Monitoring Query Memory Consumption in MySQL with Performance Schema


Monitoring memory consumption by queries in MySQL using the Performance Schema is a vital aspect of database performance tuning. The Performance Schema, available in MySQL, provides detailed insights into how memory is allocated and used by various server operations, including query execution. Here’s how to utilize it for monitoring memory consumption.

Step 1: Enable MySQL Performance Schema

Ensure that the Performance Schema is enabled in your MySQL instance. It is enabled by default in most MySQL installations. You can check its status by running:

If it’s not enabled, you can turn it on by setting performance_schema = ON in your MySQL configuration file (my.cnf or my.ini) and restarting the server.

Step 2: Focus on Memory Summary Tables

The Performance Schema includes several tables that provide information about memory usage. Key tables for analyzing memory consumption by queries include:

  • performance_schema.memory_summary_global_by_event_name: This table aggregates memory usage globally by event.
  • performance_schema.memory_summary_by_thread_by_event_name: Use this table for more detailed analysis by thread, useful for understanding memory usage patterns of specific connections or queries.

Step 3: Query the Memory Summary Tables

Run queries against the memory summary tables to get insights into memory usage. For example, to see global memory consumption by event:

Step 4: Analyze Memory Consumption Patterns

  • High Memory Usage: Look for events with high memory allocation. These might point to queries or operations that are memory-intensive.
  • Free vs. Alloc: Compare bytes allocated versus bytes freed to identify potential areas where memory may not be efficiently released.

Step 5: Correlate with Specific Queries

If you identify specific operations or threads consuming significant memory, correlate these with actual queries. This can involve correlating thread IDs from the memory summary tables with specific queries from other tables like events_statements_current.

Step 6: Combine with Other Diagnostic Approaches

  • EXPLAIN Statement: Combine memory usage data with EXPLAIN or EXPLAIN ANALYZE output to understand the memory implications of query execution plans.
  • Server Status Variables: Analyze MySQL server status variables related to memory, such as Innodb_buffer_pool_bytes_data and Innodb_buffer_pool_bytes_dirty.

Step 7: Regular Monitoring and Alerting

  • Automated Monitoring: Set up regular monitoring scripts or use third-party tools to continuously monitor memory usage patterns.
  • Alerting: Implement alerting mechanisms based on thresholds to proactively manage memory consumption.


The Performance Schema is a powerful tool for diagnosing memory usage in MySQL, allowing you to pinpoint which queries or operations are consuming the most memory. Regular monitoring and analysis of memory consumption are crucial for optimizing database performance and preventing issues related to excessive memory usage. Remember, memory optimization is an ongoing process, and it's important to periodically review and adjust your strategies based on current workload patterns.

About Shiv Iyer 444 Articles
Open Source Database Systems Engineer with a deep understanding of Optimizer Internals, Performance Engineering, Scalability and Data SRE. Shiv currently is the Founder, Investor, Board Member and CEO of multiple Database Systems Infrastructure Operations companies in the Transaction Processing Computing and ColumnStores ecosystem. He is also a frequent speaker in open source software conferences globally.