A few weeks ago I posted an article on how to import and export unstructured data in SQL Server by using the “image” data type.
In this article I will show how you can manipulate unstructured data in SQL Server 2008 or later by using the FILESTREAM feature. FILESTREAM allows storing unstructured data (i.e. music, video, documents, etc.) onto the NTFS file system and manipulating it via the Database Engine.
Step 1: Enabling FILESTREAM in SQL Server
Before using the FILESTREAM feature you have to enable it. To this end you need to navigate to SQL Server Configuration Manager and under SQL Server Services right click on the SQL Server instance, select properties and in the “FileStream” tab check “Enable FILESTREAM for Transact-SQL access” and “Enable FILESTREAM for file I/O access”:
The last step for enabling FILESTREAM is from within SSMS, to open a new query window and execute the following T-SQL statement and then restart the SQL Server instance:
EXEC sp_configure filestream_access_level, 2; GO RECONFIGURE GO
Note: the available filestream access levels are:
- 0: Disables FILESTREAM support for this instance.
- 1: Enables FILESTREAM for Transact-SQL access.
- 2: Enables FILESTREAM for Transact-SQL and Win32 streaming access.
Step 2: Creating a FILESTREAM-Enabled Database
For creating a FILESTREAM-enabled database you just need to include a FILESTREAM filegroup. For example:
CREATE DATABASE FileStreamDB ON PRIMARY ( NAME = FileStreamDBData, FILENAME = 'C:\BlogSQLDatafilestreamDB_data.mdf'), FILEGROUP FileStreamGroup_1 CONTAINS FILESTREAM( NAME = FileStreamDBFS, FILENAME = 'C:\BlogSQLDatafilestream1') LOG ON ( NAME = FileStreamDBLogs, FILENAME = 'C:\BlogSQLDatafilestreamDB_log.ldf'); GO
Step 3: Creating a Table for Storing FileStream Data
USE [FileStreamDB]; GO CREATE TABLE dbo.Files ( [Id] [uniqueidentifier] ROWGUIDCOL NOT NULL UNIQUE, [FileName] VARCHAR(100), [ActualFile] VARBINARY(MAX) FILESTREAM NULL ); GO
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Step 4: Storing FileStream Data
Now, let’s store the file in our FILESTREAM-enabled database and table that was created earlier:
USE [FileStreamDB]; GO INSERT INTO dbo.Files VALUES (newid (), 'SampleImage.png', (SELECT * FROM OPENROWSET(BULK 'C:\Testing2SampleImage.png',SINGLE_BLOB) AS x) ) GO
What we just did with the above example, shows a small glimpse of the real power of FILESTREAM, that is leveraging the performance and rich APIs of the Windows file system and at the same time maintaining consistency between structured and unstructured data in SQL Server.
FILESTREAM actually works like a bridge between structured and unstructured data via a combination of transactional data and file system access and can be extremely useful in cases where you have many binary objects like images and videos and you want to store it in SQL Server and being able to access it with the speed of the file system.
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Reference: SQLNetHub (https://www.sqlnethub.com)
Artemakis Artemiou is a Senior Database and Software Architect, Certified Database, Cloud and AI professional, Author, a 9 Times Microsoft Data Platform MVP (2009-2018). He has over 20 years of experience in the IT industry in various roles. Artemakis is the founder of SQLNetHub. Artemakis is the creator of the well-known software tools Snippets Generator and DBA Security Advisor. Also, he is the author of many eBooks on SQL Server. Moreover, Artemakis teaches on Udemy, you can check his courses here.