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  SQL Server Tips by Burleson

Binary

The binary data type will store binary fixed length data, such as images, sounds, video, Office documents, compressed data and other non-alphanumeric data. The 8000 byte size limitation restricts its applications, but it is still very useful. The following code demonstrates the right padding with zeros:

DECLARE @b binary(5)
SET @b=CAST('abc' as binary(3))
select DATALENGTH(@b)
SELECT @b

5
0x6162630000


The length of the variable is always the same because of the padding. If @b was NULL the length would be NULL, not zero.

Varbinary

The varbinary data type will store binary variable length data. The advantages over the binary data type are saving storage space and keeping an accurate representation of the data. This code demonstrated the differences:

DECLARE @b varbinary(5)
SET @b=CAST('abc' as binary(3))
select DATALENGTH(@b)
SELECT @b

3
0x616263


The length of the variable is the number of bytes of its data, there are no extra bytes for headers or padding.


The above book excerpt is from:

Super SQL Server Systems
Turbocharge Database Performance with C++ External Procedures

ISBN: 0-9761573-2-2
Joseph Gama, P. J. Naughter

 http://www.rampant-books.com/book_2005_2_sql_server_external_procedures.htm  

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