Move a MySQL / TokuDB database?

I’ve been having a look at TokuDB recently and I’m quite excited about some of its claims. But everything comes with its limitations! If you search Google for “move tokudb database” You’ll be presented with a big page of NO! Aside from moving the entire data directory the advice here is use mysqldump or change to another storage engine, i.e. MyISAM, before moving the database files.

Either of these options are fine when your data size is fairly small but when you run into the ten of gigabytes it’s simply not feasible. Thankfully there may be a workaround for this! This method for moving a TokuDB database is based on an idea I had for moving an InnoDB database but never attempted. Perhaps that’s for a future blog post!

WARNING – Please beware of this method. While I have not found any problems I have only attempted it in a particular set of circumstances. Your mileage may vary according to your own set of circumstances.  Ensure you have backups, a contingency plan, supervision of an adult etc. The process outlined assumes all your tables use the TokuDB storage engine. If you use a mixture of storage engines you will need to modify the process slightly.

  • Execute the following query on the source

N.B. You can probably get away with locking just the tables in the database you’re copying but I’m doing this to keep it simple for now. It’s probably sensible to leave the source locked for a short time to allow a checkpoint to occur. We don’t want any relevant data hanging about in the logs!

    •  Create an empty database on the destination.
    • Copy the database structure from source -> destination.
    • Map TokuDB files from source and destination. Each table will have a data file (main), a status file, and a file for each index. All these will have an extension of TokuDB. All files should have a matching counterpart. The datadir can be different you simply have to make sure all these files are mapped correctly. If you have some files that are not matched you have done something wrong. Some useful queries to assist;
FROM `information_schema`.`TokuDB_file_map`

Generate scp commands to transfer files from the source to the destination;

SELECT CONCAT(' scp /var/lib/mysql/', SUBSTR(internal_file_name, 3, 255), ' root@destination:/new/destination/')
FROM information_schema.`TokuDB_file_map`
WHERE `database` =  'your_database';

Using your mapping you also need to generate some mv commands to rename the files at the destination;

mv ./_your_database_source_XXXXXX_main_XX_XX_XX_XX.tokudb ./_your_database_destination_XXXXX_main_XX_XX_XX_XX.tokudb
mv ./_your_database_source_XXXXXX_status_XX_XX_XX_XX.tokudb ./_your_database_destination_XXXXX_status_XX_XX_XX_XX.tokudb
mv ./_your_database_source_XXXXXX_key1_XX_XX_XX_XX.tokudb ./_your_database_destination_XXXXX_key1_XX_XX_XX_XX.tokudb
  • Execute the scp commands to move the data files from source -> destination. No changes should be made on the source server database during this time.
  • Once the datafiles have been sucessfully moved you can UNLOCK the source server.
  • Rename the tokudb files on the destination server according to the mappings you generated earlier.
  • chown the files to mysql:mysql (or appropriate user/group).
  • Execute “mysql>FLUSH TABLES” on your destination server.
  • Check the integrity of your database using COUNT(*) statement, CHECK TABLE, CHECKSUM etc.
  • Check, and monitor, your mysql error log for any potential problems

It would probably be reasonably easy to to write a tool or script to automate this process. Does this method work for you? Please try and post a comment!


  1. Congrats for taking the time to figure this out! This is incredibly helpful!

  2. Rhys says:

    Hi Alexey,

    Yeah, was kind of a deal breaker for me. Let me know if you run into any issues.



  3. Rhys says:

    Hi Shantanu,

    Thanks for sharing.



  4. Vojtech Kurka says:

    I’m afraid that when you run


    there still *might* be some background activity of TokuDB, changing the data files. Of course, your solution might work at 99% situations but the last percents might bite you.

    In my opinion, you need to use a filesystem snapshot (LVM, ZFS…) which will guarantee a consistent state of the data files or shut down the (slave) server before copying the data.

  5. Rhys says:

    Hi Vojtech,

    Yes that’s why I recommend waiting a while but I guess there’s always a risk. The TokuDB guys said the same thing. I think shutting down the server as you mention would be the best option. This is just meant to be a POC. I certainly wouldn’t recommend doing this on your live servers.



  6. Josef says:

    Thanks for the article – does not work for 5.7.17-13 I keep getting

    Error Code: 1412. Table definition has changed, please retry transaction

    when running selects on the ported tables…

  7. Rhys says:

    Hi Josef,

    This article is more than three years old now so I guess any number of things could have changed since then.

    From the message you are getting I’d double check what you’re doing with the DDL for the ported table. MySQL thinks it’s not the same for some reason.



    P.S. Apologies for the late reply. I didn’t notice this comment was flagged as spam!

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