What Is Raw Data Type in Oracle?


Larry Thompson

What Is Raw Data Type in Oracle?

In Oracle, the raw data type is used to store binary data. It is a fixed-length data type that can store up to 2000 bytes of binary information. This data type is often used to store raw binary data such as images, audio files, and other types of non-textual data.

Main Features of the Raw Data Type

  • Fixed Length: The raw data type has a fixed length, which means that each value stored in this data type occupies the same amount of space in the database regardless of its actual size.
  • Binary Storage: Unlike other character-based data types like VARCHAR2 or CHAR, the raw data type stores binary information. This makes it suitable for storing non-textual data such as images or audio files.
  • No Character Set: The raw data type does not have any associated character set. It treats the stored information as binary sequences rather than textual characters.

Usage Examples

The raw data type is commonly used in various scenarios where storing binary information is required. Here are a few examples:

Storing Images:

If you are building a web application that allows users to upload and display images, you can use the raw data type to store the image files in your Oracle database. This allows you to easily retrieve and display the images when needed.

Storing Audio Files:

If your application deals with audio files, such as a music streaming service, you can utilize the raw data type to store these files in your database. This enables efficient retrieval and playback of audio content.

Storing Encrypted Data:

The raw data type can also be used to store encrypted information. For example, if you need to store sensitive data like credit card numbers or passwords, you can encrypt the data and store it as raw binary in the database.

Working with Raw Data Type

When working with the raw data type, it is essential to understand how to handle binary data effectively. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

  • Conversion: If you need to convert raw binary data into a different format, such as converting an image stored in the raw format into a displayable image file, you will need to use appropriate conversion techniques or libraries.
  • Data Validation: Since the raw data type does not enforce any constraints on the stored information, it is crucial to validate the data before storing or using it. This ensures that only valid and expected binary content is stored in the database.
  • I/O Operations: When reading or writing raw binary data from or to the database, special care should be taken to handle I/O operations correctly. This includes using proper buffering techniques and handling potential errors or exceptions that may occur during these operations.


The raw data type in Oracle provides a reliable and efficient way to store binary information within your database. Whether you are working with images, audio files, or encrypted data, understanding how to use this data type effectively is crucial for building robust applications. By leveraging its fixed-length and binary storage capabilities, you can efficiently manage non-textual content and ensure smooth retrieval and manipulation of such data.

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