How to rotate the MySQL logs on Amazon RDS

One day we enabled the MySQL’s slow_log feature as indicated by the RDS FAQ. That the (mostly) easy part. I say “mostly” because you need to add your own DB Parameter Group in order to enable the damn thing. Adding a group is easy. Editing it still requires you to use API calls (either via rds-api-tools or your own implementation).

Days started to fly, queries started to fill our log, we started to fix the slow points of the application. The thing that didn’t change is the fact that the mysql.slow_log table kept growing. Then I took some time to apply all my MySQL-fu regarding the cleanup of the mysql.slow_log table. Imagine my surprise when none of it worked. Since the master user of a RDS instance doesn’t have all the privileges, it wasn’t quite unexpected though.

For the first time, the AWS Premium Support was actually useful by sending one email that actually provides a solution. Imagine my surprise. The RDS team implemented a couple of stored procedures that can be used for rotating the slow log and the general log.

CALL mysql.rds_rotate_slow_log;
CALL mysql.rds_rotate_general_log;

Basically they move the content to a *_backup table while the original is replaced by an empty table. The exact quote:

When invoked, these procedures move the contents of the corresponding log to a backup table and clear the contents of the log. For example, invoking rds_rotate_slow_log moves the contents of the slow_log table to a new table called slow_log_backup and then clears the contents of the slow_log table. This is done by renaming tables, so no data is actually copied, making this a very light-weight, non-blocking procedure. Invoking the same procedure twice effectively purges the log from the database.

They are present since March 22, 2010 but nobody took the time to document them, apparently. All I could find via online searches was utterly useless junk. I hope this saves some time for some poor chop into the same situation as I was.

4 thoughts on “How to rotate the MySQL logs on Amazon RDS

  1. DaveQB

    Interesting this frees up any space as it looks like it is just a table renaming. Is the backup table somehow compressed or truncated?

  2. Keshav Pudaruth

    Finally! After days and days of searching the great web of random junk, did i find a useful post.

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