Functions, Benefits, and Limitations of MySQL


MySQL is a multi-threaded and open source relational database management system (RDBMS) that uses the client/server architecture (Dyer, 2008).Other RDBMSs include Oracle, DB2, SQLite, PostgreSQL, and SQL Server. These tools are used to store, retrieve, and manage data for businesses or organizations (DuBois, 2009). This paper provides an overview of MySQL, types of organizations that use it, benefits of the tool, and its limitations.

MySQL in an open source distribution that contains three core tools: (1) a SQL server that powers the database system and permits database access to users, (2) utility programs and a database client for database administration and user interactivity, and (3) a client library, which allows users to develop their own database programs. Database administration tasks the tool offers include backup generation and database performance monitoring (DuBois, 2009).A typical database system environment has several components as depicted in the figure below.

Database system environment (Rob & Coronel, 2009)


MySQL is used by different organizations in diverse industries. Examples of corporations using MySQL to power their business-critical systems and large websites to saving money and time include Facebook, Alcatel Lucent, Google, Zappos and Adobe (Oracle Corporation, 2015). Many web developers use MySQL for web development because it integrates well with Apache web server and PHP scripting language (Dyer, 2008).

There are several benefits of using MySQL.First, MySQL is fast. According to its developers, the database system is almost the fastestDBMS (Oracle Corporation, 2015). Second, it is easy to use. Third, the tool uses the standard Structured Query Language (SQL) for manipulating databases. Fourth, MySQL is multi-threaded making it possible to access multiple databases concurrently. Fifth, it is secure and fully networked. This provides protection against illegal access to databases and ensuring that users can access the database through the Internet respectively. Other benefits include its portability, small installation size, cost and availability, and a great support team (Dyer, 2008; DuBois, 2009).

However, in using MySQL database system, organizations face a few limitations. One such limitation is that MySQL does not fully comply with the SQL standard, which causes challenges in querying or manipulating the database forcing one to learn the SQL variant of MySQL. Another limitation is that free MySQL lacks a few features found in commercial database systems like Oracle such as role-based security and clustering that are essential in an enterprise RDBMS (DuBois, 2009).

Using a DBMS does not compel database designers to ensure that database table structures are coherent. According to Rob and Coronel(2009), inexperienced database designers often create unnecessary complexity through poor choice of data types, which eventually limits future development of the databases. This problem becomes evident where a company’s database consists of multiple tables related through foreign keys but where the table structures are poorlydesigned making querying slower and outputs less meaningful.

This paper has covered an overview of the MySQL database, organizations that use it, benefits of the tool, and its limitations. The paper highlighted benefits of the tool as including performance speed, ease of use, and portability among others. Two limitationsof MySQL identified in this paper are non-compliance with some SQL standards and lack of some useful features found oncommercial enterprise databases. Finally, the paper highlighted poor database design as a problem RDBMSs cannot solve.




DuBois, P. (2009). MySQL (4th ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

Dyer, R.J.T. (2008). MySQL in a Nutshell (2dn ed.). Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media, Inc.

Oracle Corporation (2015). MySQL: The world’s most popular open source database.Retrieved from

Rob, P & Coronel, C. (2009).Database Systems: design, implementation, and management (8th ed.). Massachusetts: Thomson Course Technology.

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