Keys and iteration

How VReplication utilizes keys on source and target tables, requirements and limitations

The use of unique keys #

A VReplication stream copies data from a table on a source target to a table on a target tablet. In some cases the two tablets may be the same one, but the stream is oblivious to such nuance. VReplication needs to be able to copy existing rows from the source table onto the target table, as well as identify binary log events from the source tablet, and apply them onto the target table. To that effect, VReplication needs to be able to uniquely identify rows, so that it can apply a specific UPDATE on the correct row, or so that it knows all rows up to a given row have been copied.

Each row needs to be uniquely identifiable. In the relational model this is trivially done by utilizing UNIQUE KEYs, preferably PRIMARY KEYs. A UNIQUE KEY made up of non-NULLable columns is considered a PRIMARY KEY equivalent (PKE) for this purpose.

Typically, both source and target table have similar structure, and same keys.

In fact, In the most common use case both tables will have same PRIMARY KEY covering same set of columns in same order. This is the default assumption and expectation by VReplication. But this doesn't have to be the case, and it is possible to have different keys on source and target table.

Which keys are eligible? #

Any UNIQUE KEY that is non-NULLable potentially qualifies. A NULLable UNIQUE KEY is a key that covers one or more NULLable columns. It doesn't matter if column values do or do not actually contain NULLs. If a column is NULLable, then a UNIQUE KEY that includes that column is not eligible.

PRIMARY KEYs are by definition always non-NULLable. A PRIMARY KEY (PK) is typically the best choice. It gives best iteration/read performance on InnoDB tables, as those are clustered by PK order.

PRIMARY KEY aside, VReplication prioritizes keys that utilize e.g. integers rather than texts, and more generally prioritizes smaller data types over larger data types.

However, not all eligible UNIQUE KEYs, or even PRIMARY KEYs are usable for all VReplication streams, as described below.

Comparable rows #

VReplication needs to be able to determine, given a row in the source table, which row it maps to in the target table.

In the case both tables share the same PRIMARY KEY, the answer is trivial: given a row from the source table, take the PK column values (say the table has PRIMARY KEY(col1, col2)), and compare with/apply to target table via ... WHERE col1=<val1> AND col2=<val2>.

However, other scenarios are valid. Consider an OnlineDDL operation that modifies the PRIMARY KEY as follows: DROP PRIMARY KEY, ADD PRIMARY KEY(col1). On the source table, a row is identified by col1, col2. On the target table, a row is only identifiable by col1. This scenario still feels comfortable: all we need to do when we apply e.g. an UPDATE statement on target table is to drop col2 from the statement: ... WHERE col1=<val1>.

Note that it is the user's responsibility to make sure the data will comply with the new constraints. If not, VReplication will fail the operation.

But consider the opposite case, there's a PRIMARY KEY(col1) and an OnlineDDL operation turns it into PRIMARY KEY(col1, col2). Now we need to apply changes ... WHERE col1=<val1> AND col2=<val2>. But col2 is not part of the source PRIMARY KEY.

An extreme case is when the keys on source table and target table do not share any columns between them. Say source table has PRIMARY KEY(col1) and target table has PRIMARY KEY(col2) and with no other potential keys. We still need to identify which row in source table maps to which row in the target table. VReplication still supports this scenario.

Yet another complication is when columns are renamed along the way. Consider a ALTER TABLE CHANGE COLUMN col2 col_two INT UNSIGNED .... A row on the source table is identified by col1, col2, but on the target table it is identified by col1, col_two.

Let's now discuss what the exact requirements are for unique keys, and then discuss implementation.

Requirements #

To be able to create a VReplication stream between source table and target table:

  • The source table must have a non-NULLable UNIQUE/PRIMARY key (PK or PKE) whose columns all exist in the target table (possibly under different names)
  • The target table must have a non-NULLable UNIQUE/PRIMARY key whose columns all exist in the source table (possibly under different names)
  • Except in the trivial case where both tables share same PRIMARY KEY (of same columns in same order), VReplication can automatically determine which keys to utilize (more on this later on)

To clarify, it is OK if:

  • Keys in source table and target table go by different names
  • Chosen key in source table and chosen key in target table do not share any columns
  • Chosen key in source table and chosen key in target table share some or all columns
  • Chosen key in source table and chosen key in target table share some or all columns but in different order
  • There are keys in source table that cover columns not present in target table
  • There are keys in target table that cover columns not present in source table
  • There are NULLable columns in source and target table
  • There are NULLable keys in source and target table

All it takes is one viable key that can be used to uniqely identify rows in the source table, and one such viable key in target table to allow VReplication to work.

Examples for valid cases #

Source table and target table are same: #

CREATE TABLE `entry` (
  `id` int NOT NULL,
  `uuid` varchar(40) DEFAULT NULL,
  `ts` timestamp NULL DEFAULT NULL,
  `customer_id` int NOT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY (`id`)
)

The above is the trivial scenario.

Source table and target table share same PRIMARY KEY #

CREATE TABLE `source` (
  `id` int NOT NULL,
  `uuid` varchar(40) DEFAULT NULL,
  `ts` timestamp NULL DEFAULT NULL,
  `customer_id` int ,
  PRIMARY KEY (`id`),
  KEY ts_idx(`ts`)
)

CREATE TABLE `target` (
  `id` int NOT NULL,
  `uuid` varchar(40) DEFAULT NULL,
  `ts` timestamp NULL DEFAULT NULL,
  `customer_id` int NOT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY (`id`)
)

The differences in structure are interesting, but irrelevant to VReplication's ability to copy the data.

Subset PRIMARY KEY #

CREATE TABLE `source` (
  `id` int NOT NULL,
  `uuid` varchar(40) DEFAULT NULL,
  `ts` timestamp NULL DEFAULT NULL,
  `customer_id` int NOT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY (`id`, `customer_id`)
)

CREATE TABLE `target` (
  `id` int NOT NULL,
  `uuid` varchar(40) DEFAULT NULL,
  `ts` timestamp NULL DEFAULT NULL,
  `customer_id` int NOT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY (`id`)
)

Superset PRIMARY KEY #

CREATE TABLE `source` (
  `id` int NOT NULL,
  `uuid` varchar(40) DEFAULT NULL,
  `ts` timestamp NULL DEFAULT NULL,
  `customer_id` int NOT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY (`id`)
)

CREATE TABLE `target` (
  `id` int NOT NULL,
  `uuid` varchar(40) DEFAULT NULL,
  `ts` timestamp NULL DEFAULT NULL,
  `customer_id` int NOT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY (`id`, `customer_id`)
)

Different PRIMARY KEYs #

CREATE TABLE `source` (
  `id` int NOT NULL,
  `uuid` varchar(40) NOT NULL,
  `ts` timestamp NULL DEFAULT NULL,
  `customer_id` int NOT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY (`id`)
)

CREATE TABLE `target` (
  `id` int NOT NULL,
  `uuid` varchar(40) NOT NULL,
  `ts` timestamp NULL DEFAULT NULL,
  `customer_id` int NOT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY (`uuid`)
)

No columns are shared between the PRIMARY KEYs in the above. However:

  • id, covered by source's PK, is found in target
  • uuid, covered by target's PK, is found in source

Mixed keys #

CREATE TABLE `source` (
  `uuid` varchar(40) NOT NULL,
  `ts` timestamp NULL DEFAULT NULL,
  `customer_id` int NOT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY (`uuid`)
)

CREATE TABLE `target` (
  `id` int NOT NULL,
  `uuid` varchar(40) NOT NULL,
  `ts` timestamp NULL DEFAULT NULL,
  `customer_id` int NOT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY (`id`)
  UNIQUE KEY uuid_idx(`uuid`)
)

The only eligible solution in the above is:

  • Use source's PRIMARY KEY (the column uuid is found in target)
  • Use target's uuid_idx key (again using column uuid which is found in source).

target's PRIMARY KEY is not valid because covered column id does not exist in source.

Incidentally, in the above, the chosen keys differ by name, but share the same columns (uuid).

Examples for invalid cases #

NULLable columns #

CREATE TABLE `source` (
  `id` int NOT NULL,
  `uuid` varchar(40) DEFAULT NULL,
  `ts` timestamp NULL DEFAULT NULL,
  `customer_id` int NOT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY (`id`)
)

CREATE TABLE `target` (
  `id` int NOT NULL,
  `uuid` varchar(40) DEFAULT NULL,
  `ts` timestamp NULL DEFAULT NULL,
  `customer_id` int NOT NULL,
  UNIQUE KEY (`uuid`)
)

The only UNIQUE KEY on target is NULLable, hence not eligible.

Missing columns #

CREATE TABLE `source` (
  `uuid` varchar(40) NOT NULL,
  `ts` timestamp NULL DEFAULT NULL,
  `customer_id` int NOT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY (`uuid`)
)

CREATE TABLE `target` (
  `id` int NOT NULL,
  `uuid` varchar(40) NOT NULL,
  `ts` timestamp NULL DEFAULT NULL,
  `customer_id` int NOT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY (`id`)
)

target only has one possible key, the PRIMARY KEY, covering id. But id is not found in source.

Configuring the stream #

If both source and target table share the same PRIMARY KEY (covering same columns in same order) then there's nothing to be done. VReplication will pick PRIMARY KEY on both ends by default.

In all other cases, VReplication must determine which keys are involved and which ones to use.

Example 1 #

Let's begin again as a trivial example, both tables have same PRIMARY KEYs:

CREATE TABLE `corder` (
  `order_id` bigint NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT,
  `customer_id` bigint DEFAULT NULL,
  `sku` varbinary(128) DEFAULT NULL,
  `price` bigint DEFAULT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY (`order_id`)
)

And even though we don't have to, here's how we could manually configure the VReplication workflow definition (prettified for readability):

keyspace:"commerce" shard:"0" filter:{
  rules:{
    match:"corder" 
    filter:"select `order_id` as `order_id`, `customer_id` as `customer_id`, `sku` as `sku`, `price` as `price` from `corder`" 
    source_unique_key_columns:"order_id" 
    target_unique_key_columns:"order_id" 
    source_unique_key_target_columns:"order_id"
  }
}

In the above:

  • source_unique_key_columns is the (comma delimited) list of columns covered by the chosen key on source table
  • target_unique_key_columns is the (comma delimited) list of columns covered by the chosen key on target table
  • source_unique_key_target_columns is the (comma delimited) list of column names in target table, which map to source_unique_key_columns. This mapping is necessary because columns may change their names.

Example 2 #

Again both source and target table share same PRIMARY KEY, but this time it covers two columns:

CREATE TABLE `shipment` (
  `order_id` int NOT NULL,
  `customer_id` int NOT NULL,
  `ts` timestamp NULL DEFAULT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY (`order_id`,`customer_id`)
)
keyspace:"commerce" shard:"0" filter:{
  rules:{
    match:"_a363f199_f4f8_11eb_a520_0a43f95f28a3_20210804075030_vrepl" 
    filter:"select `order_id` as `order_id`, `customer_id` as `customer_id`, `ts` as `ts` from `shipment`" 
    source_unique_key_columns:"order_id,customer_id" 
    target_unique_key_columns:"order_id,customer_id" 
    source_unique_key_target_columns:"order_id,customer_id"
  }
}

Not much changed from the previous example, just note how we comma separate "order_id,customer_id"

Example 3 #

Continuing previous example, we now rename a column the target table:

CREATE TABLE `shipment` (
  `order_id` int NOT NULL,
  `cust_id` int NOT NULL,
  `ts` timestamp NULL DEFAULT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY (`order_id`,`cust_id`)
)
keyspace:"commerce" shard:"0" filter:{
  rules:{
    match:"_e285cc54_f369_11eb_afef_0a43f95f28a3_20210802081607_vrepl"
    filter:"select `order_id` as `order_id`, `customer_id` as `cust_id`, `ts` as `ts` from `shipment`" 
    source_unique_key_columns:"order_id,customer_id" 
    target_unique_key_columns:"order_id,cust_id" 
    source_unique_key_target_columns:"order_id,cust_id"
  }
}

Note:

  • source_unique_key_columns indicates names of columns on source table
  • target_unique_key_columns indicates names of columns on target table
  • source_unique_key_target_columns repeats source_unique_key_columns, but replaces customer_id with cust_id

Automation #

OnlineDDL has a mechanism to automatically analyze the differences between source and target tables, evaluate eligible keys, choose the keys on source and target tables, and populate the filter's source_unique_key_columns, target_unique_key_columns, source_unique_key_target_columns fields. Indeed, OnlineDDL operations are most susceptible to differences in keys. The user can also supply their chosen values as an override β€” using those fields in the workflow definition β€” in the rare case it's needed.

VReplication more broadly will automatically use the most efficient PRIMARY KEY equivalent (non-NULLable unique key) when there's no defined PRIMARY KEY on the table.

Implementation #

At a high level, this is how VReplication is able to work with different keys/columns.

Originally, VReplication was only designed to work with identical PRIMARY KEYs. If not specified, VReplication assumed the source table's PRIMARY KEY can be used on target table, and that target table's PRIMARY KEY applied to the source table. If not, it would error out and the workflow would fail.

With the introduction of mechanisms to automatically determine the optimal key to use and of the source_unique_key_columns, target_unique_key_columns, source_unique_key_target_columns fields for more fine-grained control, VReplication changes behavior as follows:

Notes about the code #

Much of the code uses "PK" terminology. With the introduction of any unique key utilization the "PK" terminology becomes incorrect. However, to avoid mass rewrites we kept this terminology, and wherever VReplication discusses a PRIMARY KEY or pkColumns etc., it may refer to a non-PK Unique Key (PKE).

Streamer #

Streaming is done using the source_unique_key_columns value, if present. When present, rowstreamer trusts the information in source_unique_key_columns to be correct. It does not validate that there is indeed a valid unique key covering those columns, it only validates that the columns exist. When a source_unique_key_columns value is not present, rowstreamer uses the PRIMARY KEY columns if they exist, otherwise it will determine the best available PRIMARY KEY equivalent if one exists, and lastly if none of these are available it will use all of the columns in the table.

The streamer iterates the table by the chosen index's column order. It then tracks its progress in lastPk as if this was indeed a true PRIMARY KEY.

Copier #

VCopier receives rows from the streamer in the chosen index's column order. It complies with the streamer's ordering. When tracking progress in _vt.copy_state it uses lastPk values from the streamer, which means it uses the same index columns as the streamer in that order.

Player #

VPlayer adhers to both source_unique_key_columns and target_unique_key_columns when present. If not present, again it attempts to use the PRIMARY KEY columns if they exist, otherwise it will determine the best available PRIMARY KEY equivalent if one exists, and lastly if none of these are available it will use all of the columns in the table.

  • TablePlan's isOutsidePKRange() function needs to compare values according to rowstreamer's ordering, therefore uses the chosen index columns in order
  • tablePlanBuilder's generateWhere() function uses the target table's target_unique_key_columns, and then also appends any supplemental columns from source_unique_key_target_columns not included in target_unique_key_columns when they are present. If not present, again it attempts to use the PRIMARY KEY columns if they exist, otherwise it will determine the best available PRIMARY KEY equivalent if one exists, and lastly if none of these are available it will use all of the columns in the table.