MySQL/MariaDB plugins

The Orthanc project provides two official plugins to replace the default storage area (on the filesystem) and the default SQLite index by a MySQL or a MariaDB database.

For general information, check out the official homepage of the plugins.

For information about scalability, make sure to read the section about multiple writers in large-scale deployments.

The source code of the MySQL/MariaDB plugins can be found in the orthanc-databases Mercurial repository, next to the source code of the ODBC and PostgreSQL plugins.

Warning: According to this thread on our discussion group, the MySQL/MariaDB plugins require MySQL 8.x if running on Microsoft Windows.


Static linking

The procedure to compile these plugins is similar to that for the core of Orthanc. The following commands should work for most UNIX-like distribution (including GNU/Linux):

$ mkdir BuildMySQL
$ cd BuildMySQL
$ make

The compilation will produce 2 shared libraries, each containing one plugin for Orthanc:

  • OrthancMySQLIndex replaces the default SQLite index of Orthanc by MySQL.
  • OrthancMySQLStorage makes Orthanc store the DICOM files it receives into MySQL.

Microsoft Windows

Pre-compiled binaries for Microsoft Windows 32bit are also available.

Dynamic linking on Ubuntu 16.04

If static linking is not desired, here are build instructions for Ubuntu 16.04 (provided build dependencies for the core of Orthanc have already been installed):

$ sudo apt-get install libmysqlclient-dev
$ mkdir BuildMySQL
$ cd BuildMySQL
$ cmake ../MySQL/ -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release \
                  -DALLOW_DOWNLOADS=ON \
                  -DUSE_SYSTEM_GOOGLE_TEST=OFF \
$ make


You of course first have to install Orthanc, with a version above 0.9.5. You then have to create a database dedicated to Orthanc on some MySQL/MariaDB server. Please refer to the MySQL documentation.

Once Orthanc is installed and the database is created, you must add a section in the configuration file that specifies the address of the MySQL/MariaDB server together with your credentials. You also have to tell Orthanc in which path it can find the plugins: This is done by properly modifying the Plugins option. You could for instance adapt the following configuration file:

  "Name" : "MyOrthanc",
  "MySQL" : {
    "EnableIndex" : true,
    "EnableStorage" : true,
    "Host" : "localhost",    // For TCP connections (notably Windows)
    "Port" : 3306,           // For TCP connections (notably Windows)
    "UnixSocket" : "/var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock",  // For UNIX on localhost
    "Database" : "orthanc",
    "Username" : "orthanc",
    "Password" : "orthanc",
    "EnableSsl" : false,     // force SSL connections
    "SslVerifyServerCertificates": true, // Verify server certificates if EnableSsl is true
    "SslCACertificates": "",             // Path to CA certificates to validate servers
    "Lock" : true,                       // See section about Locking
    "MaximumConnectionRetries" : 10,     // New in release 3.0
    "ConnectionRetryInterval" : 5,       // New in release 3.0
    "IndexConnectionsCount" : 1          // New in release 4.0
  "Plugins" : [

Important 1: The EnableIndex and EnableStorage options must be explicitly set to true, otherwise Orthanc will continue to use its default SQLite back-end and the filesystem storage area.

Important 2: To force a TCP connection on the localhost in UNIX (i.e. to instruct Orthanc not to use UNIX socket), the UnixSocket can be set to the empty string.

Remark: To force using a TLS connection, you must set EnableSsl to true. Once EnableSsl is true, the SslVerifyServerCertificates enables the check of server certificates (true by default). The CA certificates used to verify the server certificate can be defined through SslCACertificates; if not defined or empty, the value of the global Orthanc configuration HttpsCACertificates is used. These options have been introduced in the mainline in July 2020 and have not yet been released.

Remark: When using the Storage MySQL plugin, the DICOM files are stored as blobs in the database. This might actually consume more space than the DICOM file itself.

Note that a typical usage of the MySQL plugin is to enable only the Index, using the default filesystem storage for DICOM files.

Orthanc must of course be restarted after the modification of its configuration file. The log will contain an output similar to:

$ ./Orthanc Configuration.json
W0710 14:25:35.143828 main.cpp:1298] Orthanc version: 1.3.2
W0710 14:25:35.146528 OrthancInitialization.cpp:120] Reading the configuration from: "./Configuration.json"
W0710 14:25:35.173652 main.cpp:671] Loading plugin(s) from: /home/jodogne/Subversion/orthanc-databases/BuildMySQL/
W0710 14:25:35.175927 PluginsManager.cpp:269] Registering plugin 'mysql-index' (version mainline)
W0710 14:25:35.176213 PluginsManager.cpp:168] Performance warning: The database index plugin was compiled against an old version of the Orthanc SDK, consider upgrading
W0710 14:25:35.176323 main.cpp:671] Loading plugin(s) from: /home/jodogne/Subversion/orthanc-databases/BuildMySQL/
W0710 14:25:35.177172 PluginsManager.cpp:269] Registering plugin 'mysql-storage' (version mainline)
W0710 14:25:35.180684 PluginsManager.cpp:168] Your MySQL server cannot store DICOM files larger than 16MB
W0710 14:25:35.180714 PluginsManager.cpp:168]   => Consider increasing "max_allowed_packet" in "my.cnf" if this limit is insufficient for your use
W0710 14:25:35.246150 main.cpp:1098] Using a custom database from plugins
W0710 14:25:35.246210 main.cpp:1109] Using a custom storage area from plugins
W0710 14:25:37.073633 main.cpp:683] Orthanc has started

Advanced options

Several advanced options are available as well to fine-tune the configuration of the MySQL plugins. They are documented below.

Multiple writers or connections

Starting with Orthanc 1.9.2 and MySQL 4.0, it is possible to use multiple writers or connections in large-scale deployments. Here is the list of configuration that control this behavior:

  • Lock must be set to false (cf. below)
  • MaximumConnectionRetries governs how many times Orthanc tries to connect to the database, as well as how many times Orthanc replays transactions to deal with collisions between multiple writers.
  • IndexConnectionsCount controls the number of connections from the index plugin to the MySQL database. It is set to 1 by default, which corresponds to the old behavior of Orthanc <= 1.9.1.
  • ConnectionRetryInterval is only used when opening one database connection to MySQL.
  • As of release 4.0, the MySQL plugin does not support yet the revision mechanism to protect metadata and attachments from concurrent modifications.


By default, the plugins lock the database (using MySQL/MariaDB “GET_LOCK()”) to prevent other instances of Orthanc from using the same database. If you want several instances of Orthanc to share the same database, set the Lock option to false in the configuration file.

In the absence of locking, the same limitation apply to the MySQL/MariaDB plugins than to the PostgreSQL plugins (i.e. at most one instance of Orthanc writing to the database). For more information, please check out the documentation for PostgreSQL.


When configuring your MySQL plugin, ensure you’ve read the scalability section


The MySQL plugin uses stored routines (i.e. functions/procedures) that are not archived by default by the mysqldump tool. As a consequence, make sure to add the --routines command-line flag to also archive such routines in your backup.