Import/Export Large MYSQL Databases

Managing large MYSQL databases from the command line.

When working with MYSQL I often use phpMyAdmin, which is a nice GUI way to manipulate my database. But some operations won't work in phpMyAdmin when the database is too large. In particular, you can't import or export really large databases using phpMyAdmin. So sometimes you need to do things on the command line. So I thought I'd document some of the command line snippets we use frequently. In the following, replace [USERNAME] with your mysql username, [DBNAME] with your database name, [/path_to_file/DBNAME] with the path and name of the file used for the database dump, and [/path_to_mysql/] with the path to mysql bin (like /Applications/MAMP/Library/bin/).

Copy/Export a Large Database

MYSQL has no 'Copy' function. You create a copy by dumping the database with mysqldump. To dump the database and gzip it at the same time, use the following. This will prompt you for your password.

mysqldump -u [USERNAME] -p [DBNAME] | gzip > [/path_to_file/DBNAME].sql.gz 

Import a Large Database

If you want to replace the database with a fresh dump created by the above process, do the following. First, unzip the file.

gzip -d [/path_to_file/DBNAME].sql.gz

Get to a mysql prompt (you will be asked for your password.)

[/path_to_mysql/]mysql -u [USERNAME] -p

Then do the following to wipe out the old database and replace it with the new dump:

SOURCE [/path_to_file/DBNAME].sql;

Conditional Dumps

Sometimes the search index is huge and you want to omit it from the dump. Do so with:

mysqldump -u [USERNAME] -p [DBNAME] --ignore-table=[DBNAME].search_index | gzip > [/path_to_file/DBNAME].sql.gz 

There are actually a number of tables you could exclude, like the sessions table, the watchdog table and all the cache* tables. But if you use the above technique to destroy and recreate the database after doing this, you will be missing all those excluded tables. So you will want to do a two step process instead: First, create a backup with ONLY the table information, no data.

mysqldump -u [USERNAME] -p [DBNAME] --no-data | gzip > [/path_to_file/DBNAME].info.sql.gz

Then create a backup, including only data from the tables you need.

[path_to_mysql/]mysqldump -u [USERNAME] -p [DBNAME]  --no-create-info --ignore-table=[DBNAME].search_index --ignore-table=[DBNAME].cache --ignore-table=[DBNAME].cache_block --ignore-table=[DBNAME].cache_content --ignore-table=[DBNAME].cache_filter --ignore-table=[DBNAME].cache_form --ignore-table=[DBNAME].cache_menu --ignore-table=[DBNAME].cache_mollom --ignore-table=[DBNAME].cache_page --ignore-table=[DBNAME].cache_pathdst --ignore-table=[DBNAME].cache_pathsrc --ignore-table=[DBNAME].cache_views | gzip > [/path_to_file/DBNAME].data.sql.gz;

Well that's a lot of typing. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a wildcard we could use instead of typing out all those cache_ tables? Well there is!! You can do:

[path_to_mysql/]mysqldump -u [USERNAME] -p [DBNAME]  --no-create-info --ignore-table=[DBNAME].search_index --ignore-table=[DBNAME].cache% | gzip > [/path_to_file/DBNAME].data.sql.gz;

After doing this, just import the two files as above, first the one with only the table info, and then the data. Result, a (relatively) small database with all the optional tables emptied out. Note that the wildcard trick above is not documented anywhere that I can see, so you'll want to test that it works in your setup.

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