TiDB-Lightning Deployment

This document describes the hardware requirements of TiDB-Lightning on separate deployment and mixed deployment, and how to deploy it using Ansible or manually.


Before starting TiDB-Lightning, note that:

  • During the import process, the cluster cannot provide normal services.

  • If tidb-lightning crashes, the cluster is left in “import mode”. Forgetting to switch back to “normal mode” can lead to a high amount of uncompacted data on the TiKV cluster, and cause abnormally high CPU usage and stall. You can manually switch the cluster back to “normal mode” via the tidb-lightning-ctl tool:

    bin/tidb-lightning-ctl -switch-mode=normal

Hardware requirements

tidb-lightning and tikv-importer are both resource-intensive programs. It is recommended to deploy them into two separate machines.

To achieve the best performance, it is recommended to use the following hardware configuration:

  • tidb-lightning:

    • 32+ logical cores CPU
    • An SSD large enough to store the entire SQL dump, preferring higher read speed
    • 10 Gigabit network card (capable of transferring at ≥300 MB/s)
    • tidb-lightning fully consumes all CPU cores when running, and deploying on a dedicated machine is highly recommended. If not possible, tidb-lightning could be deployed together with other components like tidb-server, and the CPU usage could be limited via the region-concurrency setting.
  • tikv-importer:

    • 32+ logical cores CPU
    • 32 GB+ memory
    • 1 TB+ SSD, preferring higher IOPS (≥ 8000 is recommended)
    • 10 Gigabit network card (capable of transferring at ≥300 MB/s)
    • tikv-importer fully consumes all CPU, disk I/O and network bandwidth when running, and deploying on a dedicated machine is strongly recommended.

If you have sufficient machines, you can deploy multiple Lightning/Importer servers, with each working on a distinct set of tables, to import the data in parallel.


tidb-lightning is a CPU intensive program. In an environment with mixed components, the resources allocated to tidb-lightning must be limited. Otherwise, other components might not be able to run. It is recommended to set the region-concurrency to 75% of CPU logical cores. For instance, if the CPU has 32 logical cores, you can set the region-concurrency to 24.

Additionally, the target TiKV cluster should have enough space to absorb the new data. Besides the standard requirements, the total free space of the target TiKV cluster should be larger than Size of SQL dump × Number of replicas × 2. With the default replica count of 3, this means the total free space should be at least 6 times the size of SQL dump.

Export data

Use the mydumper tool to export data from MySQL by using the following command:

./bin/mydumper -h -P 3306 -u root -t 16 -F 256 -B test -T t1,t2 --skip-tz-utc -o /data/my_database/

In this command,

  • -B test: means the data is exported from the test database.
  • -T t1,t2: means only the t1 and t2 tables are exported.
  • -t 16: means 16 threads are used to export the data.
  • -F 256: means a table is partitioned into chunks and one chunk is 256 MB.
  • --skip-tz-utc: the purpose of adding this parameter is to ignore the inconsistency of time zone setting between MySQL and the data exporting machine, and to disable automatic conversion.

Deploy TiDB-Lightning

This section describes two deployment methods of TiDB-Lightning:

Deploy TiDB-Lightning using Ansible

You can deploy TiDB-Lightning using Ansible together with the deployment of the TiDB cluster itself using Ansible.

  1. Edit inventory.ini to add the addresses of the tidb-lightning and tikv-importer servers.

  2. Configure these tools by editing the settings under group_vars/*.yml.

    • group_vars/all.yml

      # The listening port of tikv-importer. Should be open to the tidb-lightning server.
      tikv_importer_port: 20170
    • group_vars/lightning_server.yml

      # The listening port for metrics gathering. Should be open to the monitoring servers.
      tidb_lightning_pprof_port: 10089
      # The file path that tidb-lightning reads the mydumper SQL dump from.
      data_source_dir: "{{ deploy_dir }}/mydumper"
    • group_vars/importer_server.yml

      # The file path to store engine files. Should reside on a partition with a large capacity.
      import_dir: "{{ deploy_dir }}/data.import"
  3. Deploy the cluster.

    ansible-playbook bootstrap.yml
    ansible-playbook deploy.yml
  4. Mount the data source to the path specified in the data_source_dir setting.

  5. Log in to the tikv-importer server, and manually run the following command to start Importer.

  6. Log in to the tidb-lightning server, and manually run the following command to start Lightning and import the data into the TiDB cluster.

  7. After completion, run scripts/stop_importer.sh on the tikv-importer server to stop Importer.

Deploy TiDB-Lightning manually

Step 1: Deploy a TiDB cluster

Before importing data, you need to have a deployed TiDB cluster, with the cluster version 2.0.9 or above. It is highly recommended to use the latest version.

You can find deployment instructions in TiDB Quick Start Guide.

Step 2: Download the TiDB-Lightning installation package

Download the TiDB-Lightning package (choose the same version as that of the TiDB cluster):

Step 3: Start tikv-importer

  1. Upload bin/tikv-importer from the installation package.

  2. Configure tikv-importer.toml.

    # TiKV Importer configuration file template
    # Log file
    log-file = "tikv-importer.log"
    # Log level: trace, debug, info, warn, error, off.
    log-level = "info"
    # The listening address of tikv-importer. tidb-lightning needs to connect to
    # this address to write data.
    addr = ""
    # Size of the thread pool for the gRPC server.
    grpc-concurrency = 16
    # The Prometheus client push job name.
    job = "tikv-importer"
    # The Prometheus client push interval.
    interval = "15s"
    # The Prometheus Pushgateway address.
    address = ""
    # The maximum number of concurrent background jobs.
    max-background-jobs = 32
    # Amount of data to build up in memory before flushing data to the disk.
    write-buffer-size = "1GB"
    # The maximum number of write buffers that are built up in memory.
    max-write-buffer-number = 8
    # The compression algorithms used in different levels.
    # The algorithm at level-0 is used to compress KV data.
    # The algorithm at level-6 is used to compress SST files.
    # The algorithms at level-1 to level-5 are unused for now.
    compression-per-level = ["lz4", "no", "no", "no", "no", "no", "zstd"]
    # The directory to store engine files.
    import-dir = "/mnt/ssd/data.import/"
    # Number of threads to handle RPC requests.
    num-threads = 16
    # Number of concurrent import jobs.
    num-import-jobs = 24
    # Maximum duration to prepare Regions.
    #max-prepare-duration = "5m"
    # Split Regions into this size according to the importing data.
    #region-split-size = "96MB"
    # Stream channel window size. The stream will be blocked on channel full.
    #stream-channel-window = 128
    # Maximum number of open engines.
    max-open-engines = 8
  3. Run tikv-importer.

    nohup ./tikv-importer -C tikv-importer.toml > nohup.out &

Step 4: Start tidb-lightning

  1. Upload bin/tidb-lightning and bin/tidb-lightning-ctl from the tool set.

  2. Mount the mydumper SQL dump onto the same machine.

  3. Configure tidb-lightning.toml.

    ### tidb-lightning configuration
    # the HTTP port for debugging and Prometheus metrics pulling (0 to disable)
    pprof-port = 10089
    # Checks if the cluster satisfies the minimum requirement before starting.
    #check-requirements = true
    # The maximum number of tables to be handled concurrently.
    # This value affects the memory usage of tikv-importer.
    # Must not exceed the max-open-engines setting for tikv-importer.
    table-concurrency = 8
    # The concurrency number of data. It is set to the number of logical CPU
    # cores by default. When deploying together with other components, you can
    # set it to 75% of the size of logical CPU cores to limit the CPU usage.
    #region-concurrency =
    # The maximum I/O concurrency. Excessive I/O concurrency causes an increase in
    # I/O latency because the disk's internal buffer is frequently refreshed,
    # which causes the cache miss and slows down the read speed. Depending on the storage
    # medium, this value might need to be adjusted for optimal performance.
    io-concurrency = 5
    # Logging
    level = "info"
    file = "tidb-lightning.log"
    max-size = 128 # MB
    max-days = 28
    max-backups = 14
    # Whether to enable checkpoints.
    # While importing, Lightning records which tables have been imported, so
    # even if Lightning or other component crashed, you could start from a known
    # good state instead of redoing everything.
    enable = true
    # The schema name (database name) to store the checkpoints
    schema = "tidb_lightning_checkpoint"
    # Where to store the checkpoints.
    #  - file:  store as a local file.
    #  - mysql: store into a remote MySQL-compatible database
    driver = "file"
    # The data source name (DSN) indicating the location of the checkpoint storage.
    # For the "file" driver, the DSN is a path. If the path is not specified, Lightning would
    # default to "/tmp/CHECKPOINT_SCHEMA.pb".
    # For the "mysql" driver, the DSN is a URL in the form of "USER:PASS@tcp(HOST:PORT)/".
    # If the URL is not specified, the TiDB server from the [tidb] section is used to
    # store the checkpoints. You should specify a different MySQL-compatible
    # database server to reduce the load of the target TiDB cluster.
    #dsn = "/tmp/tidb_lightning_checkpoint.pb"
    # Whether to keep the checkpoints after all data are imported. If false, the
    # checkpoints will be deleted. Keeping the checkpoints can aid debugging but
    # will leak metadata about the data source.
    #keep-after-success = false
    # The listening address of tikv-importer. Change it to the actual address.
    addr = ""
    # Block size for file reading. Keep it longer than the longest string of
    # the data source.
    read-block-size = 65536 # Byte (default = 64 KB)
    # mydumper local source data directory
    data-source-dir = "/data/my_database"
    # If no-schema is set to true, tidb-lightning assumes that the table skeletons
    # already exist on the target TiDB cluster, and will not execute the `CREATE
    # TABLE` statements
    no-schema = false
    # the character set of the schema files, containing CREATE TABLE statements;
    # only supports one of:
    #  - utf8mb4: the schema files must be encoded as UTF-8, otherwise Lightning
    #             will emit errors
    #  - gb18030: the schema files must be encoded as GB-18030, otherwise
    #             Lightning will emit errors
    #  - auto:    (default) automatically detects whether the schema is UTF-8 or
    #             GB-18030. An error is reported if the encoding is neither.
    #  - binary:  do not try to decode the schema files
    # note that the *data* files are always parsed as binary regardless of
    # schema encoding.
    character-set = "auto"
    # Configuration of any TiDB server from the cluster
    host = ""
    port = 4000
    user = "root"
    password = ""
    # Table schema information is fetched from TiDB via this status-port.
    status-port = 10080
    # Address of any PD server from the cluster
    pd-addr = ""
    # tidb-lightning imports TiDB as a library and generates some logs itself.
    # This setting controls the log level of the TiDB library.
    log-level = "error"
    # Sets the TiDB session variable to speed up the Checksum and Analyze operations.
    # See https://pingcap.com/docs/sql/statistics/#control-analyze-concurrency
    # for the meaning of each setting
    build-stats-concurrency = 20
    distsql-scan-concurrency = 100
    index-serial-scan-concurrency = 20
    checksum-table-concurrency = 16
    # When data importing is complete, tidb-lightning can automatically perform
    # the Checksum, Compact and Analyze operations. It is recommended to leave
    # these as true in the production environment.
    # The execution order: Checksum -> Analyze
    # Performs `ADMIN CHECKSUM TABLE <table>` for each table to verify data integrity.
    checksum = true
    # Performs compaction on the TiKV cluster.
    compact = true
    # Performs `ANALYZE TABLE <table>` for each table.
    analyze = true
    # Configures the background periodic actions
    # Supported units: h (hour), m (minute), s (second).
    # Duration between which Lightning automatically refreshes the import mode
    # status. Should be shorter than the corresponding TiKV setting.
    switch-mode = "5m"
    # Duration between which an import progress is printed to the log.
    log-progress = "5m"
    # Table filter options. See the corresponding section for details.
    # ...
  4. Run tidb-lightning.

    nohup ./tidb-lightning -config tidb-lightning.toml > nohup.out &