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Tip of the Day
Language: SQL Server
Expertise: Beginner
Mar 24, 1997

BLOB Data Storage

Question:
What are the advantages/disadvantages of putting large binary files (1+ MB) in BLOB columns versus storing them on a file server with a reference such as a directory/file spec in a column?

Answer:
The storage of BLOB data usually depends directly on the functionality built into your database server — some servers are optimized to handle BLOB data and others aren't. Check your documentation and your vendor's brochures to see if they offer any specific suggestions.

You should consider whether or not each record in the table will include BLOB data: If a small percentage of the records is involved, there is usually a strong advantage to using the file system. Conversely, if nearly every record includes BLOB data, the advantage may turn to the database server.

Another consideration is the network traffic that will be generated if you use the file system. When the database server takes responsibility for storing and retrieving the data internally, you aren't adding to an already-taxed network.

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