Looking inside the MySQL 5.7 document store

In this blog, we’ll look at the MySQL 5.7 document store feature, and how it is implemented.

Document Store

MySQL 5.7.12 is a major new release, as it contains quite a number of new features:

  1. Document store and “MongoDB” like NoSQL interface to JSON storage
  2. Protocol X / X Plugin, which can be used for asynchronous queries (I will write about it as well)
  3. New MySQL shell

Peter already wrote the document store overview; in this post, I will look deeper into the document store implementation. In my next post, I will demonstrate how to use document store for Internet of Things (IoT) and event logging.

Older MySQL 5.7 versions already have a JSON data type, and an ability to create virtual columns that can be indexed. The new document store feature is based on the JSON datatype.

So what is the document store anyway? It is an add-on to a normal MySQL table with a JSON field. Let’s take a deep dive into it and see how it works.

First of all: one can interface with the document store’s collections using the X Plugin (default port: 33060). To do that:

  1. Enable X Plugin and install MySQL shell.
  2. Login to a shell:
  3. Run commands (JavaScript mode, can be switched to SQL or Python):

Now, how is the document store’s collection different from a normal table? To find out, I’ve connected to a normal MySQL shell:

So the document store is actually an InnoDB table with one field: doc json + Primary key, which is a generated column.

As we can also see, there are four tables in the world_x database, but db.getCollections() only shows one. So how does MySQL distinguish between a “normal” table and a “document store” table? To find out, we can enable the general query log and see which query is being executed:

As you can see, every table that has a specific structure (doc JSON or specific generation_expression) is considered to be a JSON store. Now, how does MySQL translate the .find or .add constructs to actual MySQL queries? Let’s run a sample query:

and now look at the slow query log again:

We can verify that MySQL translates all document store commands to SQL. That also means that it is 100% transparent to the existing MySQL storage level and will work with other storage engines. Let’s verify that, just for fun: