Exact Numeric Data Types in Visual Studio .NET

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Exact Numeric Data Types
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Data Type bigint
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Storage 8 bytes
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Value Range 2E63 to 2E63 1
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Purpose Stores very large whole numbers that can be positive or negative Stores whole numbers that can be positive or negative Stores whole numbers that can be positive or negative Stores a small range of positive whole numbers Stores decimals up to a maximum of 38 places
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2E31 to 2E31 1
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smallint
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2 bytes
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32,768 to 32,767
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tinyint decimal(p,s)
1 byte 5 17 bytes depending on the precision 5 17 bytes depending on the precision
0 to 255 10E38 + 1 to 10E38 1
numeric(p,s)
10E38 + 1 to 10E38 1
Functionally equivalent to decimal, and can be used interchangeably with decimal
The decimal and numeric data types accept parameters to complete the data type definition. These parameters define the precision and scale for the data type. For example, decimal(12,4) defines a decimal value that can have up to 12 total digits, with four of those digits after the decimal.
3
Creating Tables, Constraints, and User-Defined Types
The most common data types from this group are int and decimal. You can use a decimal data type to store integer values, but doing so requires extra bytes of storage per row and should not be used for this purpose. Although int data types can store both positive and negative numbers, the negative portion is very rarely used. The int data types are commonly used and commonly misused. If the range of values you plan to store in a column do not exceed 32,767, you can save two bytes for every row by using smallint instead of int. If the values are going to range only from 0 to 255, you can save three bytes for every row by using tinyint.
IMPORTANT
Space utilization
Saving two or three bytes of storage per row doesn t seem like a lot compared to the 250+ GB hard drives that you can now purchase for a few hundred dollars, pounds, euros, yen, or whatever currency you are working with. However, hard disk storage is a minor concern. If you store 1 million rows of data in a table, which is very common, the bytes per row saved would add up to 2 or 3 MB. Although that does not sound like much, consider that you also save that much space in memory if a user executes a query that returns all the rows in the table. You also save thousands of processor cycles at the same time. The space issue becomes even larger when you join two tables together. Joining two int columns together consumes eight bytes of memory as well as the corresponding calculation on the processor. If both tables hold 1 million rows and need to be read completely, the operation consumes about 8 MB of memory space. If you could have stored the data in a smallint or tinyint column instead, the memory savings for this query would be 4 6 MB. And that is the savings for only a single query. Consider what would happen if thousands of queries are being processed against the database, and you can see how one or two bytes of savings per row based on the data type you use can quickly make the difference between an environment with good performance and one with very poor performance.
Approximate Numeric Data Types
Approximate numeric data types can store decimal values. However, data stored in a float or real data type is exact only to the precision specified in the data type definition. Any digits to the right are not guaranteed to be stored exactly. For example, if you stored 1.00015454 in a data type defined as float(8), the column is guaranteed to return only 1.000154 accurately. SQL Server rounds off any digits further to the right when it stores the data. Therefore, calculations involving these data types compound rounding errors. Transferring databases containing tables with these data types between Intel and AMD processors also introduces errors. Table 3-3 lists SQL Server s approximate numeric data types.
Lesson 1: Creating Tables
Table 3-3
Approximate Numeric Data Types
Data Type float(p)
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