This documentation is OBSOLETE.
Please refer to https://launchpad.net/mysql-sandbox for up-to date material.
Installing a side instance of MySQL for testing purpose is a task that many administrators can perform without breaking a sweat. If you need to do that only once in a while, you need just to read the manual carefully, or to have some experience in this matter, and the task is accomplished quite easily.
If, however, your skills are below the Guru level, even to get this task done just once you may find yourself in trouble. And, let’s face it, even experienced administrators, when they need to do this several times, with different versions of MySQL, may have trouble doing it right. It would be nice to have a tool that takes care of the dirty details for you and gets the job done quietly, without interfering with existing installations, and without side effects.
Such a tool exists, it’s The MySQL Sandbox. It is a framework for testing features under any version of MySQL from 3.23 to 5.1. Whitout fuss, it will install one server under your home directory, and it will provide some useful commands to start and stop it, and to use it within the sandbox.
There are many reasons for installing a side server. One is testing a potentially dangerous application, and you don’t want to try it on a production server. Another reason is to try different versions of MySQL on a piece of code when hunting a bug. Or you are a consultant, your customers are all using different versions of the DBMS, and you need to test your procedures in an environment that is as close as possible to the your clients are using. I don’t know about you, but in my job I have all the above needs, sometimes all at once.