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how do I disable transaction temporarily if I'm using innodb from java jdbc? I'm doing a mass insert and wonder if it will speed up things. or should I just set autocommit to true?

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Actually things will be a bit faster if you perform a mass insert in a single transaction, this is something opposite to setting autocommit to true. Insert will go much faster if you perform it via the "Handler socket" plugin, latest Percona Server already includes it.

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