SQL SERVER – Maximum Allowable Length of Characters for Temp Objects is 116 – Guest Post by Balmukund Lakhani

Balmukund Lakhani (Blog | Twitter | Site) is currently working as Technical Lead in SQL Support team with Microsoft India GTSC. In past 7+ years with Microsoft he was also a part of Premier Field Engineering Team for 18 month. During that time he was a part of rapid onsite support (ROSS) team. Prior to joining Microsoft in 2005, he worked as SQL developer, SQL DBA and also got chance to wear his other hat as an ERP Consultant.

Here is the guest post by Balmukund Lakhani

Recently Dhananjay (B | T) posted an interesting question on the SQLServerFAQ community page since the answer was new to almost all in the group, I have taken idea to write a blog post to explain this in detail. Here we go.

Question:
All objects can have minimum 1 and maximum of 128 characters in their names in SQL Server. Only exception is local temporary tables that can have maximum of 116 characters. What’s the technical reason behind this? Anyone, why that’s so?

Manas (B | T) posted this link from books online which tells this limitation but I always wanted to explore what happens under the hood.  Here is the simple repro of problem statement

DECLARE @i NVARCHAR(800)
SELECT @i = REPLICATE('A', 116)
SELECT @i = 'CREATE TABLE #'+@i+'(i int)'
PRINT @i
EXEC(@i)

In above script I am trying to create a temp table (starts with #) and you would see below output.

CREATE TABLE #AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA(i int)

Msg 193, Level 15, State 1, Line 1
The object or column name starting with ‘#AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA’ is too long. The maximum length is 116 characters.

The URL which was pointed by Manas (B | T) clearly explained this
{
Both regular and delimited identifiers must contain from 1 through 128 characters. For local temporary tables, the identifier can have a maximum of 116 characters.
}

If you try to create a normal table with more than 128 characters then you would see

Msg 103, Level 15, State 4, Line 1
The identifier that starts with ‘#AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA’ is too long. Maximum length is 128.

If you read the message closely, there are two error numbers 193 and 103 which have different length.  Now the real question is why there is differentiation between regular table and temp table Let’s create two temp tables now. I am giving name as A and A [repeated 128 times]

DECLARE @i NVARCHAR(800)
SELECT @i = REPLICATE('A', 115)
SELECT @i = 'CREATE TABLE #'+@i+'(i int)'
PRINT @i
EXEC(@i)
GO
DECLARE @i NVARCHAR(800)
SELECT @i = REPLICATE('B', 1)
SELECT @i = 'CREATE TABLE #'+@i+'(i int)'
PRINT @i
EXEC(@i)
GO

Here is the output which you would see. Now execute the same output in the SSMS.

CREATE TABLE #AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA(i INT)
CREATE TABLE #B(i INT)

If you run above piece of code in SSMS, you would see object getting created. Now, let’s find out the name of the object in tempdb database

SELECT LEN(name) 'Length', name
FROM tempdb.sys.objects
WHERE TYPE = 'u'
AND name LIKE '#AAAAAA%'
OR name LIKE '#B%'

Here is the output.

Click to expand

Length of both the object name is 128 even if we create object with length name as 116 and 1. That should give you little clue about the behavior.

Summary:
Whatever object name you give for temp table, SQL is going to pad the value with underscores and few “magic” bit as the end and would cover complete 128 characters. Have a closer look at length of magic bit “000000000058” and “000000000059” in above output [yeah, its 12]. Those are needed because you are allowed to create same name temp table by different sessions.  The length of magical number is 12 so 128 – 12 = 116 is the max length which is allowed for temp objects as SQL adds 12 chars at the end.

In case you are in Facebook, you may want to check the group SQLServerFAQ for other interesting questions.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

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SQL SERVER – How to Drop Temp Table – Check Existence of Temp Table

I have received following questions numerous times:

“How to check existence of Temp Table in SQL Server Database?”

“How to drop Temp Table from TempDB?”

“When I try to drop Temp Table I get following error. Msg 2714, Level 16, State 6, Line 4
There is already an object named ‘#temp’ in the database.
How can I fix it?”

“Can we have only one Temp Table or we can have multiple Temp Table?”

“I have SP using Temp Table, when it will run simultaneously, will it overwrite data of temp table?”

In fact I have already answer this question earlier in one of my blog post. I have even explained how Temp Table works in TempDB and how they are managed.

Visit my earlier written article for answers to questions listed above.

SQL SERVER – Fix : Error : Msg 2714, Level 16, State 6 – There is already an object named ‘#temp’ in the database

Reference : Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)

SQL SERVER – SQL SERVER – Comparison : Similarity and Difference #TempTable vs @TempVariable – Part 2

Some questions never get old. One of them is temp table variable and temp table in SQL Server.

I have previously wrote about this indepth here : SQL SERVER – Comparison : Similarity and Difference #TempTable vs @TempVariable

Recently I received question:

Can temporary table have indexes? If yes, are they really useful and efficient? When nonclustered index are created a separate table is created, what happens in the case of when temporary table?

I really liked the question of user.

Yes, temporary table can have indexes. If you have to use temporary table more than one time in your operation, create index on it and it will be have performance improvement because of Index usage.

When indexes are created on temporary table (which are stored in TempDB), indexes are created on TempDB as well. When original table is dropped the index table may be or may not be dropped, but definitely become not useful. The same index can not be used again with new temp table.

I am interested in listening my blog readers comment about these questions.

Reference : Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)