The DBMS_LOB.GETLENGTH function is part of Oracle’s Database Management System (DBMS) and specifically a part of the DBMS_LOB package, which provides a set of interfaces for managing Large Objects (LOBs). LOBs in Oracle are used to store large amounts of data, such as text, images, videos, and other multimedia formats. There are different types of LOBs, including BLOBs (Binary Large Objects), CLOBs (Character Large Objects), NCLOBs (National Character Large Objects), and BFILEs (Binary Files).


The DBMS_LOB.GETLENGTH function is used to retrieve the length of a LOB value. The length is returned as a number indicating the number of characters or bytes in the LOB, depending on its type (CLOB/NCLOB or BLOB/BFILE, respectively). The basic syntax is as follows:


lob_loc: This is a LOB locator that points to the LOB whose length you want to retrieve. It can be a BLOB, CLOB, NCLOB, or BFILE.

Return Value

The function returns a number indicating the length of the LOB in characters (for CLOBs and NCLOBs) or bytes (for BLOBs and BFILEs).
If the LOB is empty, the function returns 0.
For BFILEs, the function returns the length of the file in bytes as stored on the operating system file system.

Usage Considerations

To use DBMS_LOB.GETLENGTH, the user needs to have the necessary privileges to access the LOB and the table containing the LOB.
For BFILEs, the file must be accessible from the server, and the Oracle Directory object must be properly configured to point to the correct file location.
When working with LOBs, especially large ones, it’s important to consider the performance implications of loading and manipulating LOB data in your applications.


Here’s a basic example of how to use DBMS_LOB.GETLENGTH to get the length of a CLOB:

  lob_length NUMBER;
  my_clob CLOB;
  -- Assuming MY_CLOB has been initialized and contains data
  lob_length := DBMS_LOB.GETLENGTH(my_clob);
  DBMS_OUTPUT.PUT_LINE('CLOB length: ' || lob_length);

This example demonstrates the straightforward nature of using DBMS_LOB.GETLENGTH to work with LOB data in Oracle. It highlights the utility of the function in managing and processing large data objects within the Oracle database environment.