Massively improved handling of large files & media

Plone 4 now stores all file and image data on the file system rather than in one big database file. This improves performance and reduces resource consumption without giving up storing multiple revisions of the same file or fine-grained access control. We also support versioning of assets, so you can revert to an earlier version of any uploaded file.

Support for large binary files (like audio, video, PDF documents) and downloadable files has been rewritten from the ground up with focus on performance, reduced memory consumption, and convenience.

The result is a massive improvement in how Plone handles large files. The files are still handled by the same proven database technology and thus still have the powerful, fine-grained access control you count on Plone to provide.  But now, Plone 4 handles large files without breaking a sweat.

Real-world numbers

But enough talk, how does this actually affect your site in real life? Let's take a look at a recent, real-world example from a large Plone site:

Potsdam Institute For Climate Impact Research had a 16.5 GB database containing documents and other media:

  • Upgrading the entire site to the new, filesystem-based storage: 51 minutes.
  • Plone database size: reduced from 16.5 GB to 3.0 GB.
  • Memory footprint on the heavily cached server:  reduced from 10 GB to 3 GB.
  • Load on the site while in heavy use: reduced to 10-20% of the previous CPU usage, with no intermittent massive spikes, as had been the case with Plone 3.
  • File transfers were faster, with no discernable increase in memory usage while large documents were being downloaded.

Plone 4's new large files implementation has been field tested on large production installations during the beta process, and we're confident you'll find that Plone 4 delivers massive performance and resource usage improvements on sites with multi-gigabyte data stores.