MySQL 8.0: Support for BLOBs in TempTable engine

In some cases, the server creates internal temporary tables while processing statements. These tables could be stored in memory or on disk – the first option is preferred but there exist some limitations. One of such restrictions was presence of TEXT or BLOB columns in the table; as in-memory storage engines (MEMORY and TempTable) did not supported these types server had to use the on-disk engine (InnoDB or MyISAM). But this is no longer true.

The Change

The TempTable engine was extended with the support for columns with BLOB-like storage – that includes BLOB, TEXT, JSON or geometry types. The change reuses solutions that were created before to provide efficient storage for VARCHAR and VARBINARY columns:

  • When there are any columns with BLOB-like storage then the same row format as for tables with VARCHAR/VARBINARY data is used: each cell containing a NULL flag, the data length, and a data pointer.
  • Column values are placed in consecutive order after the array, in a single region of memory, without padding.
  • Rules of use of temporary files as an overflow mechanism remain unchanged.

After this change is introduced server would store internal temporary tables with BLOBs using TempTable engine (if it configured as the one to be used for in-memory temporary tables; it is the default setting). It is still possible to force storing internal temporary tables on disk with the big_tables system variable.


The main goal of this change was to get performance improvement when server is using internal temporary tables with BLOB columns. At the same time the impact on tables not using such types (supported already) should be none or minimal.

No impact on tables without BLOBs

Sysbench tool was used to measure the impact of change for tables without BLOB-like storage. All results for such tables were within +/-1% difference between original and modified version showing that there is none or minimal impact.

Performance gain on tables with JSON colums

The sysbench was also used to measure performance gain for tables with JSON columns. The example results below are from tests that were running on machine with two E5-2699 v4 @ 2.20ghz CPUs, the data size used was 127GB, range size set to 500.

Benchmark Gain
16 threads 32 threads 64 threads
JSON_SQL_RW 33.72% 47.63% 71.21%
JSON_SQL_RO 89.51% 127.69% 215.08%
JSON_SQL_DISTINCT_RANGE 388.31% 530.95% 791.24%

Similar benchmarks (with smaller data size) were also done on less powerful machine running Windows:

Benchmark Gain
16 threads 32 threads 64 threads
JSON_SQL_RW 31.55% 41.30% 48.88%
JSON_SQL_RO 42.85% 41.09% 45.33%
JSON_SQL_DISTINCT_RANGE 107.27% 96.39% 95.67%
Custom test

Additional custom test was also created to check the performance and behavior on different data sets. Three tables were prepared:

Then following queries were executed:

The results on i5-4690K machine, in seconds:

Query Temptable InnoDB Gain
DISTINCT, repeating values 16.75 17.10 2.02%
GROUP BY, repeating values 3.04 3.30 7.68%
GROUP BY, repeating values 4.67 4.94 5.50%
DISTINCT, unique values 3.40 8.43 59.66%
GROUP BY, unique values, substring repeating 1.58 2.57 38.62%
GROUP BY, unique values, substring repeating 2.16 3.70 41.78%
JOIN 35.46 37.98 6.64%


The benchmark results presented above show that users should get a performance boost when executing queries for which server needs to create temporary tables.

As always, a big thank you for using MySQL and let us know your feedback!

Leave a Reply