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pt-index-usage - Read queries from a log and analyze how they use indexes.



pt-index-usage [OPTIONS] [FILES]

pt-index-usage reads queries from logs and analyzes how they use indexes.

Analyze queries in slow.log and print reports:

pt-index-usage /path/to/slow.log --host localhost

Disable reports and save results to percona database for later analysis:

pt-index-usage slow.log --no-report --save-results-database percona


Percona Toolkit is mature, proven in the real world, and well tested, but all database tools can pose a risk to the system and the database server. Before using this tool, please:

  • Read the tool’s documentation

  • Review the tool’s known “BUGS”

  • Test the tool on a non-production server

  • Backup your production server and verify the backups


This tool connects to a MySQL database server, reads through a query log, and uses EXPLAIN to ask MySQL how it will use each query. When it is finished, it prints out a report on indexes that the queries didn’t use.

The query log needs to be in MySQL’s slow query log format. If you need to input a different format, you can use pt-query-digest to translate the formats. If you don’t specify a filename, the tool reads from STDIN.

The tool runs two stages. In the first stage, the tool takes inventory of all the tables and indexes in your database, so it can compare the existing indexes to those that were actually used by the queries in the log. In the second stage, it runs EXPLAIN on each query in the query log. It uses separate database connections to inventory the tables and run EXPLAIN, so it opens two connections to the database.

If a query is not a SELECT, it tries to transform it to a roughly equivalent SELECT query so it can be EXPLAINed. This is not a perfect process, but it is good enough to be useful.

The tool skips the EXPLAIN step for queries that are exact duplicates of those seen before. It assumes that the same query will generate the same EXPLAIN plan as it did previously (usually a safe assumption, and generally good for performance), and simply increments the count of times that the indexes were used. However, queries that have the same fingerprint but different checksums will be re-EXPLAINed. Queries that have different literal constants can have different execution plans, and this is important to measure.

After EXPLAIN-ing the query, it is necessary to try to map aliases in the query back to the original table names. For example, consider the EXPLAIN plan for the following query:

SELECT * FROM tbl1 AS foo;

The EXPLAIN output will show access to table foo, and that must be translated back to tbl1. This process involves complex parsing. It is generally very accurate, but there is some chance that it might not work right. If you find cases where it fails, submit a bug report and a reproducible test case.

Queries that cannot be EXPLAINed will cause all subsequent queries with the same fingerprint to be blacklisted. This is to reduce the work they cause, and prevent them from continuing to print error messages. However, at least in this stage of the tool’s development, it is my opinion that it’s not a good idea to preemptively silence these, or prevent them from being EXPLAINed at all. I am looking for lots of feedback on how to improve things like the query parsing. So please submit your test cases based on the errors the tool prints!


After it reads all the events in the log, the tool prints out DROP statements for every index that was not used. It skips indexes for tables that were never accessed by any queries in the log, to avoid false-positive results.

If you don’t specify --quiet, the tool also outputs warnings about statements that cannot be EXPLAINed and similar. These go to standard error.

Progress reports are enabled by default (see --progress). These also go to standard error.


This tool accepts additional command-line arguments. Refer to the “SYNOPSIS” and usage information for details.


Prompt for a password when connecting to MySQL.


short form: -A; type: string

Default character set. If the value is utf8, sets Perl’s binmode on STDOUT to utf8, passes the mysql_enable_utf8 option to DBD::mysql, and runs SET NAMES UTF8 after connecting to MySQL. Any other value sets binmode on STDOUT without the utf8 layer, and runs SET NAMES after connecting to MySQL.


type: Array

Read this comma-separated list of config files; if specified, this must be the first option on the command line.


Create the --save-results-database if it does not exist.

If the --save-results-database already exists and this option is specified, the database is used and the necessary tables are created if they do not already exist.


Create views for --save-results-database example queries.

Several example queries are given for querying the tables in the --save-results-database. These example queries are, by default, created as views. Specifying --no-create-views prevents these views from being created.


short form: -D; type: string

The database to use for the connection.


short form: -d; type: hash

Only get tables and indexes from this comma-separated list of databases.


type: string

Only get tables and indexes from database whose names match this Perl regex.


short form: -F; type: string

Only read mysql options from the given file. You must give an absolute pathname.


type: Hash; default: non-unique

Suggest dropping only these types of unused indexes.

By default pt-index-usage will only suggest to drop unused secondary indexes, not primary or unique indexes. You can specify which types of unused indexes the tool suggests to drop: primary, unique, non-unique, all.

A separate ALTER TABLE statement for each type is printed. So if you specify --drop all and there is a primary key and a non-unique index, the ALTER TABLE ... DROP for each will be printed on separate lines.


Drop and re-create all pre-existing tables in the --save-results-database. This allows information from previous runs to be removed before the current run.


Show help and exit.


short form: -h; type: string

Connect to host.


type: Hash

Ignore this comma-separated list of databases.


type: string

Ignore databases whose names match this Perl regex.


type: Hash

Ignore this comma-separated list of table names.

Table names may be qualified with the database name.


type: string

Ignore tables whose names match the Perl regex.


short form: -p; type: string

Password to use when connecting. If password contains commas they must be escaped with a backslash: “exam,ple”


short form: -P; type: int

Port number to use for connection.


type: array; default: time,30

Print progress reports to STDERR. The value is a comma-separated list with two parts. The first part can be percentage, time, or iterations; the second part specifies how often an update should be printed, in percentage, seconds, or number of iterations.


short form: -q

Do not print any warnings. Also disables --progress.


default: yes

Print the reports for --report-format.

You may want to disable the reports by specifying --no-report if, for example, you also specify --save-results-database and you only want to query the results tables later.


type: Array; default: drop_unused_indexes

Right now there is only one report: drop_unused_indexes. This report prints SQL statements for dropping any unused indexes. See also --drop.

See also --[no]report.


type: DSN

Save results to tables in this database. Information about indexes, queries, tables and their usage is stored in several tables in the specified database. The tables are auto-created if they do not exist. If the database doesn’t exist, it can be auto-created with --create-save-results-database. In this case the connection is initially created with no default database, then after the database is created, it is USE’ed.

pt-index-usage executes INSERT statements to save the results. Therefore, you should be careful if you use this feature on a production server. It might increase load, or cause trouble if you don’t want the server to be written to, or so on.

This is a new feature. It may change in future releases.

After a run, you can query the usage tables to answer various questions about index usage. The tables have the following CREATE TABLE definitions:


  db           VARCHAR(64) NOT NULL,
  tbl          VARCHAR(64) NOT NULL,
  idx          VARCHAR(64) NOT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY  (db, tbl, idx)


  query_id     CHAR(32) NOT NULL,
  fingerprint  TEXT NOT NULL,
  sample       TEXT NOT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY  (query_id)


  db           VARCHAR(64) NOT NULL,
  tbl          VARCHAR(64) NOT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY  (db, tbl)


  query_id      CHAR(32) NOT NULL,
  db            VARCHAR(64) NOT NULL,
  tbl           VARCHAR(64) NOT NULL,
  idx           VARCHAR(64) NOT NULL,
  UNIQUE INDEX  (query_id, db, tbl, idx)


CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS index_alternatives (
  query_id      CHAR(32) NOT NULL,        -- This query used
  db            VARCHAR(64) NOT NULL,     -- this index, but...
  tbl           VARCHAR(64) NOT NULL,     --
  idx           VARCHAR(64) NOT NULL,     --
  alt_idx       VARCHAR(64) NOT NULL,     -- was an alternative
  UNIQUE INDEX  (query_id, db, tbl, idx, alt_idx),
  INDEX         (db, tbl, idx),
  INDEX         (db, tbl, alt_idx)

The following are some queries you can run against these tables to answer common questions you might have. Each query is also created as a view (with MySQL v5.0 and newer) if :option:`--[no]create-views` is true (it is by default). The view names are the strings after the MAGIC_view_ prefix.

Question: which queries sometimes use different indexes, and what fraction of the time is each index chosen? MAGIC_view_query_uses_several_indexes:

SELECT iu.query_id, CONCAT_WS('.', iu.db, iu.tbl, iu.idx) AS idx,
   variations, iu.cnt, iu.cnt / total_cnt * 100 AS pct
FROM index_usage AS iu
      SELECT query_id, db, tbl, SUM(cnt) AS total_cnt,
        COUNT(*) AS variations
      FROM index_usage
      GROUP BY query_id, db, tbl
      HAVING COUNT(*) > 1
   ) AS qv USING(query_id, db, tbl);

Question: which indexes have lots of alternatives, i.e. are chosen instead of other indexes, and for what queries? MAGIC_view_index_has_alternates:

SELECT CONCAT_WS('.', db, tbl, idx) AS idx_chosen,
   GROUP_CONCAT(DISTINCT alt_idx) AS alternatives,
   GROUP_CONCAT(DISTINCT query_id) AS queries, SUM(cnt) AS cnt
FROM index_alternatives
GROUP BY db, tbl, idx

Question: which indexes are considered as alternates for other indexes, and for what queries? MAGIC_view_index_alternates:

SELECT CONCAT_WS('.', db, tbl, alt_idx) AS idx_considered,
   GROUP_CONCAT(DISTINCT idx) AS alternative_to,
   GROUP_CONCAT(DISTINCT query_id) AS queries, SUM(cnt) AS cnt
FROM index_alternatives
GROUP BY db, tbl, alt_idx

Question: which of those are never chosen by any queries, and are therefore superfluous? MAGIC_view_unused_index_alternates:

SELECT CONCAT_WS('.', i.db, i.tbl, i.idx) AS idx,
   alt.alternative_to, alt.queries, alt.cnt
FROM indexes AS i
      SELECT db, tbl, alt_idx, GROUP_CONCAT(DISTINCT idx) AS alternative_to,
         GROUP_CONCAT(DISTINCT query_id) AS queries, SUM(cnt) AS cnt
      FROM index_alternatives
      GROUP BY db, tbl, alt_idx
      HAVING COUNT(*) > 1
   ) AS alt ON i.db = alt.db AND i.tbl = alt.tbl
     AND i.idx = alt.alt_idx
WHERE i.cnt = 0;

Question: given a table, which indexes were used, by how many queries, with how many distinct fingerprints? Were there alternatives? Which indexes were not used? You can edit the following query’s SELECT list to also see the query IDs in question. MAGIC_view_index_usage:

SELECT i.idx, iu.usage_cnt, iu.usage_total,
   ia.alt_cnt, ia.alt_total
FROM indexes AS i
      SELECT db, tbl, idx, COUNT(*) AS usage_cnt,
         SUM(cnt) AS usage_total, GROUP_CONCAT(query_id) AS used_by
      FROM index_usage
      GROUP BY db, tbl, idx
   ) AS iu ON i.db=iu.db AND i.tbl=iu.tbl AND i.idx = iu.idx
      SELECT db, tbl, idx, COUNT(*) AS alt_cnt,
         SUM(cnt) AS alt_total,
         GROUP_CONCAT(query_id) AS alt_queries
      FROM index_alternatives
      GROUP BY db, tbl, idx
   ) AS ia ON i.db=ia.db AND i.tbl=ia.tbl AND i.idx = ia.idx;

Question: which indexes on a given table are vital for at least one query (there is no alternative)? MAGIC_view_required_indexes:

SELECT i.db, i.tbl, i.idx, no_alt.queries
FROM indexes AS i
      SELECT iu.db, iu.tbl, iu.idx,
         GROUP_CONCAT(iu.query_id) AS queries
      FROM index_usage AS iu
         LEFT OUTER JOIN index_alternatives AS ia
            USING(db, tbl, idx)
      WHERE ia.db IS NULL
      GROUP BY iu.db, iu.tbl, iu.idx
   ) AS no_alt ON no_alt.db = i.db AND no_alt.tbl = i.tbl
      AND no_alt.idx = i.idx
ORDER BY i.db, i.tbl, i.idx, no_alt.queries;

type: Array

Set the MySQL variables in this comma-separated list of variable=value pairs.

By default, the tool sets:


Variables specified on the command line override these defaults. For example, specifying --set-vars wait_timeout=500 overrides the defaultvalue of 10000.

The tool prints a warning and continues if a variable cannot be set.


short form: -S; type: string

Socket file to use for connection.


short form: -t; type: hash

Only get indexes from this comma-separated list of tables.


type: string

Only get indexes from tables whose names match this Perl regex.


short form: -u; type: string

User for login if not current user.


Show version and exit.


default: yes

Check for the latest version of Percona Toolkit, MySQL, and other programs.

This is a standard “check for updates automatically” feature, with two additional features. First, the tool checks its own version and also the versions of the following software: operating system, Percona Monitoring and Management (PMM), MySQL, Perl, MySQL driver for Perl (DBD::mysql), and Percona Toolkit. Second, it checks for and warns about versions with known problems. For example, MySQL 5.5.25 had a critical bug and was re-released as 5.5.25a.

A secure connection to Percona’s Version Check database server is done to perform these checks. Each request is logged by the server, including software version numbers and unique ID of the checked system. The ID is generated by the Percona Toolkit installation script or when the Version Check database call is done for the first time.

Any updates or known problems are printed to STDOUT before the tool’s normal output. This feature should never interfere with the normal operation of the tool.

For more information, visit


These DSN options are used to create a DSN. Each option is given like option=value. The options are case-sensitive, so P and p are not the same option. There cannot be whitespace before or after the = and if the value contains whitespace it must be quoted. DSN options are comma-separated. See the percona-toolkit manpage for full details.

  • A

dsn: charset; copy: yes

Default character set.

  • D

dsn: database; copy: yes

Database to connect to.

  • F

dsn: mysql_read_default_file; copy: yes

Only read default options from the given file

  • h

dsn: host; copy: yes

Connect to host.

  • p

dsn: password; copy: yes

Password to use when connecting. If password contains commas they must be escaped with a backslash: “exam,ple”

  • P

dsn: port; copy: yes

Port number to use for connection.

  • S

dsn: mysql_socket; copy: yes

Socket file to use for connection.

  • u

dsn: user; copy: yes

User for login if not current user.


The environment variable PTDEBUG enables verbose debugging output to STDERR. To enable debugging and capture all output to a file, run the tool like:

PTDEBUG=1 pt-index-usage ... > FILE 2>&1

Be careful: debugging output is voluminous and can generate several megabytes of output.


Using <PTDEBUG> might expose passwords. When debug is enabled, all command line parameters are shown in the output.


You need Perl, DBI, DBD::mysql, and some core packages that ought to be installed in any reasonably new version of Perl.


For a list of known bugs, see

Please report bugs at Include the following information in your bug report:

  • Complete command-line used to run the tool

  • Tool --version

  • MySQL version of all servers involved

  • Output from the tool including STDERR

  • Input files (log/dump/config files, etc.)

If possible, include debugging output by running the tool with PTDEBUG; see “ENVIRONMENT”.


Visit to download the latest release of Percona Toolkit. Or, get the latest release from the command line:




You can also get individual tools from the latest release:


Replace TOOL with the name of any tool.


Baron Schwartz and Daniel Nichter


This tool is part of Percona Toolkit, a collection of advanced command-line tools for MySQL developed by Percona. Percona Toolkit was forked from two projects in June, 2011: Maatkit and Aspersa. Those projects were created by Baron Schwartz and primarily developed by him and Daniel Nichter. Visit to learn about other free, open-source software from Percona.


pt-index-usage 3.6.0