MySQL 5.6 will hit support End of Life status in February 2021.
Users currently using MySQL version 5.6 are encouraged to upgrade to the next version, MySQL 8.0
improvements in MySQL 8.0 include:
Upgraded JSON support
A contention aware transaction schedule
MySQL 8.0 new features also includes DDL statements turned out to be atomic and crash safe as meta-data is stored in a single, transactional data dictionary.
The significant enhancements in MySQL 8.0 include Performance Schema, Information Schema, Configuration Variables, and Error Logging. Nice Improvements in Remote management, Undo tablespace management, SQL Roles, Added Resource Group features which would leverage to optimize for specific workloads on specific hardware by mapping user threads to CPUs. MySQL 8.0 has also made great enhancement to "Optimizer hints" that was introduced in 5.7 version
Upgrading to 5.7 is simple, and you can easily upgrade to MySQL 8.0 after upgrading to 5.7 using the upgrade checker utility.
If you haven't started planning your upgrade yet, reach out to one of our expert DBAs for the first steps.