0 - Packet

Client - server exchanges are done using the following format:

Standard packet

The standard MySQL/MariaDB packet has a 4 bytes header + packet body.

Packet length is the length of the packet body. Packet length size cannot be more than 3 bytes length value. The actual length of the packet is calculated as from the 3 bytes as length = byte[0] + (byte[1]<<8) + (byte[2]<<16). The maximum size of a packet (with all 3 bytes 0xff) is 16777215 , or 2^24-1 or 0xffffff, or 16MB-1byte.

The sequence number indicates the exchange number when an exchange demands different exchanges. Whenever the client sends a query, the sequence number is set to 0 initially, and is incremented if clients need to split packets. In more complex situations, when the client and server exchange several packets, e.g authentication handshake, the rule of thumb for clients is to set sequence nr = (last seq.nr from received server packet + 1)

Example: Sending a COM_PING packet COM_PING body has only one byte (0x10):

01 00 00 00 10

The server will then return an OK_Packet response with a sequence number of 1.

Packet splitting

As mentioned, the packet length is 3 bytes making a maximum size of (2^24 -1) bytes or 16Mbytes-1byte. But the protocol allows sending and receiving larger data. For those cases, the client can send many packets for the same data, incrementing the sequence number for each packet.

The principle is to split data by chunks of 16MBytes. When the server receives a packet with 0xffffff length, it will continue to read the next packet. In case of a length of exactly 16MBytes, an empty packet must terminate the sequence.

Example max_allowed_packet is set to a value > to 40 Mbytes Sending a 40M bytes packet body : standard_packet
First packet will be :

ff ff ff 00 ...

second packet will be

ff ff ff 01 ...

third packet will be

02 00 80 02 ...

The client must be aware of the max_allowed_packet variable value. The server will have a buffer to store the body with a maximum size corresponding to this max_allowed_packet value. If the client sends more data than max_allowed_packet size, the socket will be closed.

Note that data of exact size size 2^24 -1 byte must be sent in 2 packets, the first one with length prefix 0xffffff, and the second one with length 0 (length byte 0x000000, seqno incremented). Generally, if data length is an exact multiple of 2^24-1, it must always be followed by an empty packet.

Compressed packet

For slow connections, the packet can be compressed. This is activated after the handshake-response-packet when the client indicates [[1-connecting-connecting#capabilities|COMPRESS] capability with the server having this functionality too.

When activated, packets will be composed of 7 bytes a compress header + data. The compression algorithm used is is ZLIB, widely available and supported by many languages and runtimes.

  • int<3> compress packet length
  • int<1> compress sequence number
  • int<3> uncompress packet length
  • byte<n> compress body
    • compress body contains one or many standard packets but can be compressed:
      • one or many standard packets :

Since compress body can contain many "standard packets", compress sequence number is incremented separately from sequence number.

For small packets, using compression won't be efficient, so the client can choose to send uncompressed data.
That is done by setting the compressed packet length to the real length and the uncompressed packet length to 0. (Data must then be uncompressed).

Example: Sending a COM_PING packet COM_PING body when COMPRESS is enabled. This is 1 byte of data that has then no reason to be compressed, so:

01 00 00 00 00 00 00 01 00 00 00 10

The server will then return an OK_Packet response with a compress sequence number of 1, and a sequence number of 1.

Compression packet splitting

The server will uncompress data and then must have the same packet than if there was no compression. If data size needs splitting, it's better to separate compress packet.



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