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From "Maximillian Dornseif (JIRA)" <>
Subject [jira] Commented: (COUCHDB-61) Separate storage of attachments from the main database file
Date Sun, 28 Dec 2008 10:21:44 GMT


Maximillian Dornseif commented on COUCHDB-61:

To my understanding of OS access pattern they actually do interfere with document  access
and view building.

Lets say you have 100 MB of documents and 100 GB of attatchments. To my (very limited) understanding
in the current database file "normal" b+-tree pages and attatchments  would be interleaved.
So on disk (assuming best-case continues allocation) it would look something like


(D=doc, A=attatchment)
So if I want to access the whole B+-Tree for an operation I have to skip around in the file
by using seeks or some other techniques. Seeks harm the caching ability of the OS and are
generally slow. And the OS obviously is not able to read the whole 100.1 GB file in  a single
chunk into it's cache.

Compare that to having two files:

DDDDDDDDDDDDDD = document file, 100 MB
Now the OS caching subsystem can happily read the whole document file into RAM. Even if CouchDB
uses seeks they can be served from the cache.  The OS doesn't have to wrong around the huge
binary chunks of seldom accessed attachment data.

Generally to get most out of the IO optimizations of an Operating System don't save data with
different  access patterns in the same file. The exact impact differs very much from OS to
OS but this is one of the main reasons why databases (even MySQL) use different files for
different parts of the database - unless they manage diskspace independently of the OS with
raw partitions.

All this assumes that you access and change attachments less often than your documents and
documents are considerable smaller than attachments. I would call this a save bet for most

> Separate storage of attachments from the main database file
> -----------------------------------------------------------
>                 Key: COUCHDB-61
>                 URL:
>             Project: CouchDB
>          Issue Type: New Feature
>          Components: Database Core
>         Environment: All
>            Reporter: Jan Lehnardt
>            Priority: Minor
> At the moment all document- and attachment-data go into the same database file. It would
be nice if the attachments could be saved in a different file. This would enable the use of
slower and cheaper hardware for attachment storage and faster hardware for the document and
index data storage.

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