Concurrent migration execution

By default, Vitess schedules all migrations to run sequentially. Only a single migration is expected to run at any given time. However, there are cases for concurrent execution of migrations, and the user may request concurrent execution via --allow-concurrent flag in ddl_strategy.

Why not run concurrent migrations by default #

At the heart of schema migration management we are interested in ALTER DDLs that run for long periods of time. These will copy large amounts of data, perform many reads and writes, and overall affect the production server. They use built-in throttling mechanism to prevent harming production. The migration essentially competes with production traffic over resources.

We have found that running multiple such migrations concurrently increases resource competition substantially, and yields with overall higher wall clock migrations runtime compared with sequential execution.

Cases for concurrent migrations, supported by Vitess #

There are valid, even essential cases to running multiple migrations concurrently. Vitess supports the following scenarios:

  • Even though a long running ALTER may be running, a CREATE or DROP can be issued concurrently, with little to no effect on the migration and without competing over resources.
  • There can be an urgent need to revert a migration. Vitess can allow reverting a migration (or even multiple migrations) even as some other unrelated migration is in process.

Running a concurrent migration #

To run a migration concurrently, the user will add --allow-concurrent to the ddl_strategy. For example:

mysql> set @@ddl_strategy='vitess --allow-concurrent';
mysql> create table sample_table(id int primary key);

or, via vtctl:

vtctl ApplySchema -- --skip_preflight --ddl_strategy "vitess --allow-concurrent" -sql "REVERT VITESS_MIGRATION '3091ef2a_4b87_11ec_a827_0a43f95f28a3'"

Restrictions and eligibility #

  • To be eligible for concurrent execution, --allow-concurrent must be supplied.
  • Any CREATE and DROP DDL is eligible for concurrent execution.
  • Any REVERT request is eligible for concurrent execution.
  • There can be at most one non-concurrent (regular) migration running at any given time.
  • There may be an unlimited number of concurrent migrations running at any given time, on top of potentially a single non-concurrent migration.
  • But there will never be two migrations running concurrently that operate on the same table.

To clarify:

  • gh-ost and pt-osc ALTER migrations are not eligible to run concurrently
  • A "normal" vitess ALTER migration is not eligible to run concurrently. A REVERT of a vitess migration is eligible though.

Scheduling notes #

  • Multiple migrations can be in ready state. The scheduler will check them one by one to see which is eligible to next run.
  • Migrations will advance to running state one at a time, at most a few seconds apart.
  • A migration can be blocked from running if it operates on the same table as an already running migration.
  • While one or more migrations can be blocked from running, other migrations, even if submitted later, could start running, assuming no concurrency conflicts.