySQL Cluster and how to
access it with various APIs.