I want to modify a column on a huge table containing more than 25 million records. I am using sybase 12.5.4. I have read through these posts

What is the most efficient way to alter a column definition in a table with millions of rows


ALTER TABLE on a large table with an indexed column

My current strategy is

  • Drop all non clustered index
  • Drop clustered index
  • Alter table modifcy column varchar (32) -- column is char(20) presently
  • Recreate clustered index
  • recreate non clustered index

Does it make sense. Is there a faster method do it ?

Edit :

  • Table Data Size : 16.7 GB
  • Total rows : 25835155
  • avg row size : .64 KB
  • 8 Non Clustered Index
  • Yes,column I am changing is the second column in a 2 column NC index

1 Answer 1


You should only need to drop and recreate the affected NC index.

Saying that, on a test server, you can see the differences in doing this compared to your strategy of dropping all indexes above.

I reckon dropping/creating the single index would be quicker overall because the data will be shifted around twice otherwise: once char to varchar, another to build the clustered index. Then you have the NC creation overhead.

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