I need to rename one column in 170 tables in a MySQL database and its going really slow.
Doesn't make much sense. A column name should be easy to rename and somewhat independent of the data the column stores.
Table data, index data, belong in physical ANSI-SPARC level, while entity names belong in the conceptual level.
The columns all have an index plus a foreign key on them, would dropping the index/temporarily removing the foreign key speed up the process?
There might be other better alternatives to try... if you can, scaling the virtual machine up vertically for the task, and scaling it back down once the task is done, doesn't put the schema in a potential integrity compromise risk, while potentially coping with whatever CPU/Memory/IO bottleneck it might be having before scaling up.