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Creating a System Activity read replica database

The Elite System Activity feature is available only for Looker-hosted instances. For customer-hosted instances you can create a read replica of the Looker backend database to gain some of the benefits of Elite System Activity.

To use this option, your instance must be configured to use a MySQL backend database.

This option is available for customer-hosted instances only. For Looker-hosted instances, please contact your Looker account manager about the Elite System Activity feature.

To set up a read replica of your MySQL backend database and configure Looker to use the read replica for System Activity queries:

  1. Create a read replica of your MySQL backend database. For example, to create a MySQL read replica in AWS, follow the instructions in Amazon’s Working with Read Replicas documentation. Save the DB instance identifier and port number, you’ll need those to configure Looker in the next step.

  2. On your Looker instance, create a yaml file named sa-db, containing the following:

    dialect: mysql
    host: <DB instance identifier>
    username: root
    password: <password>
    database: looker
    port: <DB instance port>
    
  3. Stop Looker.

  4. Start Looker with the startup option --internal-analytics-connection-file sa-db.yml. This configures Looker to use the read replica database configured in sa-db.yml for System Activity queries.

  5. Optionally, you can also use the following startup options to modify your Elite System Activity configuration:

    • --internal-analytics-retention-days=<number>: By default, System Activity stores 90 days of historical data. Use this startup option to specify how many days of historical data System Activty will store. We do not recommend increasing data retention beyond 90 days, but you can reduce the length of data retention to improve performance. If you want to increase historical data retention beyond the default 90 days, ask your account executive about Looker hosting with the Elite System Activity option.

    If you want more days than the default, ask your account executive about Looker hosting with the Elite System Activity option

    • --internal-analytics-connection-pool-size=<number>: By default, System Activity queries are limited to a database connection pool size of 1, meaning that multiple System Analytics queries will queue and run serially in the backend database. This protects the internal database from being overloaded with System Analytics queries. Use this startup option to specify the number of concurrent System Analytics queries that can be run simultaneously. For example, 8.

Once configured to use the read replica database for System Activity queries, Looker will continue to use main MySQL database as the internal application database. System Activity dashboards and Explores will use the read replica database.

To verify that Looker is using the read replica database for System Activity queries:

System Activity dashboards and Explores will use the read replica database, but the legacy i__looker Explores will still query the primary backend database. Update any saved Looks or dashboards that query i__looker to cause them to query System Activity. Use the methods above to ensure that any saved Looks and dashboards are querying the correct connection to the read replica database.

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