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6-year-old MySQL Bug is Finally Fixed in MySQL 5.6

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6-year-old MySQL Bug is Finally Fixed in MySQL 5.6

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I got a message this morning about a bug that has been fixed in MySQL 5.6.6… which I reported about in early 2006 when I ran MySQL 4.1. I honestly thought this issue was fixed long ago as it was indeed pretty annoying. I must say I’m very impressed with the Oracle team for going and cleaning up such very old bugs. Here is a description from the bug:

If you perform  match of constant which is too large  to the column
instead of simply responding with empty set, MySQL   truncates the
constant, performs the lookup  and only then  discards results:

CREATE TABLE `trunc` (
  `i` int(11) NOT NULL default '0',
  KEY `i` (`i`)

mysql> select i,count(*) cnt from trunc  group by i order by cnt desc
limit 10;
| i          | cnt   |
| 2147483647 | 76047 |
| 1421638051 |     3 |
|  985505567 |     3 |
| 1046160975 |     2 |
|  141017389 |     2 |
|  848130626 |     2 |
|  888665819 |     2 |
| 1001437915 |     2 |
|  118824892 |     2 |
| 2104712727 |     2 |
10 rows in set (0.34 sec)

(Just some random data. The only row we really need is with

mysql> explain select count(*) from trunc where i=4147483647;
| id | select_type | table | type | possible_keys | key  | key_len |
ref   | rows  | Extra                    |
|  1 | SIMPLE      | trunc | ref  | i             | i    |       4 |
const | 81602 | Using where; Using index |
1 row in set, 1 warning (0.01 sec)

4bil is out of range for unsigned column. I would expect "Impossible
Where clause" here

Lets look at the query execution:

| Handler_read_next     | 1305742982 |

mysql> select  count(*) from trunc where i=4147483647;
| count(*) |
|        0 |
1 row in set, 1 warning (0.04 sec)

| Handler_read_next     | 1305819030 |

As you  can see  there were over 70,000 row reads performed.

I came across the bug in the real application which would use multiple tables. The column type was inconsistent between them, so inserts into one table would happen with the correct value, e.g. 3000000000, while inserting the same value in the different one will be truncated to 2147483647. This caused a lot of rows to have the value of 2147483647 and select queries for values over 2 billion became increasingly more expensive. Because there would be more and more queries for values over 2 billion as data continued to be inserted, the system  collapsed in a matter of hours.

Thank you, Oracle team, for finally fixing this bug (even though you’re about 6 years late). Here are two pieces of advice to prevent this error from happening:

Use consistent data types. Make sure you’re using consistent data types for the same values. Often it's just better to standardize a few and to not make a decision in every single case. I, for example, use “int unsigned not null” for positive intergers that aren't too big.

Consider using strict mode. Storing different data types when your application requests without throwing the error out is not a good idea in most cases, yet MySQL continues to be very loose by default. Consider running with sql_mode=strict_all_tables which will report the error when data is truncated, along with using transactional tables for any data you value.


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