Data Loader

Top 3 tools for Converting MS SQL Server database to MySQL in 2024

By: Hassan Shareef,
Database Administrator
Since 16 years

Converting from MSSQL to MySQL often becomes imperative for organizations seeking to migrate their database management systems. This shift can stem from a multitude of factors including cost-effectiveness, scalability enhancements, and compatibility requirements.

For instance, consider a scenario where a company operates a website backend supported by MySQL while employing Microsoft SQL Server for their internal applications. In such cases, bridging the gap between the two systems becomes crucial. This necessitates the expertise of database administrators (DBAs) who are tasked with the frequent migration of data from MSSQL to MySQL.

Fortunately, there are numerous tools available to facilitate this conversion process, each with its own set of features and capabilities. Selecting the right tool tailored to your organization's specific needs is pivotal. Delving into the intricacies of these tools can streamline the migration process and ensure a seamless transition.

In this context, the following article serves as a valuable resource, offering insights and guidance on selecting the most suitable tool for converting MS SQL Server to MySQL. By leveraging the information provided, organizations can make informed decisions to effectively manage their database migration endeavors.


Table of Contents

Introduction to MS SQL Server
Introduction to MySQL
What is MariaDB?
Advantages for MySQL over MS SQL Server
The Top Tools

MS SQL Server: What Is It?

ms sql server logo

Microsoft SQL Server, commonly known as MS SQL Server, is a popular relational database management system (RDBMS) developed by Microsoft Corporation. It is a software product that provides powerful tools for storing, managing, and retrieving data from databases. MS SQL Server is widely used in enterprise-level applications, web applications, and various other software systems.

The system uses a Structured Query Language (SQL) to manage and manipulate data stored in relational databases. It provides features like backup and restore, replication, clustering, reporting, analysis, and data mining. MS SQL Server can also be integrated with other Microsoft products like Excel, SharePoint, and Visual Studio.

MS SQL Server supports various programming languages, including C++, C#, Java, PHP, and Python. It runs on Windows operating systems and is available in various editions, including Express, Standard, Enterprise, and Developer. Each edition provides a different set of features and scalability options, allowing businesses to choose the edition that best suits their needs.

MySQL Introductionmysql

MySQL is an open-source relational database management system (RDBMS) developed by MySQL AB and now owned by Oracle Corporation. It is one of the most popular and widely used database systems in the world, powering many web applications, content management systems, and other software systems.

MySQL uses Structured Query Language (SQL) to manage and manipulate data stored in relational databases. It is a client-server system, which means that data is stored on a server and accessed through client applications. MySQL can be used with a variety of programming languages, including C, C++, C#, Java, PHP, Python, and Ruby.

MySQL provides features such as data replication, backup and recovery, clustering, and partitioning to improve performance and availability. It also supports full-text searching, spatial data processing, and other advanced features. MySQL is scalable and can handle small to large-scale databases, making it suitable for a wide range of applications.

MySQL is available under the GNU General Public License (GPL) and can be downloaded and used for free. Additionally, there are several commercial versions of MySQL available with additional features and support.

Advantages of MySQL over MS SQL Server

MySQL and MS SQL Server are both powerful relational database management systems that are widely used in enterprise-level applications and web applications. Here are some advantages of MySQL over MS SQL Server:

It's worth noting that both MySQL and MS SQL Server have their strengths and weaknesses, and the choice between them ultimately depends on the specific needs and requirements of the project.

Now coming to conversion from MS SQL Server to MySQL

Cross database migration is a complex process and it needs to be performed with proper planning and schedule. I have chosen the sample Northwind database which is given by Microsoft MSSQL as a demo database and tried to convert it to MySQL using the following tools.

Here are the tools which I have tested and ranked in the order of their efficiency and performance

1 Data Loader

It stands apart so far from all other tools. Faced the least amount of issues while converting from SQL Server to MySQL. There were only 2 issues related to default values which needed manual attention otherwise the conversion ran smoothly. The best thing which I liked was the ability to load into existing tables also. None of the other tools lets you load data into existing tables, they only create fresh tables whereas Data Loader can load data into fresh tables as well as lets you load into existing tables and even it allows column mappings. The other good thing is it lets you Synchronize source and target tables by defining your comparison columns or you can take the already chosen default Primary key columns. It also comes with it's own scheduler.

data loader splash screen


sql server to mysql conversion

The other best feature I liked is it also comes with a separate command line tool to execute saved sessions either from other applications or you can also use Windows Task Scheduler to execute saved Sessions at particular intervals.



Download Data Loader

2 MySQL Workbench

It's the free tool from MySQL stable. It allows you to convert from MS SQL to MySQL using ODBC drivers. You should have SQL Server ODBC driver installed in order to use this tool. Once you installed the ODBC driver you will need to create ODBC DSN by clicking on ODBC Administrator in Windows Control panel. Once DSN is created you can call it from Workbench to do the conversion.

MySQL Workbench is a GUI tool for managing and working with MySQL databases. The Migration Wizard is just a part of this GUI tool.

To get to the Migration Wizard you will need to :

mssql to mysql using MySQL Workbench

Although it migrated the tables, it failed to convert the Views. Another thing which was lacking is it doesn't let you load the data into existing tables leave alone column mapping. It also doesn't let you save the migration jobs. No synchronization support.

mysql workbench

Download MySQL Workbench

3 MSSQL Import & Export Tool

The MS SQL Server comes with it's own Export and Import tool. It also comes free with Express editions but in Express editions it doesn't let you save migration jobs.

It utilizes ODBC Drivers for conversion. We have to create  ODBC Data Source by going into Control Panel first.  If you are running the Import & Export tool in the same machine where MSSQL database is running then there is no need to download and install the ODBC driver as this driver is automatically installed when you install MS SQL Server.

You also need to install MySQL ODBC Driver. If you don't have it installed in your system, then you can download it from MySQL website.


sql export and import wizard


After installation of ODBC drivers start ODBC administrator and create Data sources. To start ODBC Administrator

1 Click on Start Menu in Windows

2. Type Data Sources in Run command text box as shown below

windows task bar

3 Click on Data Sources (ODBC)  and you will get a window as shown below

odbc data sources

4 Click on User DSN or System DSN tab and click Add button. Then it will prompt you to choose DSN (Data Source Name), ODBC driver details and etc.

For  Step by Step  instructions on converting MSSQL to MySQL using MSSQL Import and Export Tool please click :

How to export data from MSSQL using SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS):


Using any of the above tools, you can successfully convert from MS SQL Server to MySQL. However, it's important to thoroughly test the converted database before putting it into production to ensure that everything is working as expected.