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Oracle PL/SQL Programming, 5th Edition by Bill Pribyl, Steven Feuerstein

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The LOB Datatypes

Oracle and PL/SQL support several variations of large object datatypes. LOBs can store large amounts—from 8 to 128 terabytes—of binary data (such as images) or character text data.

Note

Through Oracle9i Database Release 2, LOBs could store only up to 4 gigabytes. Starting with Oracle Database 10g, the limit was increased to a value between 8 and 128 terabytes that is dependent upon your database block size.

Within PL/SQL you can declare LOB variables of the following datatypes:

BFILE

Binary file. Declares a variable that holds a file locator pointing to an operating-system file outside the database. The database treats the data in the file as binary data.

BLOB

Binary large object. Declares a variable that holds a LOB locator pointing to a large binary object stored inside the database.

CLOB

Character large object. Declares a variable that holds a LOB locator pointing to a large block of character data in the database character set, stored inside the database.

NCLOB

National Language Support (NLS) character large object. Declares a variable that holds a LOB locator pointing to a large block of character data in the national character set, stored inside the database.

LOBs can be categorized as internal or external. Internal LOBs (BLOBs, CLOBs, and NCLOBs) are stored in the database and can participate in a transaction in the database server. External LOBs (BFILEs) represent binary data stored in operating-system files outside the database tablespaces. External LOBs cannot participate ...

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