MariaDB Galera Cluster - Known Limitations

This article contains information on known problems and limitations of MariaDB Galera Cluster.

Limitations from

  • Currently replication works only with the InnoDB storage engine. Any writes to tables of other types, including system (mysql.*) tables are not replicated (this limitation excludes DDL statements such as CREATE USER, which implicitly modify the mysql.* tables those are replicated). There is however experimental support for MyISAM - see the wsrep_replicate_myisam system variable)
  • All tables should have a primary key (multi-column primary keys are supported). DELETE operations are unsupported on tables without a primary key. Also, rows in tables without a primary key may appear in a different order on different nodes.
  • Transaction size. While Galera does not explicitly limit the transaction size, a writeset is processed as a single memory-resident buffer and as a result, extremely large transactions (e.g. LOAD DATA) may adversely affect node performance. To avoid that, the wsrep_max_ws_rows and wsrep_max_ws_size system variables limit transaction rows to 128K and the transaction size to 2Gb by default. If necessary, users may want to increase those limits. Future versions will add support for transaction fragmentation.

Other observations, in no particular order:

  • If you are using mysqldump for state transfer, and it failed for whatever reason (e.g. you do not have the database account it attempts to connect with, or it does not have necessary permissions), you will see an SQL SYNTAX error in the server error log. Don't let it fool you, this is just a fancy way to deliver a message (the pseudo-statement inside of the bogus SQL will actually contain the error message).
  • Do not use transactions of any essential size. Just to insert 100K rows, the server might require additional 200-300 Mb. In a less fortunate scenario it can be 1.5 Gb for 500K rows, or 3.5 Gb for 1M rows. See MDEV-466 for some numbers (you'll see that it's closed, but it's not closed because it was fixed).
  • Locking is lax when DDL is involved. For example, if your DML transaction uses a table, and a parallel DDL statement is started, in the normal MySQL setup it would have waited for the metadata lock, but in Galera context it will be executed right away. It happens even if you are running a single node, as long as you configured it as a cluster node. See also MDEV-468. This behavior might cause various side-effects, the consequences have not been investigated yet. Try to avoid such parallelism.
  • A command may fail with ER_UNKNOWN_COM_ERROR producing 'WSREP has not yet prepared node for application use' (or 'Unknown command' in older versions) error message. It happens when a cluster is suspected to be split and the node is in a smaller part for example, during a network glitch, when nodes temporarily lose each other. It can also occur during state transfer. The node takes this measure to prevent data inconsistency. Its usually a temporary state which can be detected by checking wsrep_ready value. The node, however, allows SHOW and SET command during this period.
  • After a temporary split, if the 'good' part of the cluster was still reachable and its state was modified, resynchronization occurs. As a part of it, nodes of the 'bad' part of the cluster drop all client connections. It might be quite unexpected, especially if the client was idle and did not even know anything wrong was happening. Please also note that after the connection to the isolated node is restored, if there is a flow on the node, it takes a long time for it to synchronize, during which the "good" node says that the cluster is already of the normal size and synced, while the rejoining node says it's only joined (but not synced). The connections keep getting 'unknown command'. It should pass eventually.
  • While binlog_format is checked on startup and can only be ROW (see Binary Log Formats), it can be changed at runtime. Do NOT change binlog_format at runtime, it is likely not only cause replication failure, but make all other nodes crash.
  • If you are using rsync for state transfer, and a node crashes before the state transfer is over, rsync process might hang forever, occupying the port and not allowing to restart the node. The problem will show up as 'port in use' in the server error log. Find the orphan rsync process and kill it manually.
  • Performance: by design performance of the cluster cannot be higher than performance of the slowest node; however, even if you have only one node, its performance can be considerably lower comparing to running the same server in a standalone mode (without wsrep provider). It is particularly true for big enough transactions (even those which are well within current limitations on transaction size quoted above).
  • Windows is not supported.
  • Flashback isn't supported in Galera due to incompatible binary log format.
  • FLUSH PRIVILEGES is not replicated.
  • In an asynchronous replication setup where a master replicates to a galera node acting as slave, parallel replication (slave-parallel-threads > 1) on slave is currently not supported (see MDEV-6860).


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