What Data Type Is BIGINT?


Scott Campbell

What Data Type Is BIGINT?

In the world of databases, data types play a crucial role in defining the nature and characteristics of the data being stored. One such important data type is BIGINT. Let’s dive deeper and understand what exactly this data type is and how it can be utilized.

Definition and Characteristics

BIGINT is a numeric data type that is commonly used in databases to store extremely large integer values. It falls under the category of integer data types, but with an extended range compared to other integer types like INT or SMALLINT. The exact range of values that can be stored in a BIGINT column may vary depending on the database management system (DBMS) being used.

The name “BIGINT” itself suggests its purpose – to store big integers. This data type is particularly useful when dealing with scenarios where precision and accuracy matter, such as financial applications or scientific calculations.

Usage Example

To illustrate the usage of BIGINT, let’s consider a hypothetical example of a database table that stores information about customer orders. One of the columns in this table could be order_id, which we want to define as a BIGINT.

  order_id BIGINT,
  customer_id INT,
  order_date DATE,
  total_amount DECIMAL(10, 2)

In this example, we’ve defined the order_id column as a BIGINT. This allows us to accommodate very large order numbers without losing any precision or encountering overflow errors.

Considerations and Limitations

While BIGINT offers the advantage of storing large integer values, it also comes with a few considerations and limitations that need to be kept in mind:

  • Storage Size: The storage size of a BIGINT value is typically larger than other integer types. This can impact the overall performance and storage requirements of your database.
  • Compatibility: Not all DBMS systems support the BIGINT data type.

    It’s important to check if your chosen database system supports it before using it in your schema.

  • Data Range: While BIGINT provides an extended range compared to other integer types, there is still a limit to the maximum and minimum values that can be stored. Exceeding these limits may result in data truncation or errors.

In Conclusion

BIGINT is a powerful data type that allows for the storage of very large integer values in databases. It offers precision, accuracy, and flexibility when dealing with scenarios that involve handling big numbers. However, it’s important to consider the storage size, compatibility, and data range limitations associated with this data type.

If you find yourself working on a project where large integer values need to be stored, consider utilizing BIGINT for optimal results!

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