The max_allowed_packet variable is used to control the maximum size of a query sent to MySQL. It’s function is fairly well defined in the manual but there is a significant gotcha that exists when changing the size of max_allowed_packet while using replication.
When the replication threads are created the global max_allowed_packet value is copied in to the thread context like doing a set session command in the slave connection. This is done because replication enforces max_allowed_packet a bit differently than other threads. It accounts for both the size of the packet and the overhead of the replication header. This makes the max_allowed_packet enforcement accurate in replication but it means that the slave thread won’t account for set global max_allowed_packet=N until replication is restarted. It should be possible to do the same calculation while checking incoming packets but I haven’t looked into making a patch.
I think this has flown under the radar because as soon as the slave hits a query that is larger than max_allowed_packet the i/o thread dies. For example when increasing the max_allowed_packet on a master and slave without restarting replication then running a query larger than the old max_allowed_packet but smaller than the new size and replication will break on the slave. When the operator runs slave start the slave i/o thread will pick up the new global max_allowed_packet and die with:
Last_Error: Could not parse relay log event entry. The possible reasons are: the master’s binary log is corrupted (you can check this by running ‘mysqlbinlog’ on the binary log), the slave’s relay log is corrupted (you can check this by running ‘mysqlbinlog’ on the relay log), a network problem, or a bug in the master’s or slave’s MySQL code. If you want to check the master’s binary log or slave’s relay log, you will be able to know their names by issuing ‘SHOW SLAVE STATUS’ on this slave.
This really only means that the relay log was corrupted. The fix for a corrupted relay log is to do slave stop then a change master to back to the same Exec_master_log_pos and Relay_Master_Log_File from show slave status. Only these two fields need to be specified. The username, password, and host will be reused from the old connection. This will delete the old binary log and download a new one. The new slave threads will have the new max_allowed_packet and everything will move along.
I think there are two things to consider here. First is that mysql can behave in unexpected ways when setting global variables. The other is that it’s important to restart replication when increasing max_allowed_packet on a slave. I haven’t looked into writing a patch for this because it’s so easy to work around by remembering to restart replication.