As DBAs that manage large quantities of database servers, we are always looking for the fastest or most efficient way to load data into the database. Some DBAs have quarterly maintenance periods where they reload data into a database to refresh the indexes.
If you primarily use InnoDB tables in your MySQL database server, then these set of tricks will help in trying to make the reload process a bit faster than just a straight dump & reload.
innodb_flush_log_at_trx_commmit = 0
innodb_support_xa = 0
disable log-bin & log_slow_queries
Since the goal is to reload data quickly, we need to eliminate any potential bottlenecks. Setting innodb_flush_log_at_trx_commit = 0 this will reduce the amount of disk I/O by avoiding a flush to disk on each commit. If you are not using XA compliant transactions (multi system two-phase commits) then you won't need this option set. This will avoid an extra disk flush before the transaction starts. The skip-innodb-doublewrite option will turn off the use of this buffer for inserts, which will actually eek out a little bit more performance. Also if you don't need to use the binary log, turn it off during your reload period. Remember any excess disk I/O that is not needed will hurt in the performance of reloading the database.
Unloading the data
There are many ways to unload & reload the data using the standard MySQL tools or your own crafted toolset. Again the main idea is efficiency. The best advice here is while selecting the data to be unloaded, make sure that the select is in primary key order. If the data is sorted ahead of time, it loads pretty fast back into InnoDB as the primary key is a clustered index, meaning that the data is sorted based on the primary key as it is inserted into the database. Use the --order-by-primary option of the mysqldump utility while selecting the data.
I hope these small tips help you make the process a bit less painful.