DB2 - Sequences

This chapter introduces you to the concept of sequence, creation of sequence, viewing the sequence, and dropping them.


A sequence is a software function that generates integer numbers in either ascending or descending order, within a definite range, to generate primary key and coordinate other keys among the table. You use sequence for availing integer numbers say, for employee_id or transaction_id. A sequence can support SMALLINT, BIGINT, INTEGER, and DECIMAL data types. A sequence can be shared among multiple applications. A sequence is incremented or decremented irrespective of transactions.

A sequence is created by CREATE SEQUENCE statement.

Types of Sequences

There are two type of sequences available:

  • NEXTVAL: It returns an incremented value for a sequence number.

  • PREVIOUS VALUE: It returns recently generated value.

Parameters of sequences

The following parameters are used for sequences:

Data type: This is the data type of the returned incremented value. (SMALLINT, BIGINT, INTEGER, NUMBER, DOUBLE)

START WITH: The reference value, with which the sequence starts.

MINVALUE: A minimum value for a sequence to start with.

MAXVALUE: A maximum value for a sequence.

INCREMENT BY: step value by which a sequence is incremented.

Sequence cycling: the CYCLE clause causes generation of the sequence repeatedly. The sequence generation is conducted by referring the returned value, which is stored into the database by previous sequence generation.

Creating a sequence

You can create sequence using the following syntax:


db2 create sequence <seq_name> 

Example: [To create a new sequence with the name ‘sales1_seq’ and increasing values from 1]

db2 create sequence sales1_seq as int start 
with 1 increment by 1  

Viewing the sequences

You can view a sequence using the syntax given below:


db2 value <previous/next> value for <seq_name>

Example: [To see list of previous updated value in sequence ‘sales1_seq’]

db2 values previous value for sales1_seq  


  1 record(s) selected. 

Dropping the sequence

To remove the sequence, you need to use the “DROP SEQUENCE ” command. Here is how you do it:


db2 drop sequence <seq_name>>

Example: [To drop sequence ‘sales1_seq’ from database]

db2 drop sequence sales1_seq  


 DB20000I The SQL command completed successfully.