Thursday, August 26, 2010

Files in BLOGS or Filesystem

Almost all SQL based projects (ex: LAMP) require a way to store files.

I've encounter this problem so many times and so many times I had to think about pros (+) and cons (-) that I decided to put them down into this post so anytime I will encounter this problem I will be fast updated :D

There are 2 ways to store files:
  1. into the SQL as BLOBS
  2. into the file system as normal files
Store them as BLOBS
(+) avoid file system permissions nightmare
(+) all CRUD operations can be transactional (if your database supports transactions)
(+) can be replicated
(-) bigger databases (dumps will take longer and will be bigger)
(-) if you want to use rsync or similar tool to backup your web app the whole database will be backed (unless rsync has a way to save only delta of a .sql file)
(-) JOINS with BLOB tables will take longer

BLOB Hybrid solution
A hybrid solution might be to store the BLOB/files into a separate table and use foreign keys to it.

Store as normal file
Usually the file is stored
(+) database is way more smaller
(+) rsync will generate a smaller network traffic (less bandwidth consumption)
(+) database backups will be faster (only the data in the SQL database)
(-) you need to take care of file permissions
(-) it can not be replicated
(-) all CRUD SQL operations will be more complicated as you will need to take care of the files too
(-) need to take care of orphaned files (a cron job to detect them and then to solve the problem)

Links: - How to use the hybrid solution


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