It may seem hard to believe, but I have seen DECIMAL(31,0) in action on a production server. Not just in one column, but in 15 columns just in the largest 4 tables of one schema. The column was being used to represent a integer primary or foreign key column.
In a representative production instance (one of a dozen plus distributed production database servers) the overall database footprint was decreased from ~10 GB to ~2 GB, a 78% saving. In total, 15 columns across just 4 tables were changed from DECIMAL(31,0) to INT UNSIGNED.
One single table > 5GB was reduced to under 1GB (a 81% saving). This being my record for any GB+ tables in my time working with the MySQL database.
Had this server for example had 4GB of RAM, and say 2.5GB allocated to the innodb_buffer_pool_size, this one change moved the system from requiring more consistent disk access (4x data to memory) to being able to store all data in memory. Tests showed …[Read more]