Aiven Blog

Feb 23, 2022

What is MySQL? Get the basics here

MySQL is a traditional open source relational database that goes well with many well-established applications. Find out more about its features and use cases.

Ana Vasiliuk

Ana Vasiliuk

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Community Manager at Aiven

MySQL has been a key part of the open source database ecosystem for a long time, with many of the world’s largest and fastest-growing companies adopting it for their business-critical systems. If you’re looking for a way to get started with MySQL, this blog post has a good overview of its capabilities and common use cases, so read on!

What is MySQL?

MySQL is an open source relational database management system (DBMS). It is developed, supported, and distributed by Oracle Corporation and it has a vibrant community around it. Some of the key MySQL features include:

  • Portability: MySQL works on many different platforms and is configured using CMake
  • Works on top of various storage engines, with the option to add new engines relatively easily to provide a SQL interface to an in-house database
  • In-memory hash tables, which are used as temporary tables
  • Many data types, including JSON and spatial
  • Full operator and function support in the SELECT list and WHERE clause of queries
  • Full support for SQL GROUP BY and ORDER BY clauses and group functions
  • Flexibility and security
  • MySQL includes several clients and utilities written in many languages

What are the primary use cases for MySQL?

MySQL is the most widely adopted relational database management system and can be used for mission critical apps, dynamic websites, and as an embedded database for software, hardware, and appliances. Here are the examples of some of the most common use cases:

  • Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) – MySQL can be useful both in any application that requires a simple SQL engine and websites with heavy traffic. It adheres to ACID principles and its extensions to ANSI/ISO Standard SQL support a large volume of databases.
  • LAMP Stack – MySQL’s simple programming syntax makes it compatible with high-performance applications running on the LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP/Python/Perl).
  • eCommerce – MySQL can process a high volume of requests in the shortest amount of time, so it’s good for managing customer data, catalogs, and transactions.
  • Fraud detection – Thanks to the high availability of MySQL, it’s able to analyze transactions in real time, along with trends or anomalous behavior, to prevent fraudulent activities.

These are just some examples of situations where you can use MySQL. As it’s a highly popular database management system and it’s open source, it has an extensive portfolio of extensions and community support. All this makes MySQL a flexible tool for many use cases.

How to get started with MySQL?

It’s relatively easy if you use Aiven for MySQL™. Whether you are building something new or looking for a modern platform for your existing applications, Aiven for MySQL™ is a friendly and scalable offering. Here’s how to get started:

  • Log in to the Aiven Console (or sign up for a 30-day trial if you haven’t done so yet!).
  • Create a new Aiven service by following these steps.
  • Click the service name in the list to go to the ”Overview” page. You can configure the service using our list of available parameters if needed.
  • Once the service is up and running, the light changes to green and the indicator says ” RUNNING “.

That’s it! You can explore the next steps on our Developer Portal - we have quite an extensive list of How-tos and resources available at

Wrapping up

We hope you found this introduction useful and are ready to get started with MySQL. For more details about the tool, check out our resources below or the official MySQL docs.

Lastly, try out our fully-managed service, deployable in the cloud of your choice. Start with a 30-day trial and see if it works for your use case. As we mentioned, MySQL has a vibrant community to answer any questions you may have, or our team can help answer those questions for you too.

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