6.10.1 Preparing the MySQL Server

The first step is using MySQL with BLOB data is to configure the server. Let's start by creating a table to be accessed. In my file tables, I usually have four columns: an AUTO_INCREMENT column of appropriate size (UNSIGNED SMALLINT) to serve as a primary key to identify the file, a VARCHAR column that stores the file name, an UNSIGNED MEDIUMINT column that stores the size of the file, and a MEDIUMBLOB column that stores the file itself. For this example, I will use the following table definition:

CREATE TABLE file(
file_id SMALLINT UNSIGNED AUTO_INCREMENT NOT NULL PRIMARY KEY,
file_name VARCHAR(64) NOT NULL,
file_size MEDIUMINT UNSIGNED NOT NULL,
file MEDIUMBLOB NOT NULL);

After creating a table, you might need to modify the max_allowed_packet system variable. This variable determines how large of a packet (that is, a single row) can be sent to the MySQL server. By default, the server only accepts a maximum size of 1MB from the client application. If you intend to exceed 1MB in your file transfers, increase this number.

The max_allowed_packet option can be modified using the MySQL Workbench Server Administration screen. Adjust the Maximum permitted option in the Data / Memory size section of the Networking tab to an appropriate setting. After adjusting the value, click the Apply button and restart the server using the Startup / Shutdown screen of MySQL Workbench. You can also adjust this value directly in the my.cnf file (add a line that reads max_allowed_packet=xxM), or use the SET max_allowed_packet=xxM; syntax from within MySQL.

Try to be conservative when setting max_allowed_packet, as transfers of BLOB data can take some time to complete. Try to set a value that will be adequate for your intended use and increase the value if necessary.