Customizing the Write-Set Cache Size

Length: 467 words; Published: June 24, 2015; Updated: October 22, 2019; Category: Performance; Type: Best Practices

You can define the size of the write-set cache using the gcache.size parameter. The set the size to one less than that of the data directory.


If you have storage issues, there are some guidelines to consider in adjusting this issue. For example, your preferred state snapshot method. rsync and xtrabackup copy the InnoDB log files, while mysqldump does not. So, if you use mysqldump for state snapshot transfers, you can subtract the size of the log files from your calculation of the data directory size.


Incremental State Transfers (IST) copies the database five times faster over mysqldump and about 50% faster than xtrabackup. Meaning that your cluster can handle relatively large write-set caches. However, bear in mind that you cannot provision a server with Incremental State Transfers.


As a general rule, start with the data directory size, including any possible links, then subtract the size of the ring buffer storage file, which is called galera.cache by default.

If storage remains an issue, you can further refine these calculations with the database write rate. The write rate indicates the tail length that the cluster stores in the write-set cache.

You can calculate this using the wsrep_received_bytes status variable.

  1. Determine the size of the write-sets the node has received from the cluster:

    SHOW STATUS LIKE 'wsrep_received_bytes';
    | Variable name          | Value     |
    | wsrep_received_bytes   | 6637093   |

    Note the value and time, respective as \(recv_1\) and \(time_1\).

  2. Run the same query again, noting the value and time, respectively, as \(recv_2\) and \(time_2\).

  3. Apply these values to the following equation:

    \[write\_rate = \frac{ recv_2 - recv_1 }{ time_2 - time_1}\]

From the write rate you can determine the amount of time the cache remains valid. When the cluster shows a node as absent for a period of time less than this interval, the node can rejoin the cluster through an incremental state transfer. Node that remains absent for longer than this interval will likely require a full state snapshot transfer to rejoin the cluster.

You can determine the period of time the cache remains valid using this equation:

\[period = \frac{ cachesize } { write\_rate }\]

Conversely, if you already know the period in which you want the write-set cache to remain valid, you can use instead this equation:

\[cachesize = write\_rate \times time\]

This equation can show how the size of the write-set cache can improve performance. For instance, say you find that cluster nodes frequently request state snapshot transfers. Increasing the gcache.size parameter extends the period in which the write-set remains valid, allowing the nodes to update instead through incremental state transfers.


Consider these configuration tips as guidelines only. For example, in cases where you must avoid state snapshot transfers as much as possible, you may end up using a much larger write-set cache than suggested above.