Collations with Linked Server’s Queries

Posted: September 27, 2014 by Virendra Yaduvanshi in Database Administrator
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As we know collations are used by SQL Server to compare and order strings. When working with remote SQL Server instances, the engine will correctly compare and order strings based on the remote column collation. Therefore, if remote and local columns have different collations it will result in collation conflicts. When defining a linked server, we have the option of using remote or local collation (“Use Remote Collation” in Server Options). If that option is set to true, SQL Server will try to push the ORDER BY and the WHERE clauses to the remote server. If Use Remote Collation is set to false, SQL Server will use the default collation of the local server instance. If the default collation of the local server instance do not match with the remote server column collation, this will result in poor performance. The local server will have to filter and order the data, thus having to transfer each row beforehand. It is obviously much faster to filter and order the data on the remote server. Then again, deciding to use the remote collation could lead to incorrect results.

Moreover, it is not possible to join on columns that have a different collation. The workaround is to explicitly cast the collation when querying the remote server with the COLLATE clause. But this is an expensive operation if you must scan millions of rows, especially if you need to access the column frequently. In that case, you should manually transfer the data to a local table with the proper collation. This problem can also arise on the same local database since collations are defined at the column level.

Please comments on this, Happy Reading!

  1. roland says:

    I am having a problem regarding 2 different collations in 2 different databases but on the same server and I am using the 2 databases in the same vb6 application…how can I solve this problem..thanks in advance


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