Improving performance and compatibility by using UTF-8 (New in Azure Database and SQL Server 2019)

In order to support UNICODE, special data types like NVARCHAR and NCHAR, were added in earlier versions of SQL Server. Originally, those data types used UCS-2 encoding, which support 65536 code points using 2 bytes. UTF-16 encoding was added to support 1114112 code points using 2 or 4 bytes.

Azure Database and SQL Server 2019 introduced new Supplementary Character "_UTF8" to support UTF-8 encoding using non-"National Character" Data types like CHAR and VARCHAR.

UTF-8 encoding provides full compatibility to other data types, to external applications, and to different Operating Systems. Using UTF-8 can reduce data size dramatically up to 50% and potentially improve performance accordingly.

In this session we will start with theory and best practice of textual data types and different types of encoding (ASCII, UCS-2, UTF-16, and UTF-8), and will dive to "SQL Server internals" behind the scenes.

* Note! The meeting fits developers, ‎Database administrators, and Architects. We'll review the theory (level 200) as well as the internals (level 400).

Ronen Ariely

Senior consultant and architect, data platform and application development.

Tel Aviv, Israel


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