Rename a Primary Key–#SQLNewBlogger

Another post for me that is simple and hopefully serves as an example for people trying to get blogging as #SQLNewBloggers.

Having system named objects is one of those things that people may debate, but as you move to more automated and scripted processes can cause you issues. In the case of a Primary Key (PK), if you do something like this:

      OrderID INT IDENTITY(1, 1)
                  PRIMARY KEY ,
      OrderDate DATETIME

What you get is something like this:

2016-06-27 13_58_47-SQLQuery4.sql - (local)_SQL2016.EncryptionDemo (PLATO_Steve (60))_ - Microsoft S

When you compare that with the same table in another database, what’s the likelihood that you’ll have the PK named PK__OrderDet__D3B9D30C7D677BB4? Probably pretty low.

This means that if you are looking to deploy changes, and perhaps compare the deployment from one database to the next, you’ll think you have different indexes. Most comparison tools will then want to change the index on your target server, which might be using this technique. Or the choice might be something that performs much worse.

What we want to do is get this named the same on all databases. In this case, the easiest thing to do with rename the constraint on all systems. This is easy to do with sp_rename, which is better than dropping and rebuilding the index.

I can issue an easy query to do this:

exec sp_rename ‘PK__OrderDet__D3B9D30C7D677BB4’, ‘OrderDetail_PK’

When do this, I see the object is renamed.

2016-06-27 13_59_20-SQLQuery4.sql - (local)_SQL2016.EncryptionDemo (PLATO_Steve (60))_ - Microsoft S

This table has over a million rows, and while that’s not large, it does take time time to rebuild the index. With a rename, the change is to the metadata and takes a split second.


These quick, easy, administrator items are great to blog about. As an exercise, if this table has millions of rows, how much longer does the index rebuild take?

This is a great topic for you to write about (or learn about) and show how you can better administer your SQL Server databases.

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