Select Page

It’s the End of the Road for MySQL 5.6

Author: Srinivasa Krishna | 8 min read | May 3, 2021


There are as many reasons why MySQL is the world’s most popular, open-source, relational database as there are developers who use it.

Since its launch in 1995, it has supplied the global developer community with the database management tools needed to build and deploy today’s uber-sophisticated software applications and systems. Each subsequent iteration has added more value to the already invaluable resource. As MySQL 5.6 reaches its End of Life cycle (EoL), newer versions – 5.7 and the most recent, 8.0 (more than 2yrs) – continue to make the work of MySQL users more manageable while also increasing their productivity with innovative new feature set.

Most providers including Oracle, Amazon RDS and Azure Database for MySQL offer MySQL users upgrades to 5.7 and 8.0. Datavail’s professionals can help you make the best upgrade decision for your organization’s needs.

Welcome to MySQL 

Version 5.6 

Released on February 5, 2013, the MySQL 5.6 version has maintained, over time, a reliable popularity among the world’s app development community. As an open-source program, it has been tuned and refined by thousands of developers. Its most recent iteration provides users with fast, reliable, and scalable database management tools that facilitate corporate and market growth.

The Oracle community elected to discontinue support for 5.6 on February 5, 2021 (although it doesn’t hit its End of Life in Amazon RDS until August 3, 2021). Note that developers will add no further security patches to the programming through the ‘extended time’ between February 5 and August 3. Users who continue using it will experience a higher risk of intrusions.

Version 5.7

The next major release, MySQL 5.7, again increased the value of the system by providing cutting-edge enhancements and additions to the foundation set by 5.6. More than three times as fast as 5.6, MySQL 5.7 also enhances a number of its features.

End of Life for this version is slated for October 2023 Best practice is always to upgrade to the most current version (8.0) if possible.

Version 8.0

MySQL 8.0 first GA was released on April 19, 2018. Not surprisingly, this newest version of the database management program enhances all the productivity elements of previous versions while eliminating outdated or obsolete features that no longer carry value. It is designed to meet developers’ demands as they are tasked with addressing new challenges generated by the next gen mobile, web-based, embedded, and cloud applications.

Upgrade to Which Version?

Because of the EoL of MySQL 5.6, users now face making a tough choice between MySQL 5.7 and 8.0. Several benchmarks were run against. one industry member ran a series of tests to determine how the two matched up. Their conclusion: MySQL 8.0 significantly outperformed 5.7:

  • 8.0 remained highly efficient even when the number of threads increased in each of the read, delete, insert and update functions.
  • Transaction processing times also increased significantly in 8.0 versus 5.7.
  • 8.0 also adds the ability to functional index and invisible indexes.


MySQL 8.0 is loaded with tons of new features and enhancements. However, testing with applications is a must prior to the cutover as there’s no easy roll back from 8.x after upgrades.

Users of MySQL 5.6 now find themselves in a dilemma. Not only is the DB beyond support in Oracle now (and will lose support in AWS RDS in August 2021), but it’s not recommended to upgrade directly from 5.6 to 8.0. Upgrades from the General Availability (GA) versions of 5.7 are supported, and to enjoy continued support, MySQL requires that upgrades start with version 5.7.9 or higher.

For on-premises and virtual implementations, users can choose an IN-PLACE or a LOGICAL upgrade for switching up from 5.7 to 8.0. An IN-PLACE upgrade involves shutting down the MySQL 5.7 server, replacing the binaries with 8.0 binaries, and then launching the 8.0 server using the previous data directory. A LOGICAL upgrade involves SQL dump/load to the newly installed MySQL version. Replication is supported from 5.7 to 8.0 versions.

In RDS AWS, the upgrade from 5.7 to 8.0 is defined as a major upgrade because each version is a major version of the DB. For this process, users must first change the DB engine through AWS CLI, RDS API, or AWS Management console, then follow the steps to complete the upgrade.

Datavail Endorses MySQL 8.0

The database management professionals at Datavail agree with their industry colleagues that MySQL 8.0 offers users the best available features and tools to improve and enhance their organization’s security and performance. In general, the MySQL series of releases has always provided exceptional services through its robust and timely features, its capacity for granular scalability, and its easy integration with today’s native and web-based applications. Version 8.0 adds more benefits to the overall package. Datavail’s favorite 8.0 enhancements (so far):

  • The document store! MySQL 8.0 resolves the SQL and NoSQL riddle by introducing X Dev API, enhancing the uses of schema-less JSON collections and SQL tables. The 8.0 upgrade makes it possible to match relational data with JSON documents within the single DBMS. The document store’s reliability, consistency, high availability, and enhanced Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) authentication protocols give experienced and new users unparalleled control over app development across languages and databases.
  • SQL enhancements include Common Table Expressions (CTEs) that can be both recursive and non-recursive. By also integrating Windows functions through a standard OVER keyword, MySQL now competes easily with SQLite and PostgreSQL.
  • As noted above, schema-less JSON support returns JSON data as relational data, allowing querying JSON results the same way as querying regular relational tables. Additional JSON functions in MySQL 8.0 include added utilities [JSON_STORAGE_SIZE ()] and JSON_ARRAYAGG (). These added features improve the speed of replication and remove ambiguities.
  • More Enhanced HA solutions like InnoDB Cluster with Group Replication, InnoDB Replica Set.
  • MySQLShelll loaded with a variety of Utilities and easy to script for DBAs and Support teams

Overall, MySQL 8.0 delivers multiple performance, cost, and development features that will improve the work and workloads of every enterprise.

AWS & Oracle & MySQL 8.0

All things considered, upgrading to MySQL 8.0 now appears to be everyone’s best option. Not only will the 5.6 version lose all support by August, but the 5.7 version will lose its support in October 2023, a scant two years away. Planning for Upgrades to MySQL 8.0 is more advisable.

Users on AWS will be pleased to know that its RDS supports DB instances running both 5.7 and each of the minor upgrade versions of 8.0 (8.0.11 through 8.0.23). When upgrading, users can specify the minor version of their choice or let the RDS select the most current default version.

Oracle users will be pleased to know that the MySQL Connector/J 5.1 series is included in Oracle’s Lifetime Support policy, although it does encourage the upgrade to the MySQL Connector/J 8.0 series. (MySQL 5.6 is also covered by Oracle Sustaining Support, although the upgrade to 8.0 is recommended.)

MySQL Deadlines: What You Need to Know for Amazon RDS & Azure

February 4, 2021

  • MySQL 5.6 End of Life


April 1, 2021

  • You can no longer create new MySQL 5.6 DB instances for Amazon RDS & Azure


October 2023

  • MySQL 5.7 End of Life
  • End of support from Amazon RDS & Azure on MySQL 5.7


April 2026

  • My SQL 8.0 End of Life
  • End of support from Amazon RDS & Azure on MySQL 8.0

Final Thoughts

Datavail’s licensed and accredited database administrators are standing by to answer your questions about both MySQL 5.7 and 8.0 and to assist with your upgrade to either. Their long experience with MySQL and deep skill base with database management also make them the team to manage your organization’s data management and database needs. Contact Datavail today.

How to Solve the Oracle Error ORA-12154: TNS:could not resolve the connect identifier specified

The “ORA-12154: TNS Oracle error message is very common for database administrators. Learn how to diagnose & resolve this common issue here today.

Vijay Muthu | February 4, 2021

Data Types: The Importance of Choosing the Correct Data Type

Most DBAs have struggled with the pros and cons of choosing one data type over another. This blog post discusses different situations.

Craig Mullins | October 11, 2017

Oracle RMAN Backup and Recovery with Restore Points

Oracle restore points are useful for benchmark testing. Find out how you can use Oracle’s Recovery Manager (RMAN) tool to create and use restore points.

Cindy Putnam | May 3, 2019

Subscribe to Our Blog

Never miss a post! Stay up to date with the latest database, application and analytics tips and news. Delivered in a handy bi-weekly update straight to your inbox. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Work with Us

Let’s have a conversation about what you need to succeed and how we can help get you there.


Work for Us

Where do you want to take your career? Explore exciting opportunities to join our team.