In the realm of databases, unique identifiers play a pivotal role in ensuring data integrity and enabling efficient data retrieval. MySQL, one of the most widely used relational database management systems, provides a powerful function called UUID_SHORT(). This function generates unique identifiers that are shorter and more space-efficient compared to traditional UUIDs. In this blog post, we’ll delve into what UUID_SHORT() is, why it’s valuable, and how to use it effectively.

Understanding UUID_SHORT()

The UUID_SHORT() function in MySQL generates a 64-bit universally unique identifier (UUID). This identifier is unique within a server instance and can be used as a primary key or unique identifier for tables. Unlike traditional UUIDs, which are 128 bits long and represented as strings, UUID_SHORT() produces shorter numeric values.

Key Characteristics of UUID_SHORT():

  1. Space-Efficient: The generated UUIDs are more space-efficient compared to traditional UUIDs, as they consume only 8 bytes (64 bits) rather than 16 bytes (128 bits).
  2. Server-Scoped: UUIDs generated by UUID_SHORT() are unique within a MySQL server instance. This means that different server instances can produce the same UUID_SHORT() value.
  3. Numeric: The generated UUIDs are numeric values, making them easier to work with and index in the database.


The UUID_SHORT() function is a valuable tool in scenarios where space efficiency and server scope are important:

Space-Efficient Storage: If you have large tables and storage space is a concern, UUID_SHORT() can significantly reduce the space requirements compared to traditional UUIDs.

Server-Scoped Uniqueness: When you need unique identifiers within a MySQL server instance, UUID_SHORT() provides uniqueness without the need for server-wide coordination.

Compatibility: While traditional UUIDs are represented as strings, UUID_SHORT() generates numeric values, making it easier to work with in applications that expect numeric primary keys.


Generating UUID_SHORT() values in MySQL is straightforward. You can use the function within an SQL statement, as shown below:


This query will return a numeric UUID like 12345678901234567. You can use this value as a primary key or unique identifier in your MySQL tables.

Storing UUID_SHORT() Values

To store UUID_SHORT() values in MySQL tables, define a column with an appropriate data type. In most cases, a BIGINT UNSIGNED data type is suitable for storing UUID_SHORT() values, as it can accommodate the 64-bit numeric values generated by the function.

CREATE TABLE my_table (
    name VARCHAR(255)

In this table, the id column is defined as BIGINT UNSIGNED, ensuring that each row has a unique UUID_SHORT() identifier.

Indexing UUID_SHORT() Columns

Just like any other primary key or unique identifier, you can create indexes on columns containing UUID_SHORT() values to optimize query performance:

CREATE INDEX idx_uuid ON my_table (id);

Indexing UUID_SHORT() columns is essential for efficient data retrieval, especially when querying or joining tables based on these identifiers.

The UUID_SHORT() function in MySQL provides a space-efficient and server-scoped way to generate unique identifiers for your database tables. It offers significant advantages in terms of storage efficiency, uniqueness, and numeric representation. When considering identifier options for your MySQL applications, UUID_SHORT() is a powerful choice, particularly in situations where space constraints and server-scoped uniqueness are essential.

By harnessing the capabilities of UUID_SHORT(), you can streamline your database design, optimize storage efficiency, and ensure that your data remains uniquely identifiable within a MySQL server instance.

By Abhishek K.

Author is a Architect by profession. This blog is to share his experience and give back to the community what he learned throughout his career.