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MySQL Exotic Storage Engines

Apr 08, 2010, 19:02 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Sean Hull)

"MySQL has an interesting architecture that sets it apart from some other enterprise database systems. It allows you to plug in different modules to handle storage. What that means to end users is that it is quite flexible, offering an interesting array of different storage engines with different features, strengths, and tradeoffs.

"In Survey of MySQL Storage Engines, we discussed some of the more common storage engines, MyISAM the default, InnoDB, Archive, Merge, Memory, CSV and NDB. This time we'll cover some of the newest and more exotic storage engines, and even some that are still in development.

"Blackhole

"This storage engine acts like Unix's tried and true /dev/null. At first glance, /dev/null seems kind of useless; why would I need that, you might think. However, it turns out to be quite useful, and can be used for instance by scripts to suppress the output of stdout or stderr. It can also be used to overwrite a file with nothing, i.e. delete contents but keep the file in place. If you have a program that requires a file to store information that for some reason you don't want stored, for instance your friendly neighborhood browser, you can use /dev/null as a creative trick to send such output into a virtual blackhole.

"In this way, applications that store their information in tables can use the blackhole storage engine if they want that information to disappear automatically. Create a view for the application to use, and then point the view at a real table for storage, or a blackhole table when you don't want the information to be persistent. Privacy related applications come to mind."

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