Binary Data Transfer Protocol


What Does Binary Data Mean?

Binary data is a type of data that is represented or displayed in the binary numeral system. Binary data is the only category of data that can be directly understood and executed by a computer. It is numerically represented by a combination of zeros and ones.

Binary data is data whose unit can take on only two possible states, traditionally labeled as 0 and 1 in accordance with the binary numeral system and Boolean algebra

Binary Data Types

Store raw-byte data, such as IP addresses, up to 65000 bytes. Data types BINARY and BINARY VARYING (VARBINARY) are collectively referred to as binary string types and the values of binary string types are referred to as binary strings. A binary string is a sequence of octets or bytes.




length max‑lengthSpecifies the length of the string or column width, in bytes (octets).


BINARY and VARBINARY data types have the following attributes:

  • BINARY: A fixed-width string of length bytes, where the number of bytes is declared as an optional specifier to the type. If length is omitted, the default is 1. Where necessary, values are right-extended to the full width of the column with the zero byte. For example:=> SELECT TO_HEX(‘ab’::BINARY(4)); to_hex ———- 61620000
  • VARBINARY: A variable-width string up to a length of max-length bytes, where the maximum number of bytes is declared as an optional specifier to the type. The default is the default attribute size, which is 80, and the maximum length is 65000 bytes. VARBINARY values are not extended to the full width of the column. For example:=> SELECT TO_HEX(‘ab’::VARBINARY(4)); to_hex ——– 6162

Input Formats

You can use several formats when working with binary values. The hexadecimal format is generally the most straightforward and is emphasized in Vertica documentation.

Binary values can also be represented in octal format by prefixing the value with a backslash '\'.

If you use vsql, you must use the escape character (\) when you insert another backslash on input; for example, input '\141' as '\\141'.

You can also input values represented by printable characters. For example, the hexadecimal value '0x61' can also be represented by the symbol '.

On input, strings are translated from:

  • Hexadecimal representation to a binary value using the function HEX TO BINARY.
  • Bitstringe representation to a binary value using the function BITSTRING TO BINARY.

Both functions take a VARCHAR argument and return a VARBINARY value.

Output Formats

Like the input format, the output format is a hybrid of octal codes and printable ASCII characters. A byte in the range of printable ASCII characters (the range [0x20, 0x7e]) is represented by the corresponding ASCII character, with the exception of the backslash ('\'), which is escaped as '\\'. All other byte values are represented by their corresponding octal values. For example, the bytes {97,92,98,99}, which in ASCII are {a,\,b,c}, are translated to text as 'a\\bc'.

Binary Operators and Functions

Binary operators &, ~, | and # have special behavior for binary data types, as described in Bitwise operators

The following aggregate functions are supported for binary data types:

  • BIT OR
  • MAX
  • MIN

BIT_ANDBIT_OR, and BIT_XOR are bit-wise operations that are applied to each non-null value in a group, while MAX and MIN are byte-wise comparisons of binary values.


What is binary data transfer?

Transferring a pure binary file, such as an executable program, image or video, to a remote location. Binary file transfers maintain the integrity of all eight bits in each byte, and the file winds up at the receiving end bit for bit the same as it started. See binary file and BFT. Not So With ASCII Text.

binary protocol is a communication protocol which utilizes all values of a byte, as opposed to text-based protocol which only uses values corresponding to human-readable characters in ASCII encoding. Binary protocols are intended to be read by a machine rather than a human being.


One of the advantages of binary files is that they are more efficient. In terms of memory, storing values using numeric formats such as IEEE 754, rather than as text characters, tends to use less memory. In addition, binary formats also offer advantages in terms of speed of access.

Using FTP allows you to transfer multiple directories at one time. If you regularly transfer files, you know how advantageous this feature can be. Instead of sending single files or even single directories at a time, you can send numerous directories all at once.

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