[erlang-questions] Mnesia Fragmented Tables, del_table_copy

Håkan Mattsson <>
Thu Jan 27 22:36:24 CET 2011

A fragmented table in Mnesia is a big distributed hash table where each bucket
is implemented as a "normal" Mnesia table. When you insert a record in the
fragmented table, a hash function is used to compute which bucket (table
fragment) to put the record in. The linear hashing algorithm that is used allows
the hash table to shrink by deleting the last bucket (table fragment) and
dynamically rehash the records in that bucket and move them to other buckets.
The algorithm does however not cope with deletion of arbitrary buckets.

If you want to shrink the fragmented table (delete the last bucket) you need to
use the function mnesia:change_table_frag(Tab, del_frag) as described in the
user's guide: http://www.erlang.org/doc/apps/mnesia/Mnesia_chap5.html.

Each bucket (table fragment) can be replicated to several nodes. Replicas
are deleted with the function mnesia:del_table_copy(Frag, Node) and it is
not possible to use this function to delete the last replica.

In your case you had 4 fragments and you tried to delete the last replica
of the second fragment. This is not allowed. But it would have been allowed
to delete the fourth fragment (and move its records) by invoking

  mnesia:change_table_frag(constResourceData, del_frag)


  The function mnesia:change_table_frag/2 is only mentioned in the user's
  guide. It is not documented in the reference manual. Sorry for that.

On Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 6:18 PM, Tessaro Alexej <> wrote:
> Thank you for your reply.
> In my case the table is dynamically growing (by adding new fragments
> when the existing ones reach some sort of threshold).
> Cause the contained data have no critical relevance (but real-time
> reading and writing times constraints), I thought to maintain ram only
> copies with no replicas.
> So, when a node disconnects from the cluster cloud, I would expect the
> data it was containing to disappear from the cloud (and the requests
> involving those records to fail).
> I expected mnesia_frag system to detect not running mnesia nodes, thus
> not considering them when calling mnesia activity functions on the whole
> table.
> Am I missing something?
> On Wed, 2011-01-26 at 14:45 -0200, Igor Ribeiro Sucupira wrote:
>> I haven't looked at it in detail, but I know it doesn't make much
>> sense to delete the second fragment (leaving no other copies of it) in
>> a table that has 4 fragments. It would break your fragmented table
>> (writing keys would not be possible in some cases).
>> Best regards.
>> Igor.
>> On Wed, Jan 19, 2011 at 11:31 AM, Tessaro Alexej <> wrote:
>> > Hello,
>> >
>> > I have started two communicating mnesia nodes and created one fragmented
>> > table with fragments stored in RAM only (no other replicas) and schema
>> > stored on disk on both nodes:
>> >
>> > node1 : constResourceData_frag3 (ram), constResourceData_frag4 (ram),
>> > schema (disk)
>> >
>> > node2 : constResourceData (ram), constResourceData_frag2 (ram), schema
>> > (disk)
>> >
>> > Now, from node1, I tried to call
>> > mnesia:del_table_copy(constResourceData_frag2, node2)
>> >
>> > but it fails saying:
>> >
>> > node1> Mnesia(node1): Last replica deleted in table
>> > constResourceData_frag2
>> > node1>{aborted,{no_exists,constResourceData_frag2,frag_properties,
>> >                    frag_hash}}
>> > node1> Mnesia(node1): Transaction {tid,75,<0.371.0>} calling
>> > #Fun<mnesia_schema.15.79614902> with [] failed:
>> >  {aborted,{no_exists,constResourceData_frag2,frag_properties,frag_hash}}
>> >
>> > Looking at the mnesia_schema.erl source code, I found that the failure
>> > seems to happen when it tries to delete the "whole_table" in
>> > make_delete_table/2 and it runs the following check:
>> >
>> > %% Check if it is a base table
>> > nesia_frag:lookup_frag_hash(Tab),
>> >
>> > Why is my attempt of removing the fragment failing?
>> >
>> > My erlang version is R12B.
>> >
>> > Thank you

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