SQL Server Sequence objects are used to sequentially generate numeric values that can be in ascending or descending order at a defined interval and may cycle if requested.
Sequence objects are similar to the IDENTITY column in any SQL table. However, unlike the IDENTITY column, they are independent and are not attached to any table.
Sequence objects are used both independently and within the DML statements that is INSERT, UPDATE and DELETE.
CREATE SEQUENCE [schema].[Sequencename] [ AS <data type> ] [ START WITH <value> ] [ INCREMENT BY <value> ] [ MINVALUE <value > | NO MINVALUE ] [ MAXVALUE <value> | NO MAXVALUE ] [ CYCLE | NO CYCLE ] [ CACHE value | NO CACHE ];
CREATE SEQUENCE Used to create a sequence followed by a database schema and the name of the sequence.
AS is the default value for the data type is BigInt , Data types can be Int, SmallInt, TinyInt, BigInt and Decimal, .
START WITH is a starting value that the sequence returns initially.
INCREMENT BY it can be either a positive or negative value. If a positive value is specified, the sequence will be an ascending sequence of values. If a negative value is specified, the sequence will be a descending sequence of values.
MINVALUE is the minimum value for the sequence object.
NO MINVALUE means that no minimum value specified for the sequence object.
MAXVALUE is an optional parameter that sets the maximum value for the sequence object.
NO MAXVALUE means that no maximum value specified for the sequence object.
CYCLE sequence will start over once it has completed the sequence.
NO CYCLE It will not start the sequence over again.
CACHE is used to cache sequence object values.
NO CACHE It does not cache the sequence Objects.
Lets look at an example of Sequences in SQL.
Following Statement create a sequence object named GenSeqId. The type of this sequence object is integer.
Sequence Objects starts from 100 and increments by 2.
CREATE SEQUENCE dbo.GenSeqId AS INT START WITH 100 INCREMENT BY 2
You can check the details of a sequence using following statement.
SELECT * FROM sys.sequences WHERE name = 'GenSeqId';
To see the value that GenSeqId sequence object contains , use following statement
SELECT NEXT VALUE FOR [dbo].[GenSeqId]
Create table EmpData( EmpId int , EmpName varchar(100) )
Use Sequences with Insert statement
INSERT INTO EmpData VALUES ( NEXT VALUE FOR [dbo].[GenSeqId],'NICK ANTHONY') INSERT INTO EmpData VALUES ( NEXT VALUE FOR [dbo].[GenSeqId],'JACK MARK A')
Lets select the records , As you can see the output that the value for EmpId column is generated by the GenSeqId sequence object that is 102 and 104 .
SELECT * FROM EmpData
Alter sequence objects
To modify an existing sequence, the ALTER SEQUENCE statement is used.
The following statement modifies an existing sequence object ‘GenSeqId’ by updating its starting value to 100
ALTER SEQUENCE [GenSeqId] RESTART WITH 1
SELECT NEXT VALUE FOR [dbo].[GenSeqId]
Sequence with Max and Min Values
Lets alter the GenSeqNumber and set min and Max values for it.
CREATE SEQUENCE [dbo].[GenSeqNumber] AS INT START WITH 1 INCREMENT BY 2 MINVALUE 1 MAXVALUE 6
As you can see above, we have created a sequence object named ‘GenSeqNumber’, and it has a starting value that is incremented by 2 and the minimum value for this sequence object is 1 and maximum value is 6.
Now if you increment the value of this sequence object beyond 6, It returns an error.
As the Sequence object have maximum value is set to 6, so when sequence object is executed for 3 time its value will be exceeding the maximum value 6 so it gives an error.
Lets execute the below statement for 3 three times and you can see it gives an error.
Select NEXT VALUE FOR [dbo].[GenSeqNumber]
Sequence with CYCLE
As you see above, when increment value of a sequence object go beyond to its maximum value, it gives an error, in case this case to aviod error , you can use a CYCLE flag.
If a CYCLE flag for a sequence is set to true, the value for the sequence object is again set to its starting value.
CREATE SEQUENCE [dbo].[GenSeqNumber] AS INT START WITH 1 INCREMENT BY 2 MINVALUE 1 MAXVALUE 6 CYCLE
When Sequence objected is executed and exceeds it’s maximum value the sequence value is reset to start value again.
To drop a sequence objects , you can use drop statement as given below
Drop sequence [GenSeqNumber_withcycle]