What Is LOB Data Type in SQL?


Angela Bailey

In SQL, LOB stands for Large Object. It is a data type that can store large amounts of data, such as text documents, images, audio files, or video files. The LOB data type allows you to store and manipulate data that exceeds the limits of other standard data types like VARCHAR or TEXT.

Types of LOB Data Types

There are different types of LOB data types in SQL:

1. CLOB (Character Large Object)

The CLOB data type is used to store large amounts of character-based data.

It can hold text documents, XML, or any other character-based information. CLOBs are commonly used to store large texts like articles or blog posts.

2. BLOB (Binary Large Object)

The BLOB data type is used to store binary data such as images, audio files, video files, or any other non-textual information. BLOBs are commonly used to store multimedia content.

3. NCLOB (National Character Large Object)

The NCLOB data type is similar to CLOB but supports storing national character set-based data like Unicode characters.

Benefits of Using LOB Data Types

Using LOB data types in your SQL database has several benefits:

  • Efficient Storage: LOB data types are optimized for storing large amounts of information efficiently.
  • Easy Retrieval: You can easily retrieve and manipulate the stored content using SQL queries.
  • Data Integrity: LOBs ensure the integrity of your large objects by providing features like locking and concurrency control.

Working with LOB Data Types

When working with LOB data types, you can use various SQL functions and operators to perform operations like inserting, updating, or retrieving data.

Inserting Data:

To insert data into a LOB column, you can use the INSERT statement along with the appropriate SQL function to load the content. For example:

INSERT INTO my_table (blob_column)
VALUES (LOAD_FILE('/path/to/myfile.jpg'));

Retrieving Data:

To retrieve data from a LOB column, you can use the SELECT statement. For example:

SELECT blob_column
FROM my_table
WHERE id = 1;

Updating Data:

To update data in a LOB column, you can use the UPDATE statement along with the appropriate SQL function. For example:

UPDATE my_table
SET blob_column = LOAD_FILE('/path/to/newfile.jpg')
WHERE id = 1;


The LOB data type in SQL is a powerful tool for storing and manipulating large amounts of data efficiently. Whether it’s text documents, images, audio files, or videos, using LOBs allows you to handle such large objects seamlessly within your SQL database.

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