SQL Server Remote BLOB Store and FILESTREAM feature comparison


With the recent refresh of the RBS Feature Pack a brief comparison between RBS and the SQL Server FILESTREAM feature may be useful.


FILESTREAM and RBS are complementary approaches for storage and management of BLOBs and we see them both continuing to evolve.

·         FILESTREAM provides a storage option that allows storage, efficient streaming and integrated management of large BLOBs in a SQL database by utilizing the underlying NTFS file system for BLOB storage/streaming. It offers fully transactional access and compatible operations as varbinary(max).

·         RBS is a set of  standardized APIs that allow storage/retrieval of BLOBs outside of your main SQL database where a dedicated BLOB store is desirable for various reasons. This uses a provider model for plugging in any dedicated BLOB store that implements these RBS APIs.

o   We have also built an out-of-the-box RBS FILESTREAM provider that allows a deployment to use a SQL Database (local or remote) as a dedicated BLOB store. This provider utilizes the FILESTREAM as the BLOB storage mechanism and ties the two technologies together.


Both FILESTREAM and RBS will have continued investment over future releases of SQL Server. These are SQL Server features that application developers should feel comfortable taking dependencies on.

Comments (6)
  1. Florisz says:

    Please clear out the 'Local or remote' comment.

    Because from the following website(also not all too clear) I get the idea that RBS FILESTREAM will only work local!?


  2. The SQL FILESTREAM feature can only use directly attached storage, however the local or remote comment above refers to the ability of the FILESTREAM RBS provider to be located on a server different from the application and RBS installation database.

    From the FAQ you link to:

    Q: I heard there’s a remote feature in RBS FILESTREAM Provider, is that supported by SharePoint 2010?

    This feature allows SQL RBS FILESTREAM Provider to store BLOBs on to a remote SQL Server DB/Instance. SharePoint 2010 will support this remote feature of RBS FILESTREAM Provider.  However the test work will not be finished at the time of SharePoint 2010 RTM. We will announce the supportability of this remote feature later when the test is done.

    Hope this clarifies, please let us know if you have further questions.

  3. Antonio says:

    This really doesn't go into details. "where a dedicated BLOB store is desirable for VARIOUS reasons." Would be great if there was actually feature comparision and reasons why/why-not to use each. Maybe include some example best case scenarios.

  4. Dana says:

    Mike, can you please provide more details on the feature comparison as Antonio has asked in the previous posting.  I agree with him completely and don't find this comparison description helpful at all.  What are the real differences here in functionality, backup/recovery, scenarios where one vs the other should be used?  Thank you.

  5. Dana says:

    Nevermind, I will read the white paper… for others that need more information, you can download the white paper from the bottom of this page –


  6. vpurohit says:

    Hi Dana/Antonio,

    To begin with, RBS gives you a way to store the blobs outside of SQL server to a storage of your choice while Filestream is a DB feature where SQL Server uses underlying NTFS for storing blobs. This access is still thru SQL Server only. The reasons for storing blobs outside SQL Server can be cheaper storage, better performance for SQL Server as it only has to deal with metadata, etc. I'd like to point you to the RBS whitepaper which goes into further details about RBS and the reasons for using it. You can find it at go.microsoft.com/fwlink

    Please send any further specific queries in our direction. I'll be more than happy to help you.


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