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As of October 4, 2019, CockroachDB v2.0 is no longer supported. For more details, refer to the Release Support Policy.

The BYTES data type stores binary strings of variable length.


In CockroachDB, the following are aliases for BYTES:

  • BLOB


To express a byte array constant, see the section on byte array literals for more details. For example, the following three are equivalent literals for the same byte array: b'abc', b'\141\142\143', b'\x61\x62\x63'.

In addition to this syntax, CockroachDB also supports using string literals, including the syntax '...', e'...' and x'....' in contexts where a byte array is otherwise expected.


The size of a BYTES value is variable, but it's recommended to keep values under 1 MB to ensure performance. Above that threshold, write amplification and other considerations may cause significant performance degradation.



> -- explicitly typed BYTES literals
> INSERT INTO bytes VALUES (1, b'\141\142\143'), (2, b'\x61\x62\x63'), (3, b'\141\x62\c');

> -- string literal implicitly typed as BYTES
> INSERT INTO bytes VALUES (4, 'abc');

> SELECT * FROM bytes;
| a |  b  |
| 1 | abc |
| 2 | abc |
| 3 | abc |
| 4 | abc |
(4 rows)

Supported Conversions

BYTES values can be cast explicitly to STRING. The output of the conversion starts with the two characters \, x and the rest of the string is composed by the hexadecimal encoding of each byte in the input. For example, x'48AA'::STRING produces '\x48AA'.

STRING values can be cast explicitly to BYTES. This conversion will fail if the hexadecimal digits are not valid, or if there is an odd number of them. Two conversion modes are supported:

  • If the string starts with the two special characters \ and x (e.g., \xAABB), the rest of the string is interpreted as a sequence of hexadecimal digits. The string is then converted to a byte array where each pair of hexadecimal digits is converted to one byte.

  • Otherwise, the string is converted to a byte array that contains its UTF-8 encoding.

See Also

Data Types

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