Enable or Disable Adaptive Hash Indexing in MySQL?


Deciding whether to enable or disable Adaptive Hash Indexing (AHI) in MySQL involves a careful evaluation of your database's workload characteristics and performance metrics. AHI can significantly speed up read operations for certain types of workloads but can also introduce overheads that may outweigh its benefits in others. Here's a structured approach to making this decision.

Approach to evaluate Adaptive Hash Indexing in MySQL

1. Understand Your Workload

  • Read-Intensive vs. Mixed Workloads: AHI is generally beneficial for read-intensive workloads, especially where the same data is queried repeatedly. However, for mixed or write-heavy workloads, the overhead of maintaining AHI may not be justified.
  • Access Patterns: Analyze if your queries frequently access the same rows. AHI is more effective for workloads with repetitive access patterns to a subset of data.

2. Monitor Performance Metrics

  • Buffer Pool Usage: Monitor the usage and efficiency of the InnoDB buffer pool. AHI is most effective when the working set of data fits well into the buffer pool.
  • CPU Utilization: High CPU utilization can sometimes be attributed to the overhead of maintaining AHI, especially in environments with high concurrency or rapidly changing data sets.

3. Evaluate System Resources

  • Memory and CPU Availability: Consider the available memory and CPU resources. AHI consumes additional memory and CPU cycles, so it's more suitable for systems with resources to spare.
  • I/O Capacity: If your system is I/O bound, AHI might help by reducing disk access, but if the system is CPU bound, adding AHI might exacerbate the bottleneck.

4. Conduct Performance Testing

  • Benchmarking: The most reliable way to decide on AHI's usefulness is through benchmarking. Test your workload with AHI enabled and disabled, and compare the performance metrics, especially query response times and system throughput.
  • Experiment in Staging Environment: Conduct these tests in a staging environment that closely mirrors your production environment.

5. Consider Maintenance Overhead

  • Contention and Locking: In environments with high write activity, AHI might introduce contention, as it needs to be updated with data changes. This can impact performance negatively.

6. Adjust AHI Configuration

  • MySQL allows partial enabling of AHI, where you can adjust the innodb_adaptive_hash_index_parts to control the degree of AHI partitioning, which can help reduce contention in high-concurrency environments.

7. Review Regularly

  • Periodic Review: Workload patterns can change over time, so it's important to periodically review whether AHI is beneficial for your current workload.


Deciding on the use of AHI in MySQL is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It requires a thorough understanding of your specific workload, regular performance monitoring, and careful testing. Adjusting the configuration based on empirical data and system resource availability is key to optimizing the performance of your MySQL database.

About Shiv Iyer 455 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.