Jeremy Stein - Journal

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InnoDB versus MyISAM: no comparison

There was a question on DBA.SE about InnoDB versus MyISAM. For some perspective, I took a screen capture of the page (on the left) and demonstrated what it would look like if this was TimepieceBuyers.SE (on the right):

(click to view)

Reading the answers on that page, I feel like I’m the straight man in some kind of Monty Python skit. I asked for a timepiece and John Cleese is trying to sell me a bracelet:

Cleese: Now this is a fine model, sir. It’s durable, fashionable, and fits nicely on your wrist.

Me: My, that is a nice timepiece. Now, how do I tell the time?

Cleese: You find the nearest clock and look at it. This goes well with your jacket. I think you’ll be quite happy with it.

Me: But wait, this doesn’t tell time? I need a timepiece!

Cleese: Time display is a feature on some of our models, but this is much lighter and more versatile. Would you like me to wrap it for you?

Why do you need a database engine? Referential integrity and transaction support. There are other niceties, but that’s the core of what I learned in DB Theory 101. MyISAM is a file system that understands SQL. There’s no comparison. If you want a database engine with MySQL, use InnoDB.

November 28, 2012 6 Comments.


  1. Jack replied:

    You sir, made my day!

    August 30th, 2016 at 9:36 am. Permalink.

  2. Vijay replied:

    Nicely explained!

    September 8th, 2016 at 2:49 am. Permalink.

  3. Ritesh Ghimrie replied:

    You nailed it

    January 4th, 2017 at 3:13 am. Permalink.

  4. dreftymac replied:

    Great write-up. Pretty funny too ^_^

    June 7th, 2017 at 11:44 pm. Permalink.

  5. foggy_glasses replied:

    You sir, made my day. This is what the top answer should have been on DB.SE!

    December 7th, 2018 at 8:08 am. Permalink.

  6. Tiago Fassoni replied:

    Came for the information, stayed for the laughs. Thanks!

    June 3rd, 2023 at 4:25 pm. Permalink.

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