MySQL Connection Scoped State

isotopp image Kristian Köhntopp -
July 28, 2020
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MySQL speaks its own proprietary protocol. It cannot be routed by an HTTP proxy, and a MySQL connection is entire unlike an HTTP connection. Specifically, a lot of state and configuration is tied to a MySQL connection, and it cannot be recovered on disconnect.

What state is tied to a connection?


A disconnect implies a ROLLBACK. So if you are in a transaction, all changes to the database that you attempted are lost, rolled back, as if they never happened.
It is not enough to retry the last statement, you need to jump back to the beginning of the transaction.

This is not unexpected. All transactions can fail, in the middle of a transaction or even on COMMIT (you attempt to COMMIT, but get a ROLLBACK due to a deadlock or a failed transaction certification in Group Replication).

Applications need to be able to detect that and handle that at any point in time, by retrying the transaction.


When you disconnect from the database for any reasons, all locks you held at that point in time are being released. This includes all X- and S-Locks in InnoDB, all MyISAM table locks, all ongoing metadata locks and of course also all object-less locks acquired with GET_LOCK().

This makes a lot of sense and is a requirement - on disconnect, locks need to be released. Otherwise, you would be constantly cleaning up locks left around after the process died, as if they were Apache Shared Memory Segments and stuff.


In MySQL, we generate sequences implicitly: You write a NULL or 0 to a field which has the auto_increment attribute and get assigned a number. Now you need to know that number, so in a followup statement you are referencing this as the LAST_INSERT_ID().

This ID is being cached in your connection, which is lost when you disconnect.

Using last_insert_id() looks like this:

mysql> CREATE TABLE `demo` (
`id` bigint unsigned NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT,
`data` varbinary(255) NOT NULL,
UNIQUE KEY `id` (`id`)

mysql> insert into demo values (0, "Keks");
mysql> insert into demo values (NULL, "Cookie");
mysql> select id from demo;
| id |
|  1 |
|  2 |
mysql> select last_insert_id() as lastid;
| lastid |
|      2 |

After a KILL on the connection, this happens:

(Admin Connection)
mysql> kill 350542;

(Client Connection)
mysql> select last_insert_id() as lastid;
ERROR 2006 (HY000): MySQL server has gone away
No connection. Trying to reconnect...
Connection id:    350571
Current database: kris
| lastid |
|      0 |

Temporary Tables

MySQL has the incredibly broken feature of CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE. These are tables that can shadow tables in the global namespace, have different permissions, and disappear on disconnect. They are also prone to breaking certain modes of replication if there ever is a disconnect in the replication connection while any of these tables is active. And they break snapshots and backup recovery of the database server, for the same reason.

In general, the recommendation is to not use the CREATE TEMPORARY TABLE feature at all because of these drawbacks. Create regular tables in a temp schema instead and scope table names with a CONNECTION_ID() instead.

For the purposes of this discussion, temporary tables are connection scoped state, and if we used them, we would also lose them on disconnect.

Prepared statements (and parsed bytecode)

In MySQL, it is possible to store code in the database, using stored procedures, stored functions, and other constructs. The language for this is abysmally ugly, and the execution engine is on-par with PHP 3 from 1998, in terms of structure and performance. Parsed stuff is cached per-connection, which makes no sense at all. Also, in general, you do not want to run code on expensive and crowded database CPUs when you can have plenty of cheap and easy to scale CPUs in application nodes.

In general, the recommendation is to not use code in the database, if at all possible. For the purposes of this discussion, stored code caches are per-session and are lost on disconnect, but automatically recovered on reconnect (at a performance penalty).

In MySQL, many client side Connectors use the SQL Statement PREPARE or a similar API mechanism to prepare a statement for repeated execution. Later, a matching EXECUTE in a loop will bind it to variables and run the SQL. This is usually done more or less transparently by the Protocol Connector your host language uses underneath the database abstraction and ORM interfaces you are using to talk to the database.

For the purposes of this discussion it is interesting to know that these prepared statements are part of the connection scoped state and will be lost on disconnect. Depending on how your connector implements this, recovery may be automatically, but usually isn’t in all cases.


Connections can be associated with variables. Some of these variables are under user control (@-Variables). This is dangerous, deprecated and can break certain modes of replication, but has been done in the past to make TopK queries efficient – use Window Functions from MySQL 8 instead.

mysql> select id from demo;
| id |
|  1 |
|  2 |

mysql> set @count := 100;
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

mysql> select @count := @count + 1 as v, id from demo;
| v    | id |
|  101 |  1 |
|  102 |  2 |
2 rows in set, 1 warning (0.00 sec)

mysql> show warnings;
Warning | 1287 | Setting user variables within expressions is deprecated 
and will be removed in a future release. Consider alternatives: 
'SET variable=expression, ...', or 'SELECT expression(s) INTO variables(s)'.

For the purposes of this discussion, @-Variables are part of connection scoped state and are lost on disconnect.

Session Variables are configuration that controls the execution of queries. They are sometimes necessary to speed things up, to handle character sets properly, or to nudge the query optimizer into the right direction.

mysql> SET NAMES utf8mb4;

mysql> SET SESSION optimizer_prune_level = 0;

For the purposes of this discussion, these settings are part of the connection scoped state and are lost on disconnect. On reconnect, you must re-set the connection session level parameters to the desired state. Without this, the session state is identical to the global setup inherited on connect.

Magic SET commands

Old statement based replication had the problem of having to replicate stateful commands such as NOW(), RANDOM(), USER() and similar. When executing a command on the replica, the time would be different, the result of a call to RANDOM() would have a different seed state, and the current user would be the replication user and not the user who issues the original statement.

MySQL solved that by having a number of Magic SET commands, so that the statement

SELECT NOW() as now;

was being replicated as

SELECT NOW() as now;

and in this set up the NOW() function would not return the current time, but the time previously set with the Magic SET. This is a connection scoped flag, and it is lost on disconnect. If you use Magic SET commands, they are lost and need to be re-set on reconnect.


  • MySQL’s connections carry a lot of state, all of which is lost on disconnect.
  • It is therefore completely impossible to transparently reconnect to a MySQL server in the Protocol Connector, a Proxy or other lower layers in the stack.
  • The application needs to take notice and handle reconnects properly, recreating the required state for the application to function.
    • It then needs to restart the transaction, not the last statement.
  • The database server you reconnect to may be a different from the one you were connected to before, even if it has the same name – the DNS may have changed due to a failover being the reason for a disconnect.
    • You need to re-resolve the hostname and be prepared to get a different IP number.
  • Transactions can fail. Commits can fail. Deadlocks and Group Replication verification can cause this.
    • You must not rely on SQL statements being successful, including the COMMIT statement, and you need to be able to detect such failures and restart transactions. This is possible even without a disconnect.