Information from IBM on SVN performance when managing binary files and directories of files Performance tuning Subversion
Performance tuning Subversion
The basic conclusion to be drawn from the article is that
  • Don't store deltas of binary files. It takes too long
  • Compress binaries before storing them
Another technique discussed in the article the archiving of a complete directory structures into a single file. This single file is then placed in Subversion as a configuration item (CI -- the technical term for a file or anything else placed under version control). This technique is very useful (ignoring issues relating to performance) in certain limited version control scenarios. For example: Scenario1: When a tool generates a substantial number of files (e.g. a code generator) it often does not make sense to track changes to individual files because they all be regenerated the next time the tool is used. Scenario2: A package is released as a set of files. After the release build the complete set of file is managed as a single CI. Any change to a small part of the system creates a complete new release.

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