Normally refers to a variable length string data type.

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MySQL 'copying to tmp table' while enlarging VARCHAR

One user called today because he has tried to enlarge a VARCHAR column (from 20 to 100) in a slightly large table resulting in a write-locked table. I watched PROCESSLIST and saw that ALTER TABLE ...
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Implicitly (or proxy) convert to Nvarchar on incoming queries from legacy or 3rd party applications

We have a 3rd party application of which we don't have the source code. This application executes queries on our database without using the "N" prefix before literal strings. It does this in inserts ...