Firebird Database Does BLOBs Better than the File System

By Deane Barker on September 2, 2008

Firebird is faster than filesystem for blob storage!: This is encouraging. Storing files as BLOBs would simplify many scenarios, especially in the content management world.

What I believe is pretty interesting is how writing to a Firebird database (which stores small files saving disk space since it only uses one single file!) is actually faster than dumping the same content to disk!!

Of course, there are a number of situations where high-perf software (including SCM) can benefit from using a FS instead of a database, but blob storage (with Firebird :-P) is not one of them…

I still remember sitting in a SQL Server training course nine years ago and learning about BLOBs. I was excited, thinking of all the things I could do…and then the instructor repeated the party line, “But this isn’t recommended. Instead, store the file path in the database, and the file on disk.” I was deflated.

It’s good to hear that someone is bucking that trend and saying something good about BLOB storage for once.



  1. Of course, it isn’t an automatic win and it is still a complicated decision. Back in 1998-2000, we implemented a document repository (LiveLink) at work. We got to choose between storing the documents on a file system or as blobs in a database. We chose blobs. All was well and good for the first year or so. And then all of the various Office viruses started appearing. At the time, the vendor didn’t have a way to run virus scans against the documents in the DB. Needless to say, it took quite a while to work through.

  2. I use storing the files in binary for my photo gallery on my site. I am very compelled to see the difference in the advantages and disadvantanges of doing this. One thing to not is the deleting and updating the files are simple instead of setting security permissions on the file system. Alot it may sound funny, but my db file is much larger than the images actually stored on the file system so if space isn’t an issue, then i am more apt to use the files in the db and not the filesystem. What your all of your thoughts.

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