Storing Binary Files Efficiently with Subversion

In the course of running a recent performance test, I remembered another big advantage that Subversion has when used for managing large digital assets. Subversion practices deduplication (also known as “rep sharing”) in its back-end storage system.

That can result in considerably large savings in terms of costly storage. Of course, Subversion doesn’t create physical server-side copies of data when branching, but you may find that you save more than 20% of storage capacity thanks to deduplication.  Sometimes users copy files to stand up new projects, particularly game artists who may not be familiar with SCM.

It’s great that Subversion makes this so easy.  And it’s also surprising that Perforce, a system known for handling large binary data, doesn’t provide any deduplication out of the box.  You must (carefully) script it yourself or rely on more expensive storage solutions to provide deduplication.  The savings quickly add up when you use Subversion instead.


Repository Storage

Repository Storage when importing binary files


Subversion deduplication is enabled by default, although you can toggle the setting in your repository’s db/fsfs.conf file.  So relax – you don’t need to do anything to take advantage of this capability.  Of course if you have any questions our team of Subversion experts is here to help!


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