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What impact on performance does the database column type have in my case?

Posted on 2013-11-26
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Last Modified: 2013-11-26
I currently have a table which contains a VARCHAR(20) column. The assumption that the column will contain a maximum of 20 characters has held for a long time, however recently a need has resulted for it to also contain very long strings. Is there a performance overhead on the table on (i.e inserts/deletes/selects) if I were to change the table to smalltext (or a long varchar). I never need to search on this field, just retrieve and  insert it's value. If so, should I (reluctantly) introduce a separate column for the larger values?

Thanks a million
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Question by:paddycobbett
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Scott Pletcher earned 500 total points
ID: 39678581
Just change the current column (to varchar(nnnn) or varchar(max), not text).  The overhead in your situation is extremely small.

The only really big issue would be if you UPDATEd the column from a just a few bytes to many bytes, but that doesn't sound like the case here.  Just an initial INSERT of a lot more bytes on occasion won't cause enough overhead to worry about, and any potential solution would almost certainly cause more overhead than just lengthening the column.
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by:paddycobbett
ID: 39678792
That makes perfect sense! Thanks alot
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