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Paul Nielsen

the real story behind the new TinyGUID data type

A popular new data type that almost didn't make it in SQL Server 2008 will be available in CPT7. The new TinyGUID data type is similar to the full UniqueIdentifier data type except that, as the name implies, it's only 3 characters long – 29 characters less than the GUID saving 14 bytes, but still providing 46,656 (363) max values. The NewTinyID() function generates the values.

The intended application of the TinyGUID data type is for smaller look-up tables that require uniqueness for replication but not the massive number of values required for a larger table.

Microsoft had been pressured for several releases by the various state division of motor vehicles to implement the TinyGUID data type. The application of generating license plate numbers was an obvious need.

If they can slice datetime into date and time data types, why can’t they drop 29 characters off the GUID? Huh?” – Tom the DBA, Colorado State DMV

But, revealed only here in, there’s more to the new data type than just pressing license plates in the prison. The powers that be in some state’s departments were offended by the addition of DMVs within SQL Server 2005,

How dare they presume to call anything a DMV. We were the original DMV long before Bill Gates got his driver’s license for that fancy-shmancy red Porsche of his.” –Tom the other DBA, Colorado State DMV.

Facing yet another frustrating legal battle against the government, Microsoft reached a compromise with key states to include the TinyGuid data type if the states would drop their law suits.

So, for those wondering of SQL Server 2008 is truly a major release, that question has now been settled.


Published Tuesday, April 1, 2008 12:01 AM by Paul Nielsen
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alphatross said:

April Fool's Day blog, methinks?

April 1, 2008 6:28 AM

Adam Machanic said:

Nice one!

April 1, 2008 9:36 AM

Arnie Rowland said:

I was hoping that the TinySequentialGUID would make the RTM. Oh, well, there's hope for SP1.

April 3, 2008 5:43 PM

Kalen Delaney said:

Very funny...

But you know, in some states, there is no DMV. I know DMV because I got my driver's license in California, but here in Washington, my kids get theirs from the DOL... the Department of Licensing. They have no idea what DMV means, in either of its uses.


April 5, 2008 10:36 PM
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About Paul Nielsen

Paul Nielsen believes SQL is the romance language of data. As such he’s a hands-on database developer, Microsoft SQL Server MVP, trainer, and author of SQL Server Bible series (Wiley). As a data architect, he developed the concepts of Smart Database Design and Nordic – an open source O/R dbms for SQL Server. He lives in Colorado Springs.

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