Guids are actually UUID.

Guid stands for Globally Unique Identifiers.



Whether to use Globally Unique Identities (Guid)'s or not use Guids for primary keys comes up regularly.

In order to make an informed decision, here are some important notes.


  • Guids are defined by RFC 4122.
  • When dealing with different machines, it's important to use the same mechanism, to reduce the risk of clashes.
Types of Guids

There are various types of Guids:

Time based (Variant 2, Version 1 RFC 4122) GUIDs:

  • P/Invoke UuidCreateSequential
    • uuidgen.exe, passing the -x flag

    Random (Variant 2, Version 4 RFC 4122) GUIDs:

  • Guid.NewGuid() is a Variant 2, Version 4 RFC 4122 GUID (random based).
    • Note that internally it P/Invokes CoCreateGuid which in turn invokes UuidCreate
  • guidgen.exe (in Visual Studio/Windows SDK) is a Variant 2, Version 4 RFC 4122 GUID (random based).
  • uuidgen.exe tool (in SDK) is a Variant 2, Version 4 RFC 4122 GUID (random based).
  • P/Invoke UuidCreate
    • note: that prior to NT UuidCreate was Version 1 (time-based), but you'll never have to worry about it.

    Non-RFC 4122 compliant:

  • SqlServer's newsequentialid() is reshuffled Random one. And unfortunately reshuffles the position of the Variant bit. Bummer.
    • No shit…MS created a non-client solution on something so damn important to stick to an RFC

When using GUIDs as keys in a database, you must ensure that the GUIDs are all compatible with each other.

Not compatible:

  • newsequentialid() is not compatible with Guid.NewGuid
  • newsequentialid() is not compatible with UuidCreateSequential (unless you're doing byte swapping manually).


  • Guid.NewGuid and UuidCreateSequential are compatible with each other (since they are both RFC 4122 compliant).
  • Other made-up GUIDs - including “comb” GUIDs (webcite) - are not compatible with any other type of GUID.
Regarding SQL Server

Sql Server: