MySQL Compatibility

Vitess supports MySQL and gRPC server protocol. This allows Vitess to be a drop-in replacement for MySQL Server without any changes to application code. As Vitess is a distributed system, it is important to understand the differences between Vitess and MySQL on compatibility.

Transaction Model #

Vitess provides MySQL default semantics i.e. REPEATABLE READ for single-shard transactions. For multi-shard transactions the semantics change to READ COMMITTED.

SQL Support #

The following describes some differences in query handling between Vitess and MySQL. The Vitess team maintains a list of unsupported queries which is kept up-to-date as we add support for new constructs.

This is an area of active development in Vitess. Any unsupported query can be raised as an issue in the Vitess GitHub Project.


Vitess supports all DDL queries. It offers both managed, online schema changes and non-managed DDL. It is recommended to use Vitess's managed schema changes, which offer non-blocking, trackable, failure agnostic, revertible, concurrent changes, and more. Read more about making schema changes.

Join, Subqueries, Aggregation, Grouping, Having, Ordering, Limit Queries #

Vitess supports most of these types of queries. It is recommended to leave schema tracking enabled in order to fully utilize the available support.

Stored Procedures #

Calling stored procedures using CALL is only supported for:

  • unsharded keyspaces
  • if you directly target a specific shard

There are further limitations to calling stored procedures using CALL:

  • The stored procedure CALL cannot return any results

  • Only IN parameters are supported

  • If you use transactions, the transaction state cannot be changed by the stored procedure.

    For example, if there is a transaction open at the beginning of the CALL, a transaction must still be open after the procedure finishes. Likewise, if no transaction is open at the beginning of the CALL, the stored procedure must not leave an open transaction after execution finishes.

CREATE PROCEDURE is not supported. You have to create the procedure directly on the underlying MySQL servers and not through Vitess.

Temporary Tables #

Vitess has limited support for temporary tables. It works only for unsharded keyspaces.

If the user creates a temporary table then the session will start using reserved connections for any query sent on that session.

The query plans generated by this session will not be cached. It will still continue to use the query plan cached from other non-temporary table sessions.

Window Functions and CTEs #

Vitess does not yet support Window Functions or Common Table Expressions.

Killing running queries #

Vitess does not yet support killing running queries via the KILL command through VTGate. Vitess does have strict query timeouts for OLTP workloads (see below). If you need to kill a query, you can connect to the underlying MySQL shard instance and run KILL from there.

Workload #

By default, Vitess sets some intentional restrictions on the execution time and number of rows that a query can return. This default workload mode is called OLTP. This can be disabled by setting the workload to OLAP:

SET workload='olap'

SELECT ... INTO Statement #

The SELECT ... INTO form of SELECT in MySQL enables a query result to be stored in variables or written to a file. Vitess supports SELECT ... INTO DUMFILE and SELECT ... INTO OUTFILE constructs for unsharded keyspaces but does not support storing results in variable. Moreover, the position of INTO must be towards the end of the query and not in the middle. An example of a correct query is as follows:


For sharded keyspaces this statement can still be used but only after specifying the exact shard with a USE Statement.

LOAD DATA Statement #

LOAD DATA is the complement of SELECT ... INTO OUTFILE that reads rows from a text file into a table at a very high speed. Just like SELECT ... INTO statement, LOAD DATA is also supported in unsharded keyspaces. An example of a correct query is as follows:


For sharded keyspaces this statement can still be used but only after specifying the exact shard with a USE Statement.

USE Statements #

Vitess allows you to select a keyspace using the MySQL USE statement, and corresponding binary API used by client libraries. SQL statements can refer to a table in another keyspace by using the standard dot notation:

SELECT * FROM my_other_keyspace.table;

Vitess extends this functionality further by allowing you to select a specific shard and tablet-type within a USE statement (backticks are important):

-- `KeyspaceName:shardKeyRange@tabletType`
USE `mykeyspace:-80@rdonly`

A similar effect can be achieved by using a database name like mykeyspace:-80@rdonly in your MySQL application client connection string.

Create/Drop Database #

Vitess does not support CREATE and DROP DATABASE queries out of the box.

However, a plugin mechanism is available that can be used to provision databases. The plugin has to take care of creating and dropping the database, and update the topology & VSchema so that Vitess can start receiving queries for the new keyspace.

The plugin should implement the DBDDLPlugin interface, and be saved into a new file in the go/vt/vtgate/engine/ directory.

type DBDDLPlugin interface {
	CreateDatabase(ctx context.Context, name string) error
	DropDatabase(ctx context.Context, name string) error

It must then register itself by calling DBDDLRegister. You can take a look at the dbddl_plugin.go in the engine package for an example of how it's done. Finally, you need to add a command line flag to vtgate to have it use the new plugin: --dbddl_plugin=myPluginName

Cross-shard Transactions #

Vitess supports multiple transaction modes. The default mode is MULTI i.e. multi-shard transactions as best-effort. A transaction that affects only one shard will be fully ACID complaint. When a transactions affects multiple shards, any failure on one or more shards will rollback the effect of that query. Committing the multi-shard transaction issues commits to the participating shards in a particular order. This allows the application or user to undo the effects of partial commits in case of failures. There are more improvements planned which can be tracked through this issue

Auto Increment #

Tables in sharded keyspaces should not be defined using the auto_increment column attribute, as the values generated will not be unique across shards. It is recommended to use Vitess Sequences instead. The semantics are very similar to auto_increment and the differences are documented.

Character Set and Collation #

Vitess supports ~99% of MySQL collations. More details can be found here.

Data Types #

Vitess supports all of the data types available in MySQL. Using the FLOAT data type as part of a PRIMARY KEY is strongly discouraged, since features such as filtered replication and VReplication will not correctly be able to detect which rows should be included as part of a modification.

SQL Mode #

Vitess behaves similar to the STRICT_TRANS_TABLES sql mode, and does not recommend changing the SQL Mode setting.

Network Protocol #

Prepared Statements #

Vitess supports prepared statements via the MySQL protocol. Session-based commands using the PREPARE and EXECUTE SQL statements are currently not supported.

Authentication Plugins #

Vitess supports both 5.7 and 8.0 authentication. E.g. mysql_native_password, caching_sha2_password, etc.

Transport Security #

To configure VTGate to support TLS set --mysql_server_ssl_cert and --mysql_server_ssl_key. Client certificates can also be mandated by setting --mysql_server_ssl_ca. If there is no CA specified then TLS is optional.

X Dev API #

Vitess does not support X Dev API.