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OPTIMIZE TABLE vs. myisamchk




I have a very large table (~50GB) and periodically rows are purged
from it and I want to run OPTIMIZE TABLE to recover the space. But I
do not have enough space to run it. If I do run it the server hangs
and must be killed and restarted and the table is damaged and must be
repaired. I do this with myisamchk.

At https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/5.1/en/myisam-optimization.html I read this:

To coalesce fragmented rows and eliminate wasted space that results
from deleting or updating rows, run myisamchk in recovery mode:

shell> myisamchk -r tbl_name

You can optimize a table in the same way by using the OPTIMIZE TABLE
SQL statement. OPTIMIZE TABLE does a table repair and a key analysis,
and also sorts the index tree so that key lookups are faster. There is
also no possibility of unwanted interaction between a utility and the
server, because the server does all the work when you use OPTIMIZE
TABLE.

Does this mean that myisamchk -r -a -S does the same thing as OPTIMIZE TABLE?

If they do do the same thing, why does myisamchk work but OPTIMIZE
TABLE run out of space?

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