DevonThink Databases. Size? Performance?

Just how big can the database be?

I have 357 GB of data in iCloud. Can I just create a cloud kit database and move all those files in there?

If I do have to break that up amongst my 6 areas of focus can each be about 60 GB?

Does AI work across databases, I assume they would have to be open for it to work.

If I split them up could I have them all open at the same time.

Concerns about initial database creation and fears about going down the wrong path and then have to redo has really kept me from moving forward.

That’s a lot of data.

Can I ask what kind of data it is? Are these all videos? If so, it changes things a little in my experience.

Also note that this kind of thing has been discussed extensively on DEVONthink’s own forum:


Agreed; this is the post on the DT forum I’ve referenced a few times: Too Large for DTTG? - #4 by anon6914418 - DEVONthink To Go - DEVONtechnologies Community

Size in gigabytes isn’t the critical number. If you check out File > Database Properties > … for a given database, the number of words / unique words are more critical. On a modern machine with 8GB RAM, a comfortable top limit is 200,000,000 words and 4,000,000 unique words in a database. (Note: This does not scale in a linear way, so a machine with 16GB wouldn’t necessarily have a comfortable limit of 400,000,000 words / 8,000,000 unique words.) So text content in a database is far more important.

  • If you have a database of images, it will have very few words but be large in gigabytes.
  • If you have a database of emails, it will have many words, but may be smaller in gigabytes.
    The second one may perform more poorly as the number of words increases beyond the comfortable limit.

Also, for best performance we suggest a maximum of 250,000 items per database.

Those limits roughly jive with my experience.


Highly second Ryan’s suggestion of going to the DT Forums. They can be quite helpful


Thanks for linking that info.
et al: These aren’t hard numbers; they are a comfortable average based on experience and reports, etc. We surely have people with larger databases, though often much of it is media content. And we have people with very small databases but with a ton of text content. The larger one could potentially outperform the smaller if the index of the smaller one is very large.