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Microsoft Transact SQL Server 2008 Data Types







Bigint -2^63 2^63-1 8 bytes Exact
Int -2,147,483,648 2,147,483,647 4 bytes Exact
Smallint -32,768 32,767 2 bytes Exact
Tinyint 0 255 1 bytes Exact
Bit 0 1 1 to 8 bit columns in the same table requires a total of 1 byte, 9 to 16 bits = 2 bytes, etc... Exact
Decimal -10^38+1 10^38–1 Precision 1-9 = 5 bytes, precision 10-19 = 9 bytes, precision 20-28 = 13 bytes, precision 29-38 = 17 bytes Exact The Decimal and the Numeric data type is exactly the same. Precision is the total number of digits. Scale is the number of decimals. For both the minimum is 1 and the maximum is 38.
Numeric same as Decimal same as Decimal same as Decimal Exact
Money -2^63 / 10000 2^63-1 / 10000 8 bytes Exact
Smallmoney -214,748.3648 214,748.3647 4 bytes Exact
Float -1.79E + 308 1.79E + 308 4 bytes when precision is less than 25 and 8 bytes when precision is 25 through 53 Approx Precision is specified from 1 to 53.
Real -3.40E + 38 3.40E + 38 4 bytes Approx Precision is fixed to 7.
Datetime 1753-01-01 00:00:00.000 9999-12-31 23:59:59.997 8 bytes Datetime If you are running SQL Server 2008 or later and need milliseconds precision, use datetime2(3) instead to save 1 byte.
Smalldatetime 1900-01-01 00:00 2079-06-06 23:59 Datetime
Date 0001-01-01 9999-12-32 3 bytes Datetime New in SQL Server 2008
Time 00:00:00.0000000 23:59:59:9999999 3 to 5 bytes Datetime New in SQL Server 2008
Datetime2 0001-01-01 00:00:00.0000000 9999-12-31 23:59:59.9999999 6 to 8 bytes Datetime 100 nanosecond accuracy. New in SQL Server 2008
DatetimeOffset 0001-01-01 00:00:00.0000000 9999-12-31 23:59:59.9999999 8 to 10 bytes Datetime Like DateTime2 but includes offset in +-hh:mm from UTC. New in SQL Server 2008
Char 0 chars 8000 chars Defined width String Fixed width
Varchar 0 chars 8000 chars 2 bytes + number of chars String Variable width
Varchar(max) 0 chars 2^31 chars 2 bytes + number of chars String Variable width
Text 0 chars 2,147,483,647 chars 4 bytes + number of chars String Variable width
Nchar 0 chars 4000 chars Defined width x 2 Unicode Fixed width
Nvarchar 0 chars 4000 chars Unicode Variable width
Nvarchar(max) 0 chars 2^30 chars Unicode Variable width
Ntext 0 chars 1,073,741,823 chars Unicode Variable width
Binary 0 bytes 8000 bytes Binary Fixed width
Varbinary 0 bytes 8000 bytes Binary Variable width
Varbinary(max) 0 bytes 2^31 bytes Binary Variable width
Image 0 bytes 2,147,483,647 bytes Binary Variable width. Prefer to use the varbinary(max) type as the image type will be removed in future versions.
Sql_variant Other Stores values of various SQL Server-supported data types, except text, ntext, and timestamp.
Timestamp Other Stores a database-wide unique number that gets updated every time a row gets updated.
Uniqueidentifier Other Stores a globally unique identifier (GUID).
Xml Other Stores XML data. You can store xml instances in a column or a variable.
Cursor Other A reference to a cursor.
Table Other Stores a result set for later processing.
HierarchyID Tree Stores position of nodes of a hierarchal tree structure as defined by the user. New in SQL Server 2008.
FileStream Stream Stores VARBINARY(MAX) binary large objects (BLOBs) outside of the database in the NTFS file system. New in SQL Server 2008, but only available if the feature is enabled.
Geometry Spatial Stores XY locations. New in SQL Server 2008.
Geography Spatial Stores Latitude and Logitude locations. New in SQL Server 2008.


GEOMETRY and GEOGRAPHY data types are implemented as .NET CLR data types, which means they can support various properties and methods specific to the data. For example, a method can be used to calculate the distance between two GEOMETRY XY coordinates, or the distance between two GEOGRAPHY latitude and longitude coordinates. Another example is a method to see if two spatial objects intersect or not. Methods defined by the Open Geospatial Consortium standard, and Microsoft extensions to that standard, can be used. To take full advantage of these methods, you will have to be an expert in spatial data, a topic that well beyond the scope of this chapter.

Another feature of spatial data types is that they support special spatial indexes. Unlike conventional indexes, spatial indexes consist of a grid-based hierarchy in which each level of the index subdivides the grid sector that is defined in the level above. But like conventional indexes, the SQL Server query optimizer can use spatial indexes to speed up the performance of queries that return spatial data.

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