Database testing for all version changes (including minor versions)

We know that SQL statement compatibility can change with major database version upgrades and that you should adequately test for them. But what about minor version upgrades?

It is dangerous to assume that your existing SQL statements work with a minor update, especially when using an augmented version of an open-source database such as a cloud provider that may not be as transparent about all changes.

While I have always found reading the release notes an important step in architectural principles over the decades, many organizations skip over this principle and get caught off guard when there are no dedicated DBAs and architects in the engineering workforce.

Real-world examples of minor version upgrade issues

Here are two real-world situations common in the AWS RDS ecosystem using MySQL.

  1. You are an organization that uses RDS Aurora MySQL for its production systems, and you upgrade one minor version at a time. A diligent approach is to be one minor version behind unless a known bug is fixed in a newer version you depend on.
  2. You are an organization that, to save costs with a comprehensive engineering team, uses AWS RDS MySQL (not Aurora) for developers and some testing environments.

I’ve simplified a real-world example to a simple SQL statement and combined these two separate use cases into one simulated situation for demonstration purposes.

mysql> SELECT content_type FROM reserved2;
Empty set (0.00 sec)

mysql> SELECT VERSION(), @@aurora_version;
| VERSION() | @@aurora_version |
| 8.0.28    | 3.04.2           |

| 8.0.34    |
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

This is a simple enough query, this runs in AWS RDS Aurora MySQL 3.04.02 (which is the present Aurora MySQL long-term support (LTS) release). This is based on MySQL 8.0.28 which is FWIW not a supported AWS RDS MySQL version anymore, the minimum is now 8.0.32 (Supported MySQL minor versions on Amazon RDS).

It runs in AWS RDS MySQL 8.0.34 which is for example what version your developer setup is.

An AWS RDS MySQL Aurora minor version upgrade

You decide to upgrade from Aurora 3.04.x/3.05.x to 3.06.x. This Aurora version is actually based on MySQL 8.0.34 (the version you just tested in RDS). Without adequate due diligence you roll out to production only to find after the fact that this SQL statement (realize this is one simplified example for demonstrate purposes) now breaks for no apparent reason.

mysql> select content_type from reserved2;
ERROR 1064 (42000): You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near 'content_type from reserved2' at line 1

mysql> SELECT VERSION(), @@aurora_version;
| VERSION() | @@aurora_version |
| 8.0.34    | 3.06.0           |

Now, you need to investigate the problem, which can take hours, even days of resource time, and a lot of shaking heads to realize it has nothing to do with your application code but to do with the minor version upgrade. Which you simply cannot roll back. See Risks from auto upgrades with managed database services for some interesting facts.

Wait, what just happened?

If you performed this upgrade to the latest AWS RDS Aurora MySQL 3.06.0 version sometime after the release on 3/7/24 and before 6/4/24, a 3-month period, you are left with one choice. You have to make application code changes to address the breakage.

How many man-hours/man-days does this take? If you upgraded to this version in the past two weeks, technically you have a second choice. You can go to the most current version, 3.07.0, but you have already spent time in testing and deploying 3.06.0, which you need to re-test, then rollout in non-production accounts and then rollout to production. How many man-days of work is this?

It may be hard to justify the cost of automated testing until you uncover a situation like this one; however, it can easily be avoided in the future.

So why did this happen?

Lets look deeper are the fine-print

RDS Aurora MySQL 3.06.0

Aurora MySQL version 3.06.0 supports Amazon Bedrock integration and introduces the new reserved keywords accept, aws_bedrock_invoke_model, aws_sagemaker_invoke_endpoint, content_type, and timeout_ms. Check the object definitions for the usage of the new reserved keywords before upgrading to version 3.06.0. To mitigate the conflict with the new reserved keywords, quote the reserved keywords used in the object definitions. For more information on the Amazon Bedrock integration and handling the reserved keywords, see What is Amazon Bedrock? in the Amazon Aurora User Guide. For additional information, see Keywords and Reserved Words, The INFORMATION_SCHEMA KEYWORDS Table, and Schema Object Names in the MySQL documentation.

From AWS RDS Aurora MySQL 3.06.0 release notes (3/7/24).

While less likely you would name a column aws_bedrock_invoke_model, column names of content_type and timeout_ms are common words.

RDS Aurora MySQL 3.07.0

Aurora MySQL version 3.06.0 added support for Amazon Bedrock integration. As part of this, new reserved keywords (accept, aws_bedrock_invoke_model, aws_sagemaker_invoke_endpoint, content_type, and timeout_ms) were added. In Aurora MySQL version 3.07.0, these keywords have been changed to nonreserved keywords, which are permitted as identifiers without quoting. For more information on how MySQL handles reserved and nonreserved keywords, see Keywords and reserved words in the MySQL documentation.

From AWS RDS Aurora MySQL 3.07.0 release notes (6/4/24). Clearly someone at AWS saw the breaking changes and it was reverted. While it’s possible many customers may not need to catch this situation, this is one specific use case.


The moral of the database story here is Be Prepared.

You should always be prepared for future breaking compatibility. You should test with a regular software upgrade cadence and leverage automation as much as possible.

Next BaseLine is a software product that automates testing for many use cases, including this simple SQL compatibility issue. By adding to your CI/CD pipeline can help identify and risk in all SQL database access, including new engineering software releases or infrastructure updates. This product can be implemented in a few hours, and cost significantly less than the large amount of time lost with this one realistic situation.

Next BaseLine - Helping to create a better and faster next version of your data-driven product


This example was not uncovered from a customer situation. It was uncovered and used as a demonstration because I read the release notes.

Test Case

SELECT VERSION(), @@aurora_version; /* No way to comment out the !Aurora example */
USE test;
SELECT accept FROM reserved1;
SELECT content_type FROM reserved2;
SELECT timeout_ms FROM reserved3;

The curse of MySQL warnings

MySQL warnings are an anti-pattern when it comes to maintaining data integrity. When the information retrieved from a database does not match what was entered, and this is not identified immediately, this can be permanently lost.

MySQL by default for several decades until the most recent versions enabled you to insert incorrect data, or insert data that was then truncated, or other patterns that resulted in failed data integrity. Very few applications considered handling warnings as errors, and there is a generation of software products that have never informed the developers that warnings were occurring.

The most simplest example is:

USE warnings;

CREATE TABLE short_name(
  name VARCHAR(20) NOT NULL,

INSERT INTO short_name (name) VALUES ('This name is too long and will get truncated');
ERROR 1406 (22001): Data too long for column 'name' at row 1

This is what you expect would happen. In many, many applications IT DOES NOT.

For almost 20 years the default setting was to support possible data corruption

If you used an older version without setting up a more strict SQL_MODE from the default you end up with.

INSERT INTO short_name (name) VALUES ('This Name is too long and will get truncated');
Query OK, 1 row affected, 1 warning (0.00 sec)

SELECT * FROM short_name;
| id | name                 |
|  1 | This name is too lon |
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

Only if you run SHOW WARNINGS and after the actual SQL statement would you know? There is no other way to find this information in any logs. There is no way to

| Level   | Code | Message                                   |
| Warning | 1265 | Data truncated for column 'name' at row 1 |
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

Numerous other examples can shock a customer when, after some time, expected data in a production is lost and unretrievable.

If you came from a more strict RDBMS background, or you tuned your MySQL installation or uncovered this and many other poor defaults, you would have improved your data integrity with and improved SQL_MODE.

So MySQL warnings are bad? No, they are ideal when used appropriately. However, the next critical dilemma occurs.

Warnings are valuable when used to identify important characteristics of an SQL statement that a developer or database administrator should be aware of. However, the only way to retrieve these warnings is from the application making the connection to the database at each statement, and generally, these warnings are just lost.

Here are some examples of warnings that are important for the engineering team that define criteria such as deprecation notices, which are important for production database upgrades.

SELECT JSON_MERGE('["a"]','["b"]'); 
Warning (Code 1287): 'JSON_MERGE' is deprecated and will be removed in a future release. Please use JSON_MERGE_PRESERVE/JSON_MERGE_PATCH instead

SELECT ST_GeomFromWKB(Point(0, 0));
Warning: (3195) st_geometryfromwkb(geometry) is deprecated and will be replaced by st_srid(geometry, 0) in a future version. Use st_geometryfromwkb(st_aswkb(geometry), 0) instead.

SELECT DATE('2024-01-01 10:00:00') 
Warning (Code 4096): Delimiter ' ' in position 11 in datetime value '2024-01-01 10:00:00' at row 1 is superfluous and is deprecated. Please remove.

Warning (Code 1287): 'BINARY expr' is deprecated and will be removed in a future release. Please use CAST instead 

You definitely want to know about these, collect them (hard), add them to your backlog, and don’t leave it until its too late in the I can’t upgrade my database to have to address.

If you want to know about these, collect them (hard), add them to your backlog, and don’t leave it until it’s too late for a critical last-minute upgrade to my database to have to address.

There are also warnings that should be collected and used for performance verification, which apply to running systems. I wanted to show one specific example uncovered during testing of a MySQL upgrade to version 8.0.

Warning (Code 3170): Memory capacity of 8388608 bytes for 'range_optimizer_max_mem_size' exceeded. Range optimization was not done for this query.

In fact, this warning occurs in MySQL 5.7, but the customer never knew because they did not look at the warnings. How many other SQL statements in your application produce warnings now? How can you find this out?

It was rather easy to create a reproducible test case but what now?

  • Do you set range_optimizer_max_mem_size=0
  • Do you set to the value you need, which you can identify with SELECT * FROM performance_schema.memory_summary_by_thread_by_event_name WHERE thread_id=PS_CURRENT_THREAD_ID() AND event_name='memory/sql/test_quick_select'\G
  • Do you need to modify your optimizer_switch settings?
  • Do you try something else?
  • Do you refactor your application?
  • Do you just leave it as is?

When you want to consider several different options, which one works best for this query? What about the impact on your entire production workload? Knowing statistically which is the best choice for your full workload and under various conditions is the optimal output, but how?

Next BaseLine was built to perform experiments comparing changes to your data, configuration, and infrastructure to validate the next version of your product statistically performs better than your current version across all of your application at different workloads.

Next BaseLine also provides numerous benefits for a major database upgrade, so I’ve focussed on getting these capabilities to customers quicker to save money. It provides the benefit of detecting SQL statements that produce errors in the next MySQL version, enabling you to categorize and prioritize areas of your application that must be corrected. It also captures important information about the performance and quality of the data from your MySQL queries; this also can help in identifying the most critical aspects of your application to invest engineering time and mitigate risk in your database upgrade plan. It can also collect warning messages such as these discussed when considering migrating from MySQL 5.7 to MySQL 8, or it can just find them with your current application.

What is your pain point with MySQL database upgrades? What are you doing right now to help reduce this additional budget spend? Join our private beta program now to find out more.

Next BaseLine

Helping to create a better and faster next version of your data-driven product

Upgrading to MySQL 5.5 on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS

Ubuntu does not provide an apt-get repository package for MySQL 5.5 on this older OS, however this is still a widely used long term support version. The following steps will upgrade an existing MySQL 5.1 apt-get version to a standard MySQL 5.5 binary.

Step 1. Remove existing MySQL 5.1 retaining data and configuration

sudo su -
service mysql stop
cp -r /etc/mysql /etc/mysql.51
cp -r /var/lib/mysql /var/lib/mysql.51
which mysqld
dpkg -P mysql-server mysql-server-5.1 mysql-server-core-5.1
which mysqld
which mysql
dpkg -P mysql-client-5.1 mysql-client-core-5.1
which mysql
dpkg -P libdbd-mysql-perl libmysqlclient16 mysql-common
# This will not remove /etc/mysql if any other files are in the directory
dpkg -l | grep mysql
[ -d /etc/mysql ] && mv /etc/mysql /etc/mysql.uninstall
cp -r /etc/mysql.51 /etc/mysql

2. Prepare configuration and required directories.

sudo su -
grep basedir ${MYCNF}
sed -ie "s/^basedir.*$/basedir=/opt/mysql/" ${MYCNF}
grep basedir ${MYCNF}
sed -ie "/^[mysqld_safe]/a
skip-syslog" ${MYCNF}
chown -R mysql:mysql /var/lib/mysql
mkdir -p /var/run/mysqld
sudo chown mysql:mysql /var/run/mysqld

Install MySQL 5.5

sudo su -
mkdir -p /opt
cd /opt
# Install MySQL 5.5 Binaries
apt-get install -y libaio-dev  # New 5.5 dependency
tar xvfz mysql*.tar.gz
ln -s mysql-5.5.28-linux2.6-x86_64 /opt/mysql
echo "export MYSQL_HOME=/opt/mysql
export PATH=$MYSQL_HOME/bin:$PATH" > /etc/profile.d/
chmod +x /etc/profile.d/
. /etc/profile.d/
echo $PATH
which mysql

4. Upgrade and verify MySQL Instance

su - mysql
bin/mysqld_safe --skip-syslog &
tail /var/log/mysql/error.log
# There will be some expected ERRORS in error log
bin/mysql_upgrade -uroot
bin/mysqladmin -uroot  shutdown
bin/mysqld_safe --skip-syslog &
tail -100 /var/log/mysql/error.log
mysql -uroot -e "SELECT VERSION();"
bin/mysqladmin -uroot  shutdown

5. Setup MySQL for system use

# As Root
sudo su -
cp /opt/mysql/support-files/mysql.server ${INIT}
sed -ie "s/^basedir=$/basedir=/opt/mysql/;s/^datadir=$/datadir=/var/lib/mysql/" ${INIT}
${INIT} start
mysql -uroot -e "SELECT VERSION();"
${INIT} stop

The most important MySQL Reference Manual page

In my opinion, The Server Option and Variable Reference at rates as my most important page. This is a consolidated index that enables a drill down to the Server Command Options, System Variables, Startup and replication specifics, as well as important information on default values and differences between versions including point releases.

However, there is another page not in the actual manual, but at which is an Options/Variables reference akin to the Reference Manual, but includes a 5.x version matrix.

Recently I was asked about some options that had to be removed from an upgrade to MySQL 5.5. Some of these were obvious, however not all. This page enabled me to confirm deprecation (as expected), and also point to important reference material.

These options where:

  • default_table_type
  • log_long_format
  • master-connect-retry
  • default-character-set

The use of table_type was a 3.x/4.x relic, replaced with engine, so I was surprised this option was still even valid. The option replaced with default_storage_engine. The page defined this as deprecated in MySQL 5.0
log_long_format is also old, and definitely modified since MySQL 5.1 with the general_log_xxx options. In fact this has been deprecated since 4.1
I have never liked the master-xxx options, in favor of a CHANGE MASTER command and synchronization issues with the file and master-xx options. master-connect-retry and several other options were deprecated in 5.1.17. On a side note, if you look at this option in the MySQL 5.5 Reference Manual you get Obsolete options. The following options are removed in MySQL 5.5. If you attempt to start mysqld with any of these options in MySQL 5.5, the server aborts with an unknown variable error. To set the replication parameters formerly associated with these options, you must use the CHANGE MASTER TO … statement (see Section, “CHANGE MASTER TO Syntax”).
Finally default-character-set. Initially I thought that is definitely still applicable, however the handy cross reference reminded me, this is also deprecated in MySQL 5.0 and the Reference Manual again stating default-character-set is also deprecated in 5.0 in favor of character-set-server.. The name has simply changed in newer version.

With so many options and as a consultant I work with many different versions each week, I sometimes need a refresher of the changes in the versions of the past 5 years. Definitely my second most important page.

If you have a favorite page, please let me know.

I would also like to say thank you to the Oracle/MySQL Documentation team that do a great job in providing an excellent resource to an open source product. We would all do well to appreciate this in comparison to other open source documentation in companion technologies and related tools. With every new release of a MySQL product you don’t realize that somebody reviewed, tested and wrote about features without receive the limelight.

Interesting MySQL 5.5 upgrade gotcha

Today I discovered an interesting upgrade problem with a client migrating from MySQL 5.0 to 5.5. The client who is undertaking the upgrade reported that MySQL 5.5 did not support the DECIMAL(18,5) data type. I easily confirmed this not to be the case:

mysql> drop table if exists x;
mysql> create table x (col1 DECIMAL(18,5));
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.01 sec)

Delving more into the issue in question, I looked at the complete CREATE TABLE statement, recreating the syntax.

mysql> drop table if exists x;
mysql> create table x ( MinValue DECIMAL(18,5));
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

No problem there.

mysql> drop table if exists x;
mysql> create table x (Department INT NOT NULL, MinValue DECIMAL(18,5) NULL, MaxValue DECIMAL(18,5) NULL);
ERROR 1064 (42000): You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near 'MaxValue DECIMAL(18,5) NULL)' at line 1

I could immediately see the problem because if you look closely at the error message it starts with the word “MaxValue”, most likely this is a reserved word. This was easily confirmed with:

mysql> create table x (Department INT NOT NULL, MinValue DECIMAL(18,5) NULL, `MaxValue` DECIMAL(18,5) NULL);
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

And a confirmation with the 5.5 Reference Manual does indeed show there are new reserved words in MySQL 5.5. These are:

  • SLOW

Upgrading my Google G1 dev phone to Android 1.6

To update your Google G1 phone (mine is an Android developer unlocked phone) to Android 1.6 (Donut), I did the following.

  • Download and unpack the Android SDK for Mac OS X from
  • Download the Android 1.6 Radio and System Images from
  • Reboot phone with USB connected
  • Update the Device Radio Firmware
    • Confirm devices with $ adb devices This step drove me crazy because it would list no devices. It ended up being a faulty (and new) USB cable. When your phone is connected to USB, it will give you a notification, and usb icon on phone top menu.
    • Copy Radio image
    • Reboot in recovery mode and follow instructions
  • Download the fastboot for Mac OS X at
  • Flash the System Image Package to the Device as per instructions

The instructions say to reboot, but in my case it rebooted automatically after the fastboot update.

The problem after reboot was I was unable to sign in to google servers the first time. At G1 Dev Phone won’t connect to Google servers with valid SIM card I added the necessary AT&T/Cingular APN via details at

I could then go Settings | Data synchronization and continue the Google registration process.