This page provides you with instructions on how to extract data from MySQL and analyze it in Amazon QuickSight. (If the mechanics of extracting data from MySQL seem too complex or difficult to maintain, check out Stitch, which can do all the heavy lifting for you in just a few clicks.)
What is MySQL?
MySQL is the world's most popular open source relational database management system (RDBMS). It's the data store for countless websites and applications; chances are you interact with MySQL-powered technology every day. MySQL is largely used as a transactional or operational database, and not as much for analytics.
What is QuickSight?
Amazon QuickSight is the AWS business intelligence tool for creating dashboards and visualizations. Users are charged per session only for the time when they access dashboards or reports. QuickSight supports a variety of data sources, such as individual databases (Amazon Aurora, MariaDB, and Microsoft SQL Server), data warehouses (Amazon Redshift and Snowflake), and SaaS sources (Adobe Analytics, GitHub, and Salesforce), along with several common standard file formats.
Getting data out of MySQL
MySQL provides several methods for extracting data; the one you use may depend upon your needs and skill set.
The most common way to get data out of any database is simply to write queries. SELECT queries allow you to pull the data you want. You can specify filters and ordering and limit results.
If you're looking to export data in bulk, there's an easier alternative. Most MySQL installs include a handy command-line tool called mysqldump that allows you to export entire tables and databases in a format you specify, including delimited text, CSV, or an SQL query that would restore the database if run.
Loading data into QuickSight
You must replicate data from your SaaS applications to a data warehouse (such as Redshift) before you can report on it using QuickSight. Once you specify a data source you want to connect to, you must specify a host name and port, database name, and username and password to get access to the data. You then choose the schema you want to work with, and a table within that schema. You can add additional tables by specifying them as new datasets from the main QuickSight page.
Using data in QuickSight
QuickSights provides both a visual report builder and the ability to use SQL to select, join, and sort data. QuickSight lets you combine visualizations into dashboards that you can share with others, and automatically generate and send reports via email.
Keeping MySQL data up to date
The script you have now should satisfy all your data needs for MySQL — right? Not yet. How do you load new or updated data? It's not a good idea to replicate all of your data each time you have updated records. That process would be painfully slow; if latency is important to you, it's not a viable option.
Instead, you can identify some key fields that your script can use to bookmark its progression through the data, and pick up where it left off as it looks for updated data. Auto-incrementing fields such as updated_at or created_at work best for this. When you've built in this functionality, you can set up your script as a cron job or continuous loop to get new data as it appears in MySQL.
From MySQL to your data warehouse: An easier solution
As mentioned earlier, the best practice for analyzing MySQL data in Amazon QuickSight is to store that data inside a data warehousing platform alongside data from your other databases and third-party sources. You can find instructions for doing these extractions for leading warehouses on our sister sites MySQL to Redshift, MySQL to BigQuery, MySQL to Azure Synapse Analytics, MySQL to PostgreSQL, MySQL to Panoply, and MySQL to Snowflake.
Easier yet, however, is using a solution that does all that work for you. Products like Stitch were built to move data automatically, making it easy to integrate MySQL with Amazon QuickSight. With just a few clicks, Stitch starts extracting your MySQL data, structuring it in a way that's optimized for analysis, and inserting that data into a data warehouse that can be easily accessed and analyzed by Amazon QuickSight.