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NULL values in sql-server

Posted on 2000-03-20
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Last Modified: 2008-03-17
Do recordfields containing NULL-values take up storage space? (SQL-server 7)
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Question by:pietjepuk
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by:Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]
ID: 2636233
Yes, but only a few bytes (indicating that there is a NULL value)
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by:pietjepuk
ID: 2636274
In this specific situation a few bytes might very well add up to Gigabytes. Do you (or anyone) know exactly how many bytes?
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by:evertd
ID: 2636536
I think that is not documented but you can try to load 1000000 rows with NULL values and a table without the null values. Than look the size differences of the two tables.
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by:Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]
ID: 2636618
M$ reference:
For each variable-sized column (including nullable columns), byte usage is:
1 (or more) shared bytes per table  indicating columns are null or not (2 if more than 8 columns
0 byte per column that is null
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by:ahoor
ID: 2641065
Also depends on the datatype.
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by:Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]
ID: 2643408
ahoor: if value is null, datatype is not important: size is 0 bytes, the nullbit mask will be defined whatsoever and take 1 or more bytes (depending on the number of nullable columns in the table)
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by:pietjepuk
ID: 2643655
Adjusted points from 50 to 100
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by:pietjepuk
ID: 2643656
evertd, thanks for the suggestion but it doesn't answer my question(s).

angelIII,
So this nullbit mask uses bits (eight columns make up one byte). But does it refer to the nullability of columns, or to actual storage of null values?
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Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3] earned 100 total points
ID: 2644167
The nullability of columns is referred to in the syscolumns table, with the exact definition of every column (type, size...)
Then for every row, the values are stored one after the other (fixed sized columns first), with some bytes of informations (number of columns, size of row...) This bytes include the nullbit-mask (taking 0 to n bytes).
So the answer is, this nullbit mask refers to the actual value of NULLS
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by:pietjepuk
ID: 2644388
OK, (I think) I get it. Through this nullbit masking up to 8 columns that are NULL can be stored into 1 byte (per row), right?

Thanks again.

Pietjepuk.
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