Why should not use the AUTO JPA GenerationType with MySQL and Hibernate

Imagine having a tool that can automatically detect if you are using JPA and Hibernate properly. Hypersistence Optimizer is that tool!

Introduction

As I already mentioned, you should never use the TABLE identifier generator since it does not scale properly. In this post, I’ll show you why you should not rely on the AUTO GenerationType strategy if you’re Hibernate application uses MySQL.

Prior to Hibernate 5

On Hibernate 4, if you had the following entity mapping:

@Entity(name = "Post")
@Table(name = "post")
public class Post {

    @Id
    @GeneratedValue(strategy = GenerationType.AUTO)
    private Long id;

    private String title;

    public Post() {}

    public Post(String title) {
        this.title = title;
    }
}

When persisting 3 Post entities:

for ( int i = 1; i <= 3; i++ ) {
    entityManager.persist( 
        new Post( 
            String.format( 
                "High-Performance Java Persistence, Part %d", i
            ) 
        ) 
    );
}

Hibernate would generate the following insert statements:

INSERT INTO post (title) 
VALUES ('High-Performance Java Persistence, Part 1')

INSERT INTO post (title) 
VALUES ('High-Performance Java Persistence, Part 2')

INSERT INTO post (title) 
VALUES ('High-Performance Java Persistence, Part 3')

That’s great! Hibernate used the IDENTITY column to generate the entity identifier which is the only reasonable option for MySQL.

Hibernate 5

If you run the same unit test on Hibernate 5, you’ll get the following SQL statements:

SELECT next_val as id_val 
FROM hibernate_sequence FOR UPDATE

UPDATE hibernate_sequence 
SET next_val= 2 where next_val=1

SELECT next_val as id_val 
FROM hibernate_sequence FOR UPDATE

UPDATE hibernate_sequence 
SET next_val= 3 where next_val=1

SELECT next_val as id_val 
FROM hibernate_sequence FOR UPDATE

UPDATE hibernate_sequence 
SET next_val= 4 where next_val=3

INSERT INTO post (title, id) 
VALUES ('High-Performance Java Persistence, Part 1', 1)

INSERT INTO post (title, id) 
VALUES ('High-Performance Java Persistence, Part 2', 2)

INSERT INTO post (title, id) 
VALUES ('High-Performance Java Persistence, Part 3', 3)

What’s just happened? Well, Hibernate picks the TABLE generator instead of IDENTITY when the underlying database does not support sequences. However, TABLE generator is not a good choice. Check out the HHH-11014 Jira issue for more details related to this behavior change.

How to fix it?

The fix is extremely easy. You just need to use the native identifier instead:

@Id
@GeneratedValue(
    strategy= GenerationType.AUTO, 
    generator="native"
)
@GenericGenerator(
    name = "native", 
    strategy = "native"
)
private Long id;

Now, when running the previous test case, Hibernate uses the IDENTITY column instead:

INSERT INTO post (title) 
VALUES ('High-Performance Java Persistence, Part 1')

INSERT INTO post (title) 
VALUES ('High-Performance Java Persistence, Part 2')

INSERT INTO post (title) 
VALUES ('High-Performance Java Persistence, Part 3')

If you want to use a portable solution that manages to customize the SEQUENCE generator while still allowing you to pick the IDENTITY generator for MySQL, then check out this article.

If you enjoyed this article, I bet you are going to love my Book and Video Courses as well.

Conclusion

JPA portability is a myth! In reality, you have to know the details of the underlying JPA provider if you want a high-performance enterprise application.

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11 Comments on “Why should not use the AUTO JPA GenerationType with MySQL and Hibernate

  1. Hi Vlad,

    If we want to use IDENTITY, why don’t we just write GenerationType.IDENTITY instead of using native identifier,

    Thanks.

    • You could do that too. But the native generator will work even if the DB does not support IDENTITY columns.

  2. Thanks. but I want to understand how does it work and issues with clustered environment

    • You are welcome. You will surely understand how it works after reading my book.

  3. My 2c: This whole discussion is only relevant if you are still using database-generated keys (being it via identity columns, sequences or (yuck!) keys gen tables). I think we are passed that.

    The benefits in 2019 of using client-side generated keys (for example UUIDs) are simply too many and the issues that previously existed with such strategy have been solved.

    • UUIDs take a lot of space and amplify this issue with every Foreign Key. Not to mention the extra work done by B+Tree clustered index on simple INSERT. So, UUIDs are not without issues.

  4. Great you bring me the solution to my incosnsitencies in my db.
    Do this annotation changes only concerns MySql – DB`s?

    • This behaviour is for all DBs not supporting sequences.

  5. Hi after using the below generation type
    @Id
    @Column(name=”id”)
    @GeneratedValue(strategy=GenerationType.AUTO,generator=”native”)

    I am getting org.hibernate.AnnotationException: Unknown Id.generator: native

    I am using hibenrate 5 ,mysql 5.7.

    Please help

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