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MySQL 5.7 Reference Manual
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8.4.2.1 Optimizing for Numeric Data

  • For unique IDs or other values that can be represented as either strings or numbers, prefer numeric columns to string columns. Since large numeric values can be stored in fewer bytes than the corresponding strings, it is faster and takes less memory to transfer and compare them.

  • If you are using numeric data, it is faster in many cases to access information from a database (using a live connection) than to access a text file. Information in the database is likely to be stored in a more compact format than in the text file, so accessing it involves fewer disk accesses. You also save code in your application because you can avoid parsing the text file to find line and column boundaries.