What are the best practices for storing PDF documents in the Cascade ?

jperreault's Avatar


11 Aug, 2011 09:29 PM


I have a bit of a dilemma. Currently we have dozens and dozens of PDF files on a secondary website, lets call it http://archive.myschool.edu.

We create a PDF course outline for every course we offer. In our registration system ( not controlled by Cascade ) we link to the PDFs on archive.myschool.edu. Those files are uploaded there by hand using sFTP,

Now we are debating managing these files in the CMS. But I'm a little worried about storing all of these files in the database. Will this bloat the database?

Here's the run down:

These uploads are :

Each term ( 3 times a year )
About 200 files each term ( about 600 per year )
Each file is about 200K ( about 120MB per year )
The files are always PDF
They will never be changed, just uploaded once and kept forever.

Am I crazy? Should I use Cascade to do this? Or should I continue with the more complicated method of uploading files using FTP to a separate webserver?

Thanks for your help.


  1. 1 Posted by Lee Roberson (F... on 12 Aug, 2011 04:22 PM

    Lee Roberson (Function Digital LLC)'s Avatar

    Hi Jeff,

    I'm not sure what the right answer is and I doubt there is just one but I'll let you know what we're doing. 120MB of PDFs per year will definitely add space to the database file, but I don't think it will necessarily hurt performance of Cascade rendering your sites.

    There is a setting for maximum upload size in the Cascade preferences. We set this to about 48MB. We figure this is enough space for people to upload presentations and large PDF documents as needed. The main goal is to allow documents but not allow inappropriate things like large audio or video files. I don't have any statistics to provide on how many files are uploaded and what their sizes generally are on average, but since our IT division and many research and administrative offices are in our install I imagine they have plenty of reports and hefty powerpoints in there.

    Early on when we were running Cascade through some trials, we were prototyping our press release site and I came up with a crazy idea to synchronize assets outside of Cascade with Cascade using symlinks (aka Cascade "External Link"s). I wrote a PHP script to run regularly, analyzing a directory on our Mac OS file server where the news staff were supposed to dump their audio, images, and videos. It would pick up new ones and read their extended filesystem attributes and inject symlink assets into a place in Cascade that held the web-facing URL for these files and also brought in the "comments" from the get info screen of the files (not sure how familiar you are with Mac OS) as keywords. This basically allowed the users to dump files in here and tag them with keywords and then see a sort of pickable mirror-asset in Cascade. But that was a highly templated site where they weren't doing this sort of linking from inside WYSIWYG, they were strictly picking things in a data def chooser e.g. "sidebar image" or "video clip for story".

    Here's something to keep in mind when calculating file storage sizes too. Fortunately for you, you are dealing with files that are published and, for the most part by necessity must remain the same and not edited again. We have issues with files in Cascade because Cascade versions changes to them, so reports that have the same URL but change in content regularly can really eat up disk space. [http://ideas.hannonhill.com/forums/52559-cascade-ideas/suggestions/...]

  2. Tim closed this discussion on 07 Mar, 2012 02:35 AM.

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