What Is Datetime2 Data Type in SQL?


Larry Thompson

What Is Datetime2 Data Type in SQL?

When working with databases, one of the essential aspects is handling date and time values. The Datetime2 data type in SQL offers a flexible and efficient way to store date and time information. In this article, we will explore the features and benefits of using the Datetime2 data type.


The Datetime2 data type was introduced in Microsoft SQL Server 2008. It is an extension of the original Datetime data type but provides improved precision and range.

The Datetime2 data type allows you to store both date and time values with millisecond precision. It offers a broader range compared to its predecessor, supporting dates from January 1, 0001, through December 31, 9999.


The precision of a Datetime2 value determines the number of digits stored for the fractional part of seconds. The valid precision values range from 0 to 7. A higher precision value indicates a more accurate representation of the time.

To specify the precision for a Datetime2 column or variable, you can use the following syntax:


Here, ‘p’ represents the desired precision value.



This example specifies a precision of three digits for milliseconds.

Benefits of Using Datetime2 Data Type

  • Better Precision: The Datetime2 data type allows you to store time values with high precision, making it suitable for applications that require accurate timing.
  • Extended Range: With Datetime2, you can store dates ranging from January 1, 0001, to December 31, 9999. This expanded range is beneficial when working with historical or future data.
  • Improved Storage Efficiency: The storage size of a Datetime2 value depends on the precision specified. It dynamically adjusts the storage requirements based on the actual precision used, resulting in efficient use of disk space.
  • Compatibility: The Datetime2 data type is supported by various SQL database systems, ensuring compatibility across different platforms.

Usage Considerations

While the Datetime2 data type offers many advantages, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:

  • Migrating Existing Data: When migrating existing data from a table with the Datetime data type to a table with the Datetime2 data type, ensure proper conversion and handle any differences in precision and range.
  • Precision Trade-off: Higher precision values require more storage space. Therefore, it’s essential to strike a balance between accuracy and storage efficiency based on your application’s requirements.
  • Limited Support for Older Databases: If you need compatibility with older database systems that do not support the Datetime2 data type, consider alternative approaches or migration strategies.

In conclusion, the Datetime2 data type in SQL provides a flexible and efficient solution for storing date and time values. Its improved precision, extended range, and storage efficiency make it a preferred choice for many applications. Consider using Datetime2 when accuracy and compatibility across different platforms are crucial.

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