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ยท 9 min read
Ariel Mashraki

Wikipedia defines Multi-tenancy as:

a software architecture in which a single instance of software runs on a server and serves multiple tenants.

In recent years, multitenancy has become a common topic in our industry as many organizations provide service to multiple customers using the same infrastructure. Multitenancy usually becomes an issue in software architecture because tenants often expect a decent level of isolation from one another.

In this post, I will go over different known approaches for achieving multi-tenancy and discuss the approach we took to build Ariga's cloud platform. In addition, I will demonstrate how we added built-in support for multi-tenant environments in Atlas to overcome some of the challenges we faced.

Introductionโ€‹

Throughout the last few years, I have had the opportunity to implement multi-tenancy in various ways. Some of them might be familiar to you:

  1. A separate environment (deployment) per tenant, where isolation is achieved at both compute and data layers.
  2. A schema (named database) per tenant, where there is one environment for compute (e.g., a K8S cluster), but tenants are stored in different databases or schemas. Isolation is achieved at the data layer while compute resources are shared.
  3. One environment for all tenants, including the data layer. Typically, in this case, each table holds a tenant_id column that is used to filter statements by the tenant. Both data and compute layers are shared, with isolation achieved at the logical, database query level.

Each approach has pros and cons, but I want to briefly list the main reasons we chose to build our cloud platform based on the second option: schema per tenant.

  1. Management: Easily delete, backup tenants, and allow them to export their data without affecting others.
  2. Isolation: Limit credentials, connection pooling, and quotas per tenant. This way, one tenant cannot cause the database to choke and interrupt other tenants in case they share the same physical database.
  3. Security and data privacy: In case it is required, some tenants can be physically separated from others. For example, data can be stored in the tenant's AWS account, and the application can connect to it using a secure connection, like VPC peering in AWS.
  4. Code-maintenance: Most of the application code is written in a way that it is unaware of the multi-tenancy. In our case, there is one layer "at the top" that attaches the tenant connection to the context, and the API layer (e.g., GraphQL resolver) extracts the connection from the context to read/write data. As a result, we are not concerned that API changes will cross tenant boundaries.
  5. Migration: Schema changes can be executed first on "test tenants" and fail-fast in case of error.

The primary con to this approach was that there was no elegant way to execute migrations on multiple databases (N times) in Atlas. In the rest of the post, I'll cover how we solved this problem in Ariga and added built-in support for multi-tenancy in Atlas.

Atlas config fileโ€‹

Atlas provides a convenient way to describe and interact with multiple environments using project files. A project file is a file named atlas.hcl and contains one or more env blocks. For example:

atlas.hcl
env "local" {
url = "mysql://root:pass@:3306/"
migrations {
dir = "file://migrations"
}
}

env "prod" {
// ... a different env
}

Once defined, a project's environment can be worked against using the --env flag. For example:

atlas schema apply --env local

The command above runs the schema apply against the database that is defined in the local environment.

Multi-Tenant environmentsโ€‹

The Atlas configuration language provides a few capabilities adopted from Terraform to facilitate the definition of multi-tenant environments. The first is the for_each meta-argument that allows defining a single env block that is expanded to N instances, one for each tenant. For example:

atlas.hcl
variable "url" {
type = string
default = "mysql://root:pass@:3306/"
}

variable "tenants" {
type = list(string)
}

env "local" {
for_each = toset(var.tenants)
url = urlsetpath(var.url, each.value)
migration {
dir = "file://migrations"
}
}

The above configuration expects a list of tenants to be provided as a variable. This can be useful when the list of tenants is dynamic and can be injected into the Atlas command. The urlsetpath function is a helper function that sets the path of the database URL to the tenant name. For example, if url is set to mysql://root:pass@:3306/?param=value and the tenant name is tenant1, the resulting URL will be mysql://root:pass@:3306/tenant1?param=value.

The second capability is Data Sources. This option enables users to retrieve information stored in an external service or database. For the sake of this example, let's extend the configuration above to use the SQL data source to retrieve the list of tenants from the INFORMATION_SCHEMA in MySQL:

atlas.hcl
// The URL of the database we operate on.
variable "url" {
type = string
default = "mysql://root:pass@:3306/"
}

// Schemas that match this pattern will be considered tenants.
variable "pattern" {
type = string
default = "tenant_%"
}

data "sql" "tenants" {
url = var.url
query = <<EOS
SELECT `schema_name`
FROM `information_schema`.`schemata`
WHERE `schema_name` LIKE ?
EOS
args = [var.pattern]
}

env "local" {
for_each = toset(data.sql.tenants.values)
url = urlsetpath(var.url, each.value)
}

Exampleโ€‹

Let's demonstrate how managing migrations in a multi-tenant architecture is made simple with Atlas.

1. Install Atlas:

Get the latest release with Homebrew:

brew install ariga/tap/atlas

2. Create a migration directory with the following example content:

-- create "users" table
CREATE TABLE `users` (`id` int NOT NULL) CHARSET utf8mb4 COLLATE utf8mb4_0900_ai_ci;

3. Create two example tenants on a local database:

create database tenant_a8m;
create database tenant_rotemtam;

4. Run Atlas to execute the migration scripts on the tenants' databases:

atlas migrate apply --env local
tenant_a8m
Migrating to version 20220811074314 (2 migrations in total):

-- migrating version 20220811074144
-> CREATE TABLE `users` (`id` int NOT NULL) CHARSET utf8mb4 COLLATE utf8mb4_0900_ai_ci;
-- ok (36.803179ms)

-- migrating version 20220811074314
-> ALTER TABLE `users` ADD COLUMN `name` varchar(255) NOT NULL;
-- ok (26.184177ms)

-------------------------
-- 72.899146ms
-- 2 migrations
-- 2 sql statements
tenant_rotemtam
Migrating to version 20220811074314 (2 migrations in total):

-- migrating version 20220811074144
-> CREATE TABLE `users` (`id` int NOT NULL) CHARSET utf8mb4 COLLATE utf8mb4_0900_ai_ci;
-- ok (61.987153ms)

-- migrating version 20220811074314
-> ALTER TABLE `users` ADD COLUMN `name` varchar(255) NOT NULL;
-- ok (24.656515ms)

-------------------------
-- 95.233384ms
-- 2 migrations
-- 2 sql statements

Running the command again will not execute any migrations:

No migration files to execute
No migration files to execute

Migration loggingโ€‹

At Ariga, our services print structured logs (JSON) to feed our observability tools. That is why we felt obligated to add support for custom log formatting in Atlas. To continue the example from above, we present how we configure Atlas to emit JSON lines with the tenant name attached to them.

1. Add the log configuration to the local environment block:

atlas.hcl
env "local" {
for_each = toset(data.sql.tenants.values)
url = urlsetpath(var.url, each.value)
// Emit JSON logs to stdout and add the
// tenant name to each log line.
log {
migrate {
apply = format(
"{{ json . | json_merge %q }}",
jsonencode({
Tenant : each.value
})
)
}
}
}

2. Create a new script file in the migration directory:

-- create "users" table
CREATE TABLE `users` (`id` int NOT NULL) CHARSET utf8mb4 COLLATE utf8mb4_0900_ai_ci;

3. Run migrate apply in our "local" environment:

atlas migrate apply --env local
{"Applied":[{"Applied":["CREATE TABLE `pets` (`id` bigint, PRIMARY KEY (`id`));"],"Description":"create_pets","End":"2022-10-27T16:03:03.685899+03:00","Name":"20221027125605_create_pets.sql","Start":"2022-10-27T16:03:03.655879+03:00","Version":"20221027125605"}],"Current":"20220811074314","Dir":"migrations","Driver":"mysql","End":"2022-10-27T16:03:03.685899+03:00","Pending":[{"Description":"create_pets","Name":"20221027125605_create_pets.sql","Version":"20221027125605"}],"Start":"2022-10-27T16:03:03.647091+03:00","Target":"20221027125605","Tenant":"tenant_a8m","URL":{"ForceQuery":false,"Fragment":"","Host":":3308","OmitHost":false,"Opaque":"","Path":"/tenant_a8m","RawFragment":"","RawPath":"","RawQuery":"parseTime=true","Schema":"tenant_a8m","Scheme":"mysql","User":{}}}
{"Applied":[{"Applied":["CREATE TABLE `pets` (`id` bigint, PRIMARY KEY (`id`));"],"Description":"create_pets","End":"2022-10-27T16:03:03.787476+03:00","Name":"20221027125605_create_pets.sql","Start":"2022-10-27T16:03:03.757463+03:00","Version":"20221027125605"}],"Current":"20220811074314","Dir":"migrations","Driver":"mysql","End":"2022-10-27T16:03:03.787476+03:00","Pending":[{"Description":"create_pets","Name":"20221027125605_create_pets.sql","Version":"20221027125605"}],"Start":"2022-10-27T16:03:03.748399+03:00","Target":"20221027125605","Tenant":"tenant_rotemtam","URL":{"ForceQuery":false,"Fragment":"","Host":":3308","OmitHost":false,"Opaque":"","Path":"/tenant_rotemtam","RawFragment":"","RawPath":"","RawQuery":"parseTime=true","Schema":"tenant_rotemtam","Scheme":"mysql","User":{}}}

Next stepsโ€‹

Currently, Atlas uses a fail-fast policy, which means the process exits on the first tenant that returns an error. We built it this way because we find it helpful to execute migrations first on "test tenants" and stop in case the operation fails on any of them. However, this means the execution is serial and may be slow in cases where there is a large amount of tenants. Therefore, we aim to add more advanced approaches that will allow executing the first M tenants serially and the rest of the N-M tenants in parallel.

Have questions? Feedback? Feel free to reach out on our Discord server.

ยท 8 min read
Jannik Clausen

With the release of v0.6.0, we introduced a workflow for managing changes to database schemas that we have called: Versioned Migration Authoring.

Today, we released the first version of the Atlas migration execution engine, that can apply migration files on your database. In this post, we will give a brief overview of the features and what to expect in the future.

Migration File Formatโ€‹

The Atlas migration filename format follows a very simple structure: version_[name].sql, with the name being optional. version can be an arbitrary string. Migration files are lexicographically sorted by filename.

โ†ช tree .
.
โ”œโ”€โ”€ 1_initial.sql
โ”œโ”€โ”€ 2_second.sql
โ”œโ”€โ”€ 3_third.sql
โ””โ”€โ”€ atlas.sum

0 directories, 4 files

If you want to follow along, you can simply copy and paste the above files in a folder on your system. Make sure you have a database ready to work on. You can start an ephemeral docker container with the following command:

# Run a local mysql container listening on port 3306.
docker run --rm --name atlas-apply --detach --env MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD=pass -p 3306:3306 mysql:8

Apply Migrationsโ€‹

In order to apply migrations you need to have the Atlas CLI in version v0.7.0 or above. Follow the installation instructions if you don't have Atlas installed yet.

Now, to apply the first migration of our migration directory, we call atlas migrate apply and pass in some configuration parameters.

atlas migrate apply 1 \
--dir "file://migrations" \
--url "mysql://root:pass@localhost:3306/"
Migrating to version 1 (1 migrations in total):

-- migrating version 1
-> CREATE DATABASE `my_schema`;
-> CREATE TABLE `my_schema`.`tbl` (`col` int NOT NULL);
-- ok (17.247319ms)

-------------------------
-- 18.784204ms
-- 1 migrations
-- 2 sql statements

Migration Statusโ€‹

Atlas saves information about the database schema revisions (applied migration versions) in a special table called atlas_schema_revisions. In the example above we connected to the database without specifying which schema to operate against. For this reason, Atlas created the revision table in a new schema called atlas_schema_revisions. For a schema-bound connection Atlas will put the table into the connected schema. We will see that in a bit.

Go ahead and call atlas migrate status to gather information about the database migration state:

atlas migrate status \
--dir "file://migrations" \
--url "mysql://root:pass@localhost:3306/"
Migration Status: PENDING
-- Current Version: 1
-- Next Version: 2
-- Executed Files: 1
-- Pending Files: 2

This output tells us that the last applied version is 1, the next one is called 2 and that we still have two migrations pending. Let's apply the pending migrations:

Note, that we do not pass an argument to the apply, in which case Atlas will attempt to apply all pending migrations.

atlas migrate apply \
--dir "file://migrations" \
--url "mysql://root:pass@localhost:3306/"
Migrating to version 3 from 1 (2 migrations in total):

-- migrating version 2
-> ALTER TABLE `my_schema`.`tbl` ADD `col_2` TEXT;
-- ok (13.98847ms)

-- migrating version 3
-> CREATE TABLE `tbl_2` (`col` int NOT NULL);
Error 1046: No database selected

-------------------------
-- 15.604338ms
-- 1 migrations ok (1 with errors)
-- 1 sql statements ok (1 with errors)

Error: Execution had errors:
Error 1046: No database selected

Error: sql/migrate: execute: executing statement "CREATE TABLE `tbl_2` (`col` int NOT NULL);" from version "3": Error 1046: No database selected
exit status 1

What happened here? After further investigation, you will find that our connection URL is bound to the entire database, not to a schema. The third migration file however does not contain a schema qualifier for the CREATE TABLE statement.

By default, Atlas wraps the execution of each migration file into one transaction. This transaction gets rolled back if any error occurs withing execution. Be aware though, that some databases, such as MySQL and MariaDB, don't support transactional DDL. If you want to learn how to configure the way Atlas uses transactions, have a look at the docs.

Migration Retryโ€‹

To resolve this edit the migration file and add a qualifier to the statement:

CREATE TABLE `my_schema`.`tbl_2` (`col` int NOT NULL);

Since you changed the contents of a migration file, we have to re-calculate the directory integrity hash-sum by calling:

atlas migrate hash --force \
--dir "file://migrations"

Then we can proceed and simply attempt to execute the migration file again.

atlas migrate apply \
--dir "file://migrations" \
--url "mysql://root:pass@localhost:3306/"
Migrating to version 3 from 2 (1 migrations in total):

-- migrating version 3
-> CREATE TABLE `my_schema`.`tbl_2` (`col` int NOT NULL);
-- ok (15.168892ms)

-------------------------
-- 16.741173ms
-- 1 migrations
-- 1 sql statements

Attempting to migrate again or calling atlas migrate status will tell us that all migrations have been applied onto the database and there is nothing to do at the moment.

atlas migrate apply \
--dir "file://migrations" \
--url "mysql://root:pass@localhost:3306/"
No migration files to execute

Moving an existing project to Atlas with Baseline Migrationsโ€‹

Another common scenario is when you need to move an existing project to Atlas. To do so, create an initial migration file reflecting the current state of a database schema by using atlas migrate diff. A very simple way to do so would be by heading over to the database from before, deleting the atlas_schema_revisions schema, emptying your migration directory and running the atlas migrate diff command.

rm -rf migrations
docker exec atlas-apply mysql -ppass -e "CREATE SCHEMA `my_schema_dev`;" # create a dev-db
docker exec atlas-apply mysql -ppass -e "DROP SCHEMA `atlas_schema_revisions`;"
atlas migrate diff \
--dir "file://migrations" \
--to "mysql://root:pass@localhost:3306/my_schema" \
--dev-url "mysql://root:pass@localhost:3306/my_schema_dev"

To demonstrate that Atlas can also work on a schema level instead of a realm connection, we are running on a connection bound to the my_schema schema this time.

You should end up with the following migration directory:

-- create "tbl" table
CREATE TABLE `tbl` (`col` int NOT NULL, `col_2` text NULL) CHARSET utf8mb4 COLLATE utf8mb4_0900_ai_ci;
-- create "tbl_2" table
CREATE TABLE `tbl_2` (`col` int NOT NULL) CHARSET utf8mb4 COLLATE utf8mb4_0900_ai_ci;

Now, let's create a new migration file to create a table tbl_3 and update the directory integrity file.

atlas migrate new add_table --dir "file://migrations"
echo "CREATE TABLE `tbl_3` (`col` text NULL);" >> migrations/$(ls -t migrations | head -n1)
atlas migrate hash --force --dir "file://migrations"

Since we now have both a migration file representing our current database state and the new migration file to apply, we can make use of the --baseline flag:

atlas migrate apply \
--dir "file://migrations" \
--url "mysql://root:pass@localhost:3306/my_schema" \
--baseline "20220908110527" # replace the version with the one generated by you
Migrating to version 20220908110847 from 20220908110527 (1 migrations in total):

-- migrating version 20220908110847
-> CREATE TABLE `tbl_3` (`col` text NULL);
-- ok (14.325493ms)

-------------------------
-- 15.786455ms
-- 1 migrations
-- 1 sql statements

Outlookโ€‹

The Atlas migration engine is powering Ent and the execution engine is already being used within Ariga for several months. We will continue working on improving it, releasing cool features, such as assisted troubleshooting for failed migrations, a more intelligent, dialect-aware execution planning for things like MySQLs implicits commits and more.

Wrapping upโ€‹

In this post we learned about the new migration execution engine of Atlas and some information about its internals.

Further readingโ€‹

To learn more about Versioned Migration Authoring:

Have questions? Feedback? Find our team on our Discord server.

ยท 9 min read
Ariel Mashraki

With the release of v0.6.0, we are happy to announce official support for a style of workflow for managing changes to database schemas that we have been experimenting with in the past months: Versioned Migration Authoring.

TL;DRโ€‹

  • Atlas supports a declarative workflow (similar to Terraform) where users provide the desired database schema in a simple data definition language and Atlas calculates a plan to get a target database to that state. This workflow is supported by the schema apply command.
  • Many teams prefer a more imperative approach where each change to the database schema is checked-in to source control and reviewed during code-review. This type of workflow is commonly called versioned migrations (or change based migrations) and is supported by many established tools such as Flyway and Liquibase.
  • The downside of the versioned migration approach is, of course, that it puts the burden of planning the migration on developers. As part of the Atlas project we advocate for a third combined approach that we call "Versioned Migration Authoring".
  • Versioned Migration Authoring is an attempt to combine the simplicity and expressiveness of the declarative approach with the control and explicitness of versioned migrations.
  • To use Versioned Migration Authoring today, use the atlas migrate diff command. See the Getting Started section below for instructions.

Declarative Migrationsโ€‹

The declarative approach has become increasingly popular with engineers nowadays because it embodies a convenient separation of concerns between application and infrastructure engineers. Application engineers describe what (the desired state) they need to happen, and infrastructure engineers build tools that plan and execute ways to get to that state (how). This division of labor allows for great efficiencies as it abstracts away the complicated inner workings of infrastructure behind a simple, easy to understand API for the application developers and allows for specialization and development of expertise to pay off for the infra people.

With declarative migrations, the desired state of the database schema is given as input to the migration engine, which plans and executes a set of actions to change the database to its desired state.

For example, suppose your application uses a small SQLite database to store its data. In this database, you have a users table with this structure:

schema "main" {}

table "users" {
schema = schema.main
column "id" {
type = int
}
column "greeting" {
type = text
}
}

Now, suppose that you want to add a default value of "shalom" to the greeting column. Many developers are not aware that it isn't possible to modify a column's default value in an existing table in SQLite. Instead, the common practice is to create a new table, copy the existing rows into the new table and drop the old one after. Using the declarative approach, developers can change the default value for the greeting column:

schema "main" {}

table "users" {
schema = schema.main
column "id" {
type = int
}
column "greeting" {
type = text
default = "shalom"
}
}

And have Atlas's engine devise a plan similar to this:

-- Planned Changes:
-- Create "new_users" table
CREATE TABLE `new_users` (`id` int NOT NULL, `greeting` text NOT NULL DEFAULT 'shalom')
-- Copy rows from old table "users" to new temporary table "new_users"
INSERT INTO `new_users` (`id`, `greeting`) SELECT `id`, IFNULL(`greeting`, 'shalom') AS `greeting` FROM `users`
-- Drop "users" table after copying rows
DROP TABLE `users`
-- Rename temporary table "new_users" to "users"
ALTER TABLE `new_users` RENAME TO `users`

Versioned Migrationsโ€‹

As the database is one of the most critical components in any system, applying changes to its schema is rightfully considered a dangerous operation. For this reason, many teams prefer a more imperative approach where each change to the database schema is checked in to source control and reviewed during code-review. Each such change is called a "migration", as it migrates the database schema from the previous version to the next. To support this kind of requirement, many popular database schema management tools such as Flyway, Liquibase or golang-migrate support a workflow that is commonly called "versioned migrations".

In addition to the higher level of control which is provided by versioned migrations, applications are often deployed to multiple remote environments at once. These environments are not controlled (or even accessible) by the development team. In such cases, declarative migrations, which rely on a network connection to the target database and on human approval of migrations plans in real-time, are not a feasible strategy.

With versioned migrations (sometimes called "change-based migrations"), instead of describing the desired state ("what the database should look like"), developers describe the changes themselves ("how to reach the state"). Most of the time, this is done by creating a set of SQL files containing the statements needed. Each of the files is assigned a unique version and a description of the changes. Tools like the ones mentioned earlier are then able to interpret the migration files and to apply (some of) them in the correct order to transition to the desired database structure.

The benefit of the versioned migrations approach is that it is explicit: engineers know exactly what queries are going to be run against the database when the time comes to execute them. Because changes are planned ahead of time, migration authors can control precisely how to reach the desired schema. If we consider a migration as a plan to get from state A to state B, oftentimes multiple paths exist, each with a very different impact on the database. To demonstrate, consider an initial state which contains a table with two columns:

CREATE TABLE users (
id int,
name varchar(255)
);

Suppose our desired state is:

CREATE TABLE users (
id int,
user_name varchar(255)
);

There are at least two ways get from the initial to the desired state:

  • Drop the name column and create a new user_name column.
  • Alter the name of the name column to user_name.

Depending on the context, either may be the desired outcome for the developer planning the change. With versioned migrations, engineers have the ultimate confidence of what change is going to happen, which may not be known ahead of time in a declarative approach.

Migration Authoringโ€‹

The downside of the versioned migration approach is, of course, that it puts the burden of planning the migration on developers. This requires a certain level of expertise that is not always available to every engineer, as we demonstrated in our example of setting a default value in a SQLite database above.

As part of the Atlas project we advocate for a third combined approach that we call "Versioned Migration Authoring". Versioned Migration Authoring is an attempt to combine the simplicity and expressiveness of the declarative approach with the control and explicitness of versioned migrations.

With versioned migration authoring, users still declare their desired state and use the Atlas engine to plan a safe migration from the existing to the new state. However, instead of coupling planning and execution, plans are instead written into normal migration files which can be checked into source control, fine-tuned manually and reviewed in regular code review processes.

Getting startedโ€‹

Start by downloading the Atlas CLI:

Get the latest release with Homebrew:

brew install ariga/tap/atlas

Next, define a simple Atlas schema with one table and an empty migration directory:

schema.hcl
schema "test" {}

table "users" {
schema = schema.test
column "id" {
type = int
}
}

Let's run atlas migrate diff with the necessary parameters to generate a migration script for creating our users table:

  • --dir the URL to the migration directory, by default it is file://migrations.
  • --to the URL of the desired state, an HCL file or a database connection.
  • --dev-url a URL to a Dev Database that will be used to compute the diff.
atlas migrate diff create_users \
--dir="file://migrations" \
--to="file://schema.hcl" \
--dev-url="mysql://root:pass@:3306/test"

Observe that two files were created in the migrations directory:

By default, migration files are named with the following format {{ now }}_{{ name }}.sql. If you wish to use a different file format, use the --dir-format option.

-- create "users" table
CREATE TABLE `users` (`id` int NOT NULL) CHARSET utf8mb4 COLLATE utf8mb4_0900_ai_ci;

Further readingโ€‹

To learn more about Versioned Migration Authoring:

Have questions? Feedback? Find our team on our Discord server.

ยท 4 min read
Rotem Tamir

With the release of v0.5.0, we are happy to announce a very significant milestone for the project. While this version includes some cool features (such as multi-file schemas) and a swath of incremental improvements and bugfixes, there is one feature that we're particularly excited about and want to share with you in this post.

As most outages happen directly as a result of a change to a system, Atlas provides users with the means to verify the safety of planned changes before they happen. The sqlcheck package provides interfaces for analyzing the contents of SQL files to generate insights on the safety of many kinds of changes to database schemas. With this package, developers may define an Analyzer that can be used to diagnose the impact of SQL statements on the target database.

This functionality is exposed to CLI users via the migrate lint subcommand. By utilizing the sqlcheck package, Atlas can now check your migration directory for common problems and issues.

atlas migrate lint in actionโ€‹

Recall that Atlas uses a dev database to plan and simulate schema changes. Let's start by spinning up a container that will serve as our dev database:

docker run --name atlas-db-dev -d -p 3307:3306 -e MYSQL_ROOT_PASSWORD=pass  mysql

Next let's create schema.hcl, the HCL file which will contain the desired state of our database:

schema.hcl
schema "example" {
}
table "users" {
schema = schema.example
column "id" {
type = int
}
column "name" {
type = varchar(255)
}
primary_key {
columns = [
column.id
]
}
}

To simplify the commands we need to type in this demo, let's create an Atlas project file to define a local environment.

atlas.hcl
env "local" {
src = "./schema.hcl"
url = "mysql://root:pass@localhost:3306"
dev = "mysql://root:pass@localhost:3307"
}

Next, let's plan the initial migration that creates the users table:

atlas migrate diff --env local

Observe that the migrations/ directory was created with an .sql file and a file named atlas.sum:

โ”œโ”€โ”€ atlas.hcl
โ”œโ”€โ”€ migrations
โ”‚ โ”œโ”€โ”€ 20220714090139.sql
โ”‚ โ””โ”€โ”€ atlas.sum
โ””โ”€โ”€ schema.hcl

This is the contents of our new migration script:

-- add new schema named "example"
CREATE DATABASE `example`;
-- create "users" table
CREATE TABLE `example`.`users` (`id` int NOT NULL, `name` varchar(255) NOT NULL, PRIMARY KEY (`id`)) CHARSET utf8mb4 COLLATE utf8mb4_0900_ai_ci;

Next, let's make a destructive change to the schema. Destructive changes are changes to a database schema that result in loss of data, such as dropping a column or table. Let's remove the name name column from our desired schema:

schema.hcl
schema "example" {
}
table "users" {
schema = schema.example
column "id" {
type = int
}
// Notice the "name" column is missing.
primary_key {
columns = [
column.id
]
}
}

Now, let's plan a migration to this new schema:

atlas migrate diff --env local

Observe the new migration which Atlas planned for us:

-- modify "users" table
ALTER TABLE `example`.`users` DROP COLUMN `name`;

Finally, let's use atlas migrate lint to analyze this change and verify it's safety:

atlas migrate lint --env local --latest 1

Destructive changes detected in file 20220714090811.sql:

L2: Dropping non-virtual column "name"

When we run the lint command, we need to instruct Atlas on how to decide what set of migration files to analyze. Currently, two modes are supported.

  • --git-base <branchName>: which selects the diff between the provided branch and the current one as the changeset.
  • --latest <n> which selects the latest n migration files as the changeset.

As expected, Atlas analyzed this change and detected a destructive change to our database schema. In addition, Atlas users can analyze the migration directory to automatically detect:

  • Data-dependent changes
  • Migration Directory integrity
  • Backward-incompatible changes (coming soon)
  • Drift between the desired and the migration directory (coming soon)
  • .. and more

Wrapping upโ€‹

We started Atlas more than a year ago because we felt that the industry deserves a better way to manage databases. A huge amount of progress has been made as part of the DevOps movement on the fronts of managing compute, networking and configuration. So much, in fact, that it always baffled us to see that the database, the single most critical component of any software system, did not receive this level of treatment.

Until today, the task of verifying the safety of migration scripts was reserved to humans (preferably SQL savvy, and highly experienced). We believe that with this milestone we are beginning to pave a road to a reality where teams can move as quickly and safely with their databases as they can with their code.

Have questions? Feedback? Find our team on our Discord server.