Posted on

Tool of the day: inotify

I was actually exploring inotify-tools for something else, but they can also be handy for seeing what goes on below a mysqld process. inotify hooks into the filesystem handlers, and sees which files are accessed. You can then set triggers, or just display a tally over a certain period.

It has been a standard Linux kernel module since 2.6.13 (2005, wow that’s a long time ago already) and can be used through calls or the inotify-tools (commandline). So with the instrumentation already in the kernel, apt-get install inotify-tools is all you need to get started.

 # inotifywatch -v -t 20 -r /var/lib/mysql/* /var/lib/mysql/zabbix/*
Establishing watches...
Setting up watch(es) on /var/lib/mysql/mysql/user.frm
OK, /var/lib/mysql/mysql/user.frm is now being watched.
Total of 212 watches.
Finished establishing watches, now collecting statistics.
Will listen for events for 60 seconds.
total  modify  filename
2371   2371    /var/lib/mysql/
2148   2148    /var/lib/mysql/
1157   1157    /var/lib/mysql/ib_logfile0
24     24      /var/lib/mysql/zabbix/
24     24      /var/lib/mysql/zabbix/history.ibd
8      8       /var/lib/mysql/zabbix/trends_uint.ibd
6      6       /var/lib/mysql/zabbix/items.ibd
5      5       /var/lib/mysql/ibdata1

This is just a limited example from a dev box, but you can see the benefit. You can see which files have been accessed, in what way, and how many times over the specified period. Consequently this provides the most insight if you’re using innodb-file-per-table (or MyISAM) rather than a single InnoDB tablespace. But of course it depends a bit on what you’re looking for.