If you use MySQL with InnoDB, chances are you’ve seen growing IBD data files. Those are the files that actually hold your data within MySQL. By default, they only grow — they don’t shrink. So how do you know if you still have free space left in your IBD files?

There’s a query you can use to determine that:

SELECT round((data_length+index_length)/1024/1024,2)
FROM information_schema.tables
  AND table_name='history_text';

The above will check a database called zabbix for a table called history_text. The result will be the size that MySQL has “in use” in that file. If that returns 5.000 as a value, you have 5GB of data in there.

In my example, it showed the data size to be 16GB. But the actual IBD file was over 50GB large.

$ ls -alh history_text.ibd
-rw-r----- 1 mysql mysql 52G Sep 10 15:26 history_text.ibd

In this example I had 36GB of wasted space on the disk (52GB according to the OS, 16GB in use by MySQL). If you run MySQL with innodb_file_per_table=ON, you can individually shrink the IBD files. One way, is to run an OPTIMIZE query on that table.

Note: this can be a blocking operation, depending on your MySQL version. WRITE and READ I/O can be blocked to the table for the duration of the OPTIMIZE query.

MariaDB [zabbix]> OPTIMIZE TABLE history_text;
Stage: 1 of 1 'altering table'   93.7% of stage done
Stage: 1 of 1 'altering table'    100% of stage done

| Table               | Op       | Msg_type | Msg_text                                                          |
| zabbix.history_text | optimize | note     | Table does not support optimize, doing recreate + analyze instead |
| zabbix.history_text | optimize | status   | OK                                                                |
2 rows in set (55 min 37.37 sec)

The result is quite a big file size savings:

$ ls -alh history_text.ibd
-rw-rw---- 1 mysql mysql 11G Sep 10 16:27 history_text.ibd

The file that was previously 52GB in size, is now just 11GB.

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