When SET GLOBAL affects SESSION scope

We have all been caught out with using SET and not realizing that the default GLOBAL Scope (since 5.0.2) does not change the current SESSION scope.

I was not aware until today that changing GLOBAL scope has some exceptions that also automatically affect SESSION scope.

What I expected with a change in the GLOBAL scope is no affect SESSION scope. For example.

mysql> SHOW GLOBAL VARIABLES LIKE 'read_buffer_size';
+------------------+--------+
| Variable_name    | Value  |
+------------------+--------+
| read_buffer_size | 131072 |
+------------------+--------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> SHOW SESSION VARIABLES LIKE 'read_buffer_size';
+------------------+--------+
| Variable_name    | Value  |
+------------------+--------+
| read_buffer_size | 131072 |
+------------------+--------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> SET GLOBAL read_buffer_size=1024*256;
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

mysql> SHOW GLOBAL VARIABLES LIKE 'read_buffer_size';
+------------------+--------+
| Variable_name    | Value  |
+------------------+--------+
| read_buffer_size | 262144 |
+------------------+--------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> SHOW SESSION VARIABLES LIKE 'read_buffer_size';
+------------------+--------+
| Variable_name    | Value  |
+------------------+--------+
| read_buffer_size | 131072 |
+------------------+--------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

However I was no prepared for this when changing an important variable for transaction management.

mysql> SHOW GLOBAL VARIABLES LIKE 'autocommit';
+---------------+-------+
| Variable_name | Value |
+---------------+-------+
| autocommit    | ON    |
+---------------+-------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> SHOW SESSION VARIABLES LIKE 'autocommit';
+---------------+-------+
| Variable_name | Value |
+---------------+-------+
| autocommit    | ON    |
+---------------+-------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> SET autocommit=0;
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

mysql> SHOW GLOBAL VARIABLES LIKE 'autocommit';
+---------------+-------+
| Variable_name | Value |
+---------------+-------+
| autocommit    | OFF   |
+---------------+-------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> SHOW SESSION VARIABLES LIKE 'autocommit';
+---------------+-------+
| Variable_name | Value |
+---------------+-------+
| autocommit    | OFF   |
+---------------+-------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

However even more perplexing was the following message:

mysql> SET GLOBAL autocommit=0;
ERROR 1228 (HY000): Variable 'autocommit' is a SESSION variable and can't be used with SET GLOBAL

So this is another case were the definition of variables is not applicable in a GLOBAL level, yet the tools of the trade represent in some manner misleading information.
To prove my point, here is another new concurrent session started after the above.

mysql> SHOW GLOBAL VARIABLES LIKE 'autocommit';
+---------------+-------+
| Variable_name | Value |
+---------------+-------+
| autocommit    | ON    |
+---------------+-------+
1 row in set (0.01 sec)

mysql> SHOW SESSION VARIABLES LIKE 'autocommit';
+---------------+-------+
| Variable_name | Value |
+---------------+-------+
| autocommit    | ON    |
+---------------+-------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

The MySQL Documentation also had an incorrect specification with description regarding this scope, Bug #54215

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2 Responses to “When SET GLOBAL affects SESSION scope”

  1. Sergei Golubchik says:

    I’ve fixed it half a year ago. Should be in 5.5

  2. [...] And, to round things off, Ronald Bradford writes about When SET GLOBAL affects SESSION scope. [...]