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Differences Between MyISAM and InnoDB

MyISAM vs InnoDB

MyISAM and InnoDB are two of the most commonly used MySQL engines in most data tables. These two MySQL engines all come with their pros and cons and will have their benefits and differences which may or may not pose as factors that make their users opt for them. Below are the differences that are observed between the two engines. These differences might differ depending on features and performance.

Between the two, InnoDB is the more recent release engine while MyISAM is an older engine that has been around for awhile now. Due to the current nature of InnoDB, it is quite complex as opposed to MyISAM which is quite a simple database program. A sneak peek into InnoDB shows that it offers strict data integrity while MyISAM offers loose data integrity.

InnoDB is preferred as a database engine of choice mainly due to the relationship it creates for data integrity. By the virtue of the relationship constraints and transactions occurring, the data integrity offered becomes a valuable feature. Also, InnoDB offers faster inserts and updates to tables as there is extreme utilization of row-level locking.  The only occurring holdup noted is when there are changes being done to a row.

Due to the complex nature of InnoDB, it is a hassle for new users to make good use of the program. This is the best difference that MyISAM offers. Because it is relatively easier as opposed to InnoDB, most first-time database engine users will opt for use of MyISAM over that of InnoDB. Beginners in MySQL engines need not worry about foreign relationships that need to be established in between tables as all this is accounted for.

Due to the simplicity of building  MyISAM as opposed to InnoDB, implementation is found to be much easier and much faster when the ease of use is evaluated. InnoDB consumes large system resources particularly RAM. To ensure a system that is free of glitches, it is commonly recommended that the MySQL engine running InnoDB be switched off if there is no regular use of the MySQL. In the event of a system crash, Innodb has a better chance of recovering data as opposed to MyISAM which is very poor at data recovery.

When dealing with read intensive or select tables, MyISAM offers good reading for this as it leads to full indexing. This is quite different from InnoDB which does not offer full text indexing. InnoDB offers faster tables which require frequent insertion and updating as opposed to MyISAM. This is due to the table being locked for insertion or updates. Another big difference is that MyISAM does not support transactions while InnoDB does. This is a big letdown for MyISAM as it cannot be used for banking or other critical data-reliant applications.

In conclusion, InnoDB is the most preferred for database engines that are needed for critical situations that require frequent updates or inserts. MyISAM, on the other hand, is the best deal if you are a beginner and want to learn on how to use a MySQL engine. MyISAM is also best recommended for use in applications that do not require a lot of data integrity and are mainly for the display of data.


– MyISAM is older and InnoDB is newer.

– MyISAM is simpler and InnoDB complex to build.

– Strict data integrity is needed in InnoDB as opposed to MyISAM.

– InnoDB allows for row level locking of updates and insertion while MyISAM allows for table level locking.

– MyISAM lacks transactions while InnoDB allows for use of transactions.

– InnoDB offers better data recovery as opposed to MyISAM.


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