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5773fd2 Sep 1, 2016
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Cut-over step

The cut-over is the final major step of the migration: it's the moment where your original table is pushed aside, and the ghost table (the one we secretly altered and operated on throughout the process) takes its place.

MySQL poses some limitations on how the table swap can take place. While it supports an atomic swap, it does not allow a connection to swap tables it holds under lock.

The facebook OSC tool documents this nicely. Look for "Cut-over phase". The Facebook solution uses a non-atomic swap: the original table is first renamed and pushed aside, then the ghost table is renamed to take its place. In between the two renames there's a brief period of time where your table just does not exist, and queries will fail.

gh-ost solves this by using an atomic, two-step blocking swap: while one connection holds the lock, another attempts the atomic RENAME. The RENAME is guaranteed to not be executed prematurely by positioning a sentry table which blocks the RENAME operation until gh-ost is satisfied all is in order.

This solution either:

  • executes successfully, in which case the tables are swapped atomically and pending connections are blocked for a brief period of time, proceeding to operate on the newly migrated table
  • or fails, due to timeout or death of some connection, in which case we are naturally returning to pre-cut-over phase, where the original table is still in place and accessible. This releases the pending connections, which are able again to write to the table, and gh-ost is then able to make another attempt at the cut-over.

Also note:

  • With --migrate-on-replica the cut-over is executed in exactly the same way as on master.
  • With --test-on-replica the replication is first stopped; then the cut-over is executed just as on master, but then reverted (tables rename forth then back again).

Internals of the atomic cut-over are discussed in Issue #82.

At this time the command-line argument --cut-over is supported, and defaults to the atomic cut-over algorithm described above. Also supported is --cut-over=two-step, which uses the FB non-atomic algorithm. We recommend using the default cut-over that has been battle tested in our production environments.