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MySQL to Exasol Migration Lessons Learned


Here is a list of lessons we learned while migrating our reporting tools from MySQL (5.6 with strict mode off) to Exasol.

Hopefully this will be useful for other folks making the same transition:

  1. MySQL supports both -- and # for indicating SQL comments. Exasol only supports --
  2. '\n' in MySQL strings is interpreted as a newline. In Exasol it's treated as a literal slash + n so instead you need to use a literal newline character
  3. Identifier quoting in MySQL is `...` while in Exasol it is "..."
  4. String quoting in MySQL is either "..." or '...' while in Exasol it is only '...' 
  5. In MySQL column Identifiers are case insensitive while table identifiers are case sensitive. In Exasol all identifiers are case sensitive. Furthermore, if the identifier is unquoted it is converted to all uppercase. 
  6. Keyword differences. Identifiers that are keywords must be quoted in both MySQL and Exasol however what qualifies as a keyword differs. e.g. PATH is a keyword in Exasol but not in MySQL. You can get a list of Exasol keywords via SELECT keyword FROM exa_sql_keywords WHERE reserved = TRUE;
  7. There are many MySQL function which are supported in Exasol but under a different name or calling syntax. e.g. REGEXP -> REGEXP_LIKE, DATE -> TO_DATE, TRIM, DAYOFMONTH -> DAY, UNIX_TIMESTAMP -> POSIX_TIME, DATABASE() -> CURRENT_SCHEMA, DATETIME -> TIMESTAMP, SYSTEM -> SESSIONTIMEZONE etc. 
  8. There there are many MySQL native functions which do not have a direct equivalent in Exasol but which can be emulated via custom functions e.g. CONCAT_WS, FIELD, DAYOFWEEK, etc
  9. There are many of MySQL keywords which have no Exasol equivalent and which are unnecessary in Exasol e.g. USE/IGNORE INDEX 
  10. In Exasol SELECT columns which are not part of the GROUP-BY must be enclosed in an aggregation of some sort (COUNT, SUM, MAX, FIRST_VALUE, etc) or will otherwise generate an error. MySQL randomly chooses a value if no aggregate function is specified.
    2. Exasol: SELECT FIRST_VALUE(a) FROM b GROUP BY c; -- Note this generates an error in MySQL
  11. In Exasol, date/time interval arithmetic requires duration to be a string while in MySQL it can be a number.
    2. Exasol: SELECT NOW() + INTERVAL '1' DAY
  12. In Exasol, date/time interval arithmetic requires the date to be explicitly cast as DATE if it's a string.
    1. MySQL: SELECT '2001-02-03' + INTERVAL '1' DAY
    2. Exasol: SELECT DATE('2001-02-03') + INTERVAL '1' DAY
  13. In Exasol, NULLs in ORDER-BY...ASC are sorted last by default while in MySQL they are sorted first (and vice versa for DESC). You can specify ORDER BY...ASC NULLS FIRST in Exasol to mimic MySQL behavior.
  14. MySQL does all string matching and sorting case-insensitively while Exasol does it sensitively. To mimic the MySQL behavior in Exasol you can wrap all comparison terms in  UPPER() / LOWER() (however note that this may cause performance degradation)
  15. MySQL ignores all trailing spaces while Exasol does not. To mimic the MySQL behavior in Exasol you can wrap all string criteria/sorting terms in RTRIM() (may also cause performance degradation)
  16. '' is treated as NULL in Exasol . It doesn't distinguish between the two. So any MySQL behavior which treats '' and NULL differently will behave differently in Exasol. There are many such behavior differences. Unfortunately it is not possible to make Exasol mimic MySQL in this regard. e.g.
    1. Comparisons: '' = '' is true and 'abc' = '' is false in MySQL while both are NULL in Exasol
    2.  Sorting: MySQL distinguishes between '' and NULL when sorting while Exasol does not
    3. Functions: There are many functions that will return NULL if any of the inputs are NULL and so in Exasol they will return NULL if passed in '' while in MySQL they will not
  17. In Exasol automatic datatype coercion is much stricter and so explicit casting is often necessary while it may not be necessary in MySQL.
  18. In Exasol there is a much stricter need for UNION column datatypes to match across unions.
  19. In Exasol string + 0 doesn't convert a string into a number. Exasol optimizes away the + 0. You need to use a CAST(string AS INTEGER) or string + 1 - 1
  20. Exasol does not support binary data columns so MySQL binary columns will need to be converted to char fields of some sort (or discarded)
  21. Exasol dates support years up to 9999 while MySQL only supports up to 2155
  22. In Exasol a correlated sub-select SELECT column must only return one row and it can't do that via LIMIT 1 (as can be done in MySQL). Instead you have to use an aggregate function (with no GROUP-BY)
    1. MySQL: SELECT (SELECT user_id FROM users WHERE roles.role_id = users.role_id LIMIT 1) FROM roles;
    2. Exasol: SELECT (SELECT FIRST_VALUE(user_id) FROM users WHERE roles.role_id = users.role_id) FROM roles;
  23. In Exasol a correlated sub-select SELECT column which is part of a UNION query where the column in other UNIONs is NULL will generate an error. At least one of the NULLs needs to be cast.
    1. MySQL: SELECT (SELECT MAX(user_id) FROM users WHERE roles.role_id = users.role_id) FROM roles UNION SELECT NULL;
    2. Exasol: SELECT (SELECT MAX(user_id) FROM users WHERE roles.role_id = users.role_id) FROM roles UNION SELECT CAST(NULL AS INTEGER);
  24. In Exasol JOIN...USING() join syntax can be significantly slowetr than JOIN...ON when there are a large number of such joins. So in general use the ON syntax (Note that it is on Exasol's roadmap to address this issue). In MySQL there is no performance difference between the two syntaxes.
  25. In Exasol multiple JOIN-USINGs with the same column name generates a duplicate column error.
    1. MySQL: SELECT * FROM a JOIN b USING(id) JOIN c USING(id);
    2. Exasol: SELECT * FROM a JOIN b ON a.id = b.id JOIN c ON a.id = c.id;
  26. In Exasol selecting a column referenced in a USING() cannot include the table name. In MySQL it can.
    1. MySQL: SELECT a.id FROM a JOIN b USING(id)
    2. Exasol: SELECT id FROM a JOIN b USING(id)
  27. In MySQL 'a JOIN b' with no ON clause is implicitly a cross join. In Exasol you have to explicitly say 'a CROSS JOIN b' otherwise you get a syntax error.
  28. In Exasol you can't have a sub-select inside of ON clause JOIN criteria. You have to rewrite the sub-query as a table and JOIN onto it.
    1. MySQL: ... JOIN a ON c1 = c2 AND c3 = (SELECT c4 ...)
    2. Exasol: ... JOIN a ON c1 = c2 JOIN (SELECT c4 ...) AS t ON c3 = c4
  29. In Exasol, while 1/0  are considered boolean in comparisons (e.g. TRUE = 1 is TRUE) they are not considered boolean as operands of AND/OR . In MySQL they are.
    1. MySQL: ...WHERE 1
    2. Exasol: ...WHERE 1 = TRUE or ...WHERE CAST(1 AS BOOLEAN) 
  30. In Exasol you cannot have a HAVING without a GROUP BY. In MySQL you can.
  31. In Exasol criteria in a WHERE/HAVING clause cannot directly reference SELECT column aliases. The criteria needs to reference underlying column SQL or use local.alias
    1. MySQL: SELECT t.col AS a FROM ... WHERE a = 1
    2. Exasol: SELECT t.col AS a FROM ... WHERE local.a = 1
    3. or: SELECT t.col AS a FROM ... WHERE t.col = 1
  32. The ORDER-BY in a (...) UNION (...) ORDER BY ... construct is a syntax error in Exasol (in MySQL it is not). It needs to be written as SELECT * FROM (...) UNION (...) AS a ORDER BY ...
  33. MySQL's ORDER-BY sorts in this order: tab, blank, space whereas Exasol sorts: blank, tab, space
  34. In Exasol date formatting can't include non-formatting alphanumeric characters. You have to CONCAT the formatted date with the non-formatting strings.
    1. MySQL: DATE_FORMAT(NOW(),'%jth')
    2. Exasol: CONCAT(TO_CHAR(NOW(),'DDD'),'th')
  35. In GROUP_CONCAT(DISTINCT a ORDER BY b) Exasol will only collapse identical adjacent values *after* ordering while MySQL collapses all identical values regardless of order.
  36. REGEXPs in Exasol assume a leading ^ and trailing $ while MySQL's don't. So you need an explicit '.*' in Exasol to emulate that.
    1. MySQL: ...REGEXP 'abc'
    2. Exasol: ...REGXP_LIKE '.*abc.*'
  37. Exasol doesn't support SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS + FOUND_ROWS() construct. Instead you can just include a column which does COUNT(*) OVER () AS num_rows
  38. Exasol doesn't support temporary tables like MySQL's. However tables (and all DDL) in Exasol are transactional (unlike in MySQL where they always auto-commit) so multiple sessions can simultaneously create the same table in their respective transactions as long as they rollback the transaction or drop the table before committing. Also consider using CTEs (via WITH clause) instead.
  39. MySQL supports fractional time values out to microseconds whereas Exasol only supports it out to milliseconds
  40. MySQL automatically orders by GROUP-BY columns if an ORDER-BY is omitted. Exasol does not. In Exasol you need an explicit ORDER BY if you want it ordered.
  41. When dividing by zero, MySQL returns NULL while Exasol generates an error
  42. and more...


reminds me of your presentation last year in Atlanta - fun times 🙂

Exasol Alumni

And I am happy that we decided to lift the 20.000 character Maximum on new Posts... great post Peter!!!