Troubleshooting Mutex Contention in MySQL

Mutex contention occurs in MySQL when multiple threads attempt to access a shared resource, such as a data structure or a system resource, simultaneously. Because only one thread can access the resource at a time, the other threads are blocked until the resource becomes available.

When multiple threads are blocked, waiting for a mutex, the performance of the system can be impacted. The blocked threads consume resources and slow down the overall performance of the system.

To diagnose and resolve mutex contention issues in MySQL, you can use tools such as the Performance Schema, which provides detailed information about thread and resource usage, or the InnoDB Monitor, which provides information about the InnoDB storage engine’s performance and resource usage.

The Performance_Schema Database in MySQL provides a way to monitor mutex contention. Here’s how you can use it to monitor mutex contention:

The InnoDB Monitor in MySQL provides a way to monitor mutex contention. Here’s how you can use it to monitor mutex contention:

  1. Enable the InnoDB Monitor: To use the InnoDB Monitor, you need to enable it in your MySQL configuration file. Add the following line to the file and restart MySQL:
  1. Check for Mutex Contention: To check for mutex contention, you can query the SHOW ENGINE INNODB STATUS command. This command provides information about the performance and resource usage of the InnoDB storage engine.
  2. Analyze the Results: The results of the query will show information about mutex contention, including the number of spin rounds and waits for each mutex. If the number of spin rounds or waits for a mutex is high, it may indicate that mutex contention is occurring.
  3. Troubleshoot Mutex Contention: If you determine that mutex contention is occurring, you can take steps to resolve the issue. This may include tuning the configuration of your MySQL installation, upgrading to the latest version of MySQL, or seeking help from the MySQL community or a professional support organization.

Note that monitoring mutex contention using the InnoDB Monitor is just one aspect of performance tuning and optimization for your MySQL database. To get the best performance from your database, it’s recommended to regularly monitor the performance of your database and make changes as needed to address any performance issues that are identified.

Here are some steps you can take to configure MySQL to avoid mutex contention:

  1. Increase the number of connections: If you have a high volume of concurrent connections to the database, increasing the number of available connections can help reduce mutex contention. This can be done by adjusting the max_connections setting in the MySQL configuration file.
  2. Tune InnoDB buffer pool size: The InnoDB buffer pool is used to cache data and indexes in memory, reducing the number of disk I/O operations. Increasing the size of the buffer pool can reduce mutex contention by reducing the amount of disk I/O. This can be done by adjusting the innodb_buffer_pool_size setting in the MySQL configuration file.
  3. Tune table and index locking: In some cases, reducing the amount of locking performed by the database can help reduce mutex contention. This can be done by adjusting the innodb_lock_wait_timeout and innodb_table_locks settings in the MySQL configuration file.
  4. Monitor and adjust other settings: Other settings, such as innodb_thread_concurrency and innodb_read_io_threads, can also impact mutex contention. Monitor these settings and adjust them as necessary to reduce mutex contention.


Mutex contention in MySQL can significantly impact system performance by blocking threads and consuming resources. To diagnose and resolve this issue, utilize tools like the Performance Schema and InnoDB Monitor to monitor mutex contention. Key steps to mitigate mutex contention include optimizing the number of connections, tuning the InnoDB buffer pool size, adjusting table and index locking settings, and monitoring and adjusting other relevant MySQL configuration parameters. Proper configuration and monitoring are essential for optimizing MySQL performance and minimizing mutex contention.

About Shiv Iyer 456 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.