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MySQL 8.0 Reference Manual  /  ...  /  Generated Invisible Primary Keys

13.1.20.11 Generated Invisible Primary Keys

Beginning with MySQL 8.0.30, MySQL supports generated invisible primary keys for any InnoDB table that is created without an explicit primary key. When the sql_generate_invisible_primary_key server system variable is set to ON, the MySQL server automatically adds a generated invisible primary key (GIPK) to any such table.

By default, the value of sql_generate_invisible_primary_key is OFF, meaning that the automatic addition of GIPKs is disabled. To illustrate how this affects table creation, we begin by creating two identical tables, neither having a primary key, the only difference being that the first (table auto_0) is created with sql_generate_invisible_primary_key set to OFF, and the second (auto_1) after setting it to ON, as shown here:

mysql> SELECT @@sql_generate_invisible_primary_key;
+--------------------------------------+
| @@sql_generate_invisible_primary_key |
+--------------------------------------+
|                                    0 |
+--------------------------------------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> CREATE TABLE auto_0 (c1 VARCHAR(50), c2 INT);
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.02 sec)

mysql> SET sql_generate_invisible_primary_key=ON;
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

mysql> SELECT @@sql_generate_invisible_primary_key;
+--------------------------------------+
| @@sql_generate_invisible_primary_key |
+--------------------------------------+
|                                    1 |
+--------------------------------------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> CREATE TABLE auto_1 (c1 VARCHAR(50), c2 INT);
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.04 sec)

The setting for sql_generate_invisible_primary_key is not replicated, and is ignored by replication applier threads. This means that the setting of this variable on the source has no effect on the replica. In MySQL 8.0.31 and later, you can cause the replica to add a GIPK for tables replicated without primary keys on a given replication channel CHANGE REPLICATION SOURCE TO ... REQUIRE_TABLE_PRIMARY_KEY_CHECK = GENERATE FOR CHANNEL ....

Compare the output of these SHOW CREATE TABLE statements to see the difference in how the tables were actually created:

mysql> SHOW CREATE TABLE auto_0\G
*************************** 1. row ***************************
       Table: auto_0
Create Table: CREATE TABLE `auto_0` (
  `c1` varchar(50) DEFAULT NULL,
  `c2` int DEFAULT NULL
) ENGINE=InnoDB DEFAULT CHARSET=utf8mb4 COLLATE=utf8mb4_0900_ai_ci
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> SHOW CREATE TABLE auto_1\G
*************************** 1. row ***************************
       Table: auto_1
Create Table: CREATE TABLE `auto_1` (
  `my_row_id` bigint unsigned NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT /*!80023 INVISIBLE */,
  `c1` varchar(50) DEFAULT NULL,
  `c2` int DEFAULT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY (`my_row_id`)
) ENGINE=InnoDB DEFAULT CHARSET=utf8mb4 COLLATE=utf8mb4_0900_ai_ci
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

Since auto_1 had no primary key specified by the CREATE TABLE statement used to create it, setting sql_generate_invisible_primary_key = ON causes MySQL to add both the invisible column my_row_id to this table and a primary key on that column. Since sql_generate_invisible_primary_key was OFF at the time that auto_0 was created, no such additions were performed on that table.

When a primary key is added to a table by the server, the column and key name is always my_row_id. For this reason, when when enabling generated invisible primary keys in this way, you cannot create a table having a column named my_row_id unless the table creation statement also specifies an explicit primary key. (You are not required to name the column or key my_row_id in such cases.)

my_row_id is an invisible column, which means it is not shown in the output of SELECT * or TABLE; the column must be selected explicitly by name. See Section 13.1.20.10, “Invisible Columns”.

When GIPKs are enabled, a generated primary key cannot be altered other than to switch it between VISIBLE and INVISIBLE. To make the generated invisible primary key on auto_1 visible, execute this ALTER TABLE statement:

mysql> ALTER TABLE auto_1 ALTER COLUMN my_row_id SET VISIBLE;
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.02 sec)
Records: 0  Duplicates: 0  Warnings: 0

mysql> SHOW CREATE TABLE auto_1\G
*************************** 1. row ***************************
       Table: auto_1
Create Table: CREATE TABLE `auto_1` (
  `my_row_id` bigint unsigned NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT,
  `c1` varchar(50) DEFAULT NULL,
  `c2` int DEFAULT NULL,
  PRIMARY KEY (`my_row_id`)
) ENGINE=InnoDB AUTO_INCREMENT=4 DEFAULT CHARSET=utf8mb4 COLLATE=utf8mb4_0900_ai_ci
1 row in set (0.01 sec)

To make this generated primary key invisible again, issue ALTER TABLE auto_1 ALTER COLUMN my_row_id SET INVISIBLE.

A generated invisible primary key is always invisible by default.

Whenever GIPKs are enabled, you cannot drop a generated primary key if either of the following 2 conditions would result:

  • The table is left with no primary key.

  • The primary key is dropped, but not the primary key column.

The effects of sql_generate_invisible_primary_key apply to tables using the InnoDB storage engine only. You can use an ALTER TABLE statement to change the storage engine used by a table that has a generated invisible primary key; in this case, the primary key and column remain in place, but the table and key no longer receive any special treatment.

By default, GIPKs are shown in the output of SHOW CREATE TABLE, SHOW COLUMNS, and SHOW INDEX, and are visible in the Information Schema COLUMNS and STATISTICS tables. You can cause generated invisible primary keys to be hidden instead in such cases by setting the show_gipk_in_create_table_and_information_schema system variable to OFF. By default, this variable is ON, as shown here:

mysql> SELECT @@show_gipk_in_create_table_and_information_schema;
+----------------------------------------------------+
| @@show_gipk_in_create_table_and_information_schema |
+----------------------------------------------------+
|                                                  1 |
+----------------------------------------------------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

As can be seen from the following query against the COLUMNS table, my_row_id is visible among the columns of auto_1:

mysql> SELECT COLUMN_NAME, ORDINAL_POSITION, DATA_TYPE, COLUMN_KEY
    -> FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS
    -> WHERE TABLE_NAME = "auto_1";
+-------------+------------------+-----------+------------+
| COLUMN_NAME | ORDINAL_POSITION | DATA_TYPE | COLUMN_KEY |
+-------------+------------------+-----------+------------+
| my_row_id   |                1 | bigint    | PRI        |
| c1          |                2 | varchar   |            |
| c2          |                3 | int       |            |
+-------------+------------------+-----------+------------+
3 rows in set (0.01 sec)

After show_gipk_in_create_table_and_information_schema is set to OFF, my_row_id can no longer be seen in the COLUMNS table, as shown here:

mysql> SET show_gipk_in_create_table_and_information_schema = OFF;
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

mysql> SELECT @@show_gipk_in_create_table_and_information_schema;
+----------------------------------------------------+
| @@show_gipk_in_create_table_and_information_schema |
+----------------------------------------------------+
|                                                  0 |
+----------------------------------------------------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> SELECT COLUMN_NAME, ORDINAL_POSITION, DATA_TYPE, COLUMN_KEY
    -> FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS
    -> WHERE TABLE_NAME = "auto_1";
+-------------+------------------+-----------+------------+
| COLUMN_NAME | ORDINAL_POSITION | DATA_TYPE | COLUMN_KEY |
+-------------+------------------+-----------+------------+
| c1          |                2 | varchar   |            |
| c2          |                3 | int       |            |
+-------------+------------------+-----------+------------+
2 rows in set (0.00 sec)

GIPKs work with row-based replication of CREATE TABLE ... SELECT; the information written to the binary log for this statement in such cases includes the GIPK definition, and thus is replicated correctly. Statement-based replication of CREATE TABLE ... SELECT is not supported with sql_generate_invisible_primary_key = ON.

When creating or importing backups of installations where GIPKs are in use, it is possible to exclude generated invisible primary key columns and values. The --skip-generated-invisible-primary-key option for mysqldump causes GIPK information to be excluded in the program's output. If you are importing a dump file that contains generated invisible primary keys and values, you can also use --skip-generated-invisible-primary-key with mysqlpump to cause these to be suppressed (and thus not imported).