[SOLVED] SHOW databases; ERROR 1018 (HY000)- Can't read dir of '.' (errno- 13)

16 October 2013

We recently migrated our database to new server. The server packed with SSD, which is sweet :) We used Percona XtraBackup to take a live backup of the database, copied it over to new server and sync back to current database using master-slave replication.

To take advantage of SSD, we've configured MySQL to store data in SSD instead of default location. We've edited /etc/mysql/my.cnf with this value datadir = /example_ssd_partition/mysql/data. Everything went fine until I ran SHOW databases command. I got this error:

  SHOW databases;
  ERROR 1018 (HY000): Can't read dir of '.' (errno: 13)

I searched the error message and it yielded bunch of similiar results. The common theme is permission error. Here's one of many results telling it's a permission problem and I just need to chown and chmod the directory. I did that and triple confirmed everything belongs to mysql user. But I still can't SHOW databases. In fact, everything that require a query to information_schema will raise Can't read dir of '.' error.

Here's the gotcha: Ubuntu comes with AppArmor. AppArmor's security model is to bind access control attributes to programs rather than to users. In my /etc/apparmor.d/usr.sbin.mysqld file I've made these changes:

  ...
  # Disable these two lines
  /var/lib/mysql/ r,
  /var/lib/mysql/** rwk,

# Added these two lines /example_ssd_partition/mysql/data r, /example_ssd_partition/mysql/data/** rwk, ...

While it seems correct, there's actually a typo in /example_ssd_partition/mysql/data r,, it should be /example_ssd_partition/mysql/data/ r, instead. I missed out a forward slash after /example_ssd_partition/mysql/data. Because of that, while everything in /example_ssd_partition/mysql/data/ owned by mysql user, the program itself has no access to the content of the directory. I've changed it to:

  ...
  /example_ssd_partition/mysql/data/ r,
  /example_ssd_partition/mysql/data/** rwk,
  ...

A quick AppArmor restart and now I can view all databases again!

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