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Introduction to Large Objects (LOBs)

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  • Difficulty Level : Basic
  • Last Updated : 28 Jun, 2019
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Large Objects(LOBs) are a collection of datatypes which is designed to hold a large amount of data. A LOB is able to hold up to maximum size ranging from 8 terabytes to 128 terabytes, depending upon how your database is configured. Storing data into LOBs helps you to manipulate & access data efficiently in your own application.

Why use large objects
Below are different types of data that can be encountered while developing an application. Let’s see which among these is suitable for large objects.

  • Simple structured data: This data can be organised into simple table whose structures are based on business rules.
  • Complex structured data: This data are complex in nature & well suited for the object-relational features of the Oracle database such as references, collections and user-defined types.
  • Semi structured data: This types of data have a logical structure that is not typically interpreted by the database. For example, an XML document that is processed by any application or any external services can be thought of semi-structured data.
  • Unstructured data: This types of data are not typically interpreted by the database or your application and are not broken down into smaller logical structures. An example of unstructured data is a photographic image stored as a binary file.

So basically, Large Objects are suitable for above last two kinds of data: semi-structured & unstructured data. Large objects features allow you to store these two kinds of data in the database as well as in operating system files that are usually accessed from the database.

Advantages of LOBs:
With the growth of content-rich applications and internet, it has been important that the database supports a datatype that:

  • Can easily store both unstructured & semi structured data in efficient manner.
  • For large amount of data, can be optimized.
  • Provide uniform ways for accessing data stored outside the database or within the database.

And these are provided by Large Database Objects or LOBs.

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