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Truly Parallel backup (MySQL Enterprise Backup 3.8 and later)

How do you implement a parallel algorithm for a software which needs to be streamed to tapes?
How do you ensure that you have the capability to be able to tune the level of parallelism for varying input and output devices and varying levels of load?
These were some of the questions that we needed to answer when we were trying to implement multi-threading capability for MySQL Enterprise Backup (MEB).
The trivial way of achieving parallelism is by having the multiple threads pick up the different files (in a file per table) scenario. But this did not seem adequate because:
a) The sizes of these files (corresponding to the tables) could be different and then one large file would limit the level of parallelism since it would be processed by a single thread.
b) If you have to stream the backup how do you reconcile these multiple files being streamed by separate threads? Large backups are streamed directly to tape so it is …

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