I have a large table that is clustered index on a bigint. We would like to change it to just an int to reduce the space and improve the performance. However, dropping the clustered index and recreate the index is extremely slow.
Is there a way to speed this process, or by design this is the only to change the data type?
[Update] Just want to elaborate a bit about my question, the column that I like to update is a date dimension key. It is currently a bigint (8 bytes), and I would like to convert it to int (4 bytes). This should reduce the size of the database, and it should theoretically improve the database performance in general.