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What is MySQL: The Essence and the Features

Collecting, storing, and processing data are the primary tasks of today. As the data grow, the question of handling them becomes painful. In many cases, the most efficient solution is a relational database – an organized collection of data stored in tables that relate to others. It is optimal for extensive volumes of data.

The core principles of relational databases had stood the test of time and made this database concept the most widespread worldwide. It is the relational database idea that comes to mind first when speaking about databases generally. 

Introduction to SQL

In databases, data is structured and stored in different tables that simplify the process of accessing, updating, and manipulating data. The table consists of columns and rows. Tables in databases can be joined with the help of relationships. To perform data-related tasks in the database, SQL can be used. SQL stands for Structured Query Language aimed at creating, modifying, and managing data in the database within a specific RDBMS.

What is MySQL

MySQL is an open-source cross-platform database management system based on SQL queries. Originally it was developed by the Swedish MySQL AB company. Now it is the branch of Oracle Corporation.

The system is conceivably the most popular and recognizable RDBMS worldwide. Such giants as Facebook, YouTube, Uber, Google, and countless other corporations prefer MySQL for their data storage and management. And they have all the reasons to stick to this RDBMS. 

Most Persuasive Reasons to Choose MySQL

Every database management system has its community of loyal fans, but MySQL is an undeniable leader. There are indeed objective advantages that MySQL offers to its users.

Simple and straightforward

MySQL is user-friendly. Basic knowledge of SQL and its statements will allow efficient interaction with MySQL Server. You can query and update data as well as administer the databases.


MySQL is free to use and modify under the GPL (GNU Public License). That license determines the free users’ rights. The commercial license is also available – it allows using MySQL software in commercial applications, and you aren’t subject to the GPL regulations.

Scalable and fast

The MySQL architecture allows this system to support the most powerful applications. It provides appropriate speed and has a very low memory leakage problem. Also, it can manage almost any volume of data in a table (50+ million rows). The initial file size limit is 4 GB, but it can increase to the maximum of 8 TB data.


MySQL Server is compatible with Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS, Ubuntu, and multiple Unix options, such as AIX, BSDI, FreeBSD, HP-UX, OpenBSD, Net BSD, SGI Iris, and Sun Solaris.

Highly secured

Experts all over the world recognize MySQL as the safest and most reliable DBMS. Its data security options ensure appropriate data protection from any intruders.

Most Notable Features of MySQL

The functionality of MySQL is impressive. Lots of options are available to administrators, analysts, and developers. Some of the best-known and useful features of MySQL include the following:

Client/Server Architecture

The client/server system involves the primary database MySQL Server and multiple clients – application programs. MySQL Server creates the database and defines the relationship of each table. The clients communicate with the server to request and manipulate the data with the specific SQL statements. The tasks may include querying the data, adding and saving changes, etc. The server application provides the requested information on the clients’ side.

The server and clients can be both on the same computer or different machines. In the latter case, they communicate via the network (local or the Internet). The client/server architecture is typical for all large database systems. 

ODBC Support

With the help of ODBC interface Connector/ODBC, you can address MySQL by such programming languages as Delphi, Visual Basic, and other standard languages running under Windows.

SQL queries and commands

To work with MySQL relational databases productively, you can use views, triggers, and stored procedures. All these items are primary SQL elements that help to administrate the large databases significantly. MySQL has been supporting these elements since version 5.0.


It is possible to copy the contents of a MySQL database onto other computers. This way, you can protect the data against system failures – you may replace a database with its replica when needed. Also, this option improves the database query speed.


Transaction stands for the execution of several operations as one block. A crucial feature is that either all operations are executed correctly in the transaction, or none of them can be performed. Hence, transactions let the programmers interrupt/revoke commands that are already executed – it is only one example. In general, this feature simplifies all processes. MySQL supports transactions too though not for the MyISAM table format. However, you can apply other formats in MySQL and ensure this helpful feature. 

Foreign key constraints

In MySQL databases, foreign key constraints are fully supported for InnoDB tables. You can be sure that all cross-references in tables are valid and accurate. 

Data dictionary

MySQL includes countless objects and huge information volumes about those objects. That’s why it introduced the dedicated data dictionary storing all the information about those MySQL database objects. It is a crash-safe, centralized, and more optimized format than the previous file-based metadata storage. Also, it is much more convenient to access and work. 

These are only several examples of MySQL features. When you start working with this RDBMS more thoroughly, you will note countless additional options to make your activities simpler. Besides, there are professional tools.

MySQL management tools

The database management system can be outstanding, but it must also be convenient to use. Though database specialists can operate their RDBMS manually via the command-line, tasks are simpler to perform via the dedicated interface. 

There are both free and paid MySQL GUI solutions with different functionality. Among them, it’s worth mentioning such popular variants as MySQL WorkBench, HeidiSQL, and dbForge Tools for MySQL, particularly dbForge Studio for MySQL. They all offer plenty of options. For instance, you can execute queries on multiple databases because such items can connect to hundreds of servers and databases. 

The tools of the dbForge MySQL product line can perform all tasks related to database development, analysis, design, administration, and maintenance, as well as data reporting. Among them, dbForge Studio for MySQL is the most functional and capable.

As an alternative, you can select separate dbForge tools – they come as standalone items too. All items have full-functional free trials, so you can simply download any solution that interests you and use all its functionality to test respectively. 


In the article, we have reviewed the benefits of why it is worth using MySQL, and the main features it provides. To implement data-related tasks in MySQL databases, download and try a free 30-day trial of dbForge Studio for MySQL.

Watch Tutorial

For more information about the key features of dbForge Studio for MySQL, take a look at our video tutorial: