MariaDB replication not auto reconnecting

A few weeks ago I’ve migrated some services to a new server and this new server was running Debian 9. One of the changes from version 8 to 9 was that the default mysql-server package installed MariaDB instead of MySQL. This should be OK as MariaDB is supposed to be compatible with MySQL.

This service needed to be a replication slave with another instance which is not directly accessible to the internet, and is running an old version of MySQL. The setup as straightforward: setup the ssh tunnel; imported the current data with the master settings; configured table name translation, issued the set master to ... and start slave; commands and voilĂ . All is well.

In the next few weeks I kept receiving alerts that the replication had stopped. I was always blaming the ssh tunnel that kept going down. But the tunnel was being automatically brought back up and MariaDB was not reconnecting back automatically, needing me to manually issue stop slave; start slave; in order to bring replication back.

I’ve tried to change the ssh scripts to use autossh (very nice, by the way), but the only thing it changed is that my checked never needed to bring the tunnel back up.

After a bit of search, I’ve found this article in MariaDB Knowledge Base: Changing the default character set from utf8mb4 to utf8 in the slave (the master does not support the new utf8mb4 charset), basically search and replace all utf8mb4 to utf8. The replication issue stopped happening.

utf8m4 is the “new” UTF-8 character set that was added to MySQL in version 5.5.3 to address the issue that not all UTF-8 codepoints could be stored in 3-bytes, as explained in this article from Thomas Shay.

I just wished that MariaDB had given me nicer error messages explaining why the connection was broken and why it was not trying to reconnect back. All the search for maximum-retries, master_retry_count and global variables were no help at all.

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