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MySQL 8.0 Reference Manual  /  ...  /  What the MySQL Upgrade Process Upgrades

2.11.3 What the MySQL Upgrade Process Upgrades

Installing a new version of MySQL may require upgrading these parts of the existing installation:

  • The mysql system schema, which contains tables that store information required by the MySQL server as it runs (see Section 5.3, “The mysql System Schema”). mysql schema tables fall into two broad categories:

    • Data dictionary tables, which store database object metadata.

    • System tables (that is, the remaining non-data dictionary tables), which are used for other operational purposes.

  • Other schemas, some of which are built in and may be considered owned by the server, and others which are not:

    • The Performance Schema, INFORMATION_SCHEMA, ndbinfo, and sys schema.

    • User schemas.

Two distinct version numbers are associated with parts of the installation that may require upgrading:

  • The data dictionary version. This applies to the data dictionary tables.

  • The server version, also known as the MySQL version. This applies to the system tables and objects in other schemas.

In both cases, the actual version applicable to the existing MySQL installation is stored in the data dictionary, and the current expected version is compiled into the new version of MySQL. When an actual version is lower than the current expected version, those parts of the installation associated with that version must be upgraded to the current version. If both versions indicate an upgrade is needed, the data dictionary upgrade must occur first.

As a reflection of the two distinct versions just mentioned, the upgrade occurs in two steps:

  • Step 1: Data dictionary upgrade.

    This step upgrades:

    • The data dictionary tables in the mysql schema. If the actual data dictionary version is lower than the current expected version, the server creates data dictionary tables with updated definitions, copies persisted metadata to the new tables, atomically replaces the old tables with the new ones, and reinitializes the data dictionary.

    • The Performance Schema, INFORMATION_SCHEMA, and ndbinfo.

  • Step 2: Server upgrade.

    This step comprises all other upgrade tasks. If the server version of the existing MySQL installation is lower than that of the new installed MySQL version, everything else must be upgraded:

    • The system tables in the mysql schema (the remaining non-data dictionary tables).

    • The sys schema.

    • User schemas.

The data dictionary upgrade (step 1) is the responsibility of the server, which performs this task as necessary at startup unless invoked with an option that prevents it from doing so. The option is --upgrade=NONE as of MySQL 8.0.16, --no-dd-upgrade prior to MySQL 8.0.16.

If the data dictionary is out of date but the server is prevented from upgrading it, the server does not run, and exits with an error instead. For example:

[ERROR] [MY-013381] [Server] Server shutting down because upgrade is
required, yet prohibited by the command line option '--upgrade=NONE'.
[ERROR] [MY-010334] [Server] Failed to initialize DD Storage Engine
[ERROR] [MY-010020] [Server] Data Dictionary initialization failed.

Some changes to the responsibility for step 2 occurred in MySQL 8.0.16:

  • Prior to MySQL 8.0.16, mysql_upgrade upgrades the Performance Schema, the INFORMATION_SCHEMA, and the objects described in step 2. The DBA is expected to invoke mysql_upgrade manually after starting the server.

  • As of MySQL 8.0.16, the server performs all tasks previously handled by mysql_upgrade. Although upgrading remains a two-step operation, the server performs them both, resulting in a simpler process.

Depending on the version of MySQL to which you are upgrading, the instructions in In-Place Upgrade and Logical Upgrade indicate whether the server performs all upgrade tasks or whether you must also invoke mysql_upgrade after server startup.


Because the server upgrades the Performance Schema, INFORMATION_SCHEMA, and the objects described in step 2 as of MySQL 8.0.16, mysql_upgrade is unneeded and is deprecated as of that version; expect it to be removed in a future version of MySQL.

Most aspects of what occurs during step 2 are the same prior to and as of MySQL 8.0.16, although different command options may be needed to achieve a particular effect.

As of MySQL 8.0.16, the --upgrade server option controls whether and how the server performs an automatic upgrade at startup:

  • With no option or with --upgrade=AUTO, the server upgrades anything it determines to be out of date (steps 1 and 2).

  • With --upgrade=NONE, the server upgrades nothing (skips steps 1 and 2), but also exits with an error if the data dictionary must be upgraded. It is not possible to run the server with an out-of-date data dictionary; the server insists on either upgrading it or exiting.

  • With --upgrade=MINIMAL, the server upgrades the data dictionary, the Performance Schema, and the INFORMATION_SCHEMA, if necessary (step 1). Note that following an upgrade with this option, Group Replication cannot be started, because system tables on which the replication internals depend are not updated, and reduced functionality might also be apparent in other areas.

  • With --upgrade=FORCE, the server upgrades the data dictionary, the Performance Schema, and the INFORMATION_SCHEMA, if necessary (step 1), and forces an upgrade of everything else (step 2). Expect server startup to take longer with this option because the server checks all objects in all schemas.

FORCE is useful to force step 2 actions to be performed if the server thinks they are not necessary. One way that FORCE differs from AUTO is that with FORCE, the server re-creates system tables such as help tables or time zone tables if they are missing.

The following list shows upgrade commands prior to MySQL 8.0.16 and the equivalent commands for MySQL 8.0.16 and higher:

Prior to MySQL 8.0.16, certain mysql_upgrade options affect the actions it performs. The following table shows which server --upgrade option values to use as of MySQL 8.0.16 to achieve similar effects. (These are not necessarily exact equivalents because a given --upgrade option value may have additional effects.)

Additional notes about what occurs during upgrade step 2:

  • Step 2 installs the sys schema if it is not installed, and upgrades it to the current version otherwise. An error occurs if a sys schema exists but has no version view, on the assumption that its absence indicates a user-created schema:

    A sys schema exists with no sys.version view. If
    you have a user created sys schema, this must be renamed for the
    upgrade to succeed.

    To upgrade in this case, remove or rename the existing sys schema first. Then perform the upgrade procedure again. (It may be necessary to force step 2.)

    To prevent the sys schema check:

    • As of MySQL 8.0.16: Start the server with the --upgrade=NONE or --upgrade=MINIMAL option.

    • Prior to MySQL 8.0.16: Invoke mysql_upgrade with the --skip-sys-schema option.

  • Step 2 processes all tables in all user schemas as necessary. Table checking might take a long time to complete. Each table is locked and therefore unavailable to other sessions while it is being processed. Check and repair operations can be time-consuming, particularly for large tables. Table checking uses the FOR UPGRADE option of the CHECK TABLE statement. For details about what this option entails, see Section, “CHECK TABLE Statement”.

    To prevent table checking:

    To force table checking:

    • As of MySQL 8.0.16: Start the server with the --upgrade=FORCE option.

    • Prior to MySQL 8.0.16: Invoke mysql_upgrade with the --force option.

  • Step 2 saves the MySQL version number in a file named mysql_upgrade_info in the data directory.

    To ignore the mysql_upgrade_info file and perform the check regardless:

    • As of MySQL 8.0.16: Start the server with the --upgrade=FORCE option.

    • Prior to MySQL 8.0.16: Invoke mysql_upgrade with the --force option.


    The mysql_upgrade_info file is deprecated; expect it to be removed in a future version of MySQL.

  • Step 2 marks all checked and repaired tables with the current MySQL version number. This ensures that the next time upgrade checking occurs with the same version of the server, it can be determined whether there is any need to check or repair a given table again.

  • Step 2 upgrades the system tables to ensure that they have the current structure. This is true whether the server or mysql_upgrade performs the step. With respect to the content of the help tables and time zone tables, mysql_upgrade does not load either type of table, whereas the server loads the help tables, but not the time zone tables. (That is, prior to MySQL 8.0.16, the server loads the help tables only at data directory initialization time. As of MySQL 8.0.16, it loads the help tables at initialization and upgrade time.) The procedure for loading time zone tables is platform dependent and requires decision making by the DBA, so it cannot be done automatically.