Git Large File Storage (Git LFS) now in Bitbucket Cloud

In recent years software teams across all industries have adopted Git thanks to its raw speed, distributed nature and powerful workflows. Additionally, modern software teams are increasingly cross-functional and consist not only of developers but designers, QA engineers, tech writers, and more. In order to be successful these teams need to collaborate not just on raw source code but on rich media and large data.

It’s no secret though that Git doesn’t handle large files very well and quickly bloats your repositories. We are therefore excited to announce that, following Bitbucket Server’s lead earlier this year, Git LFS is now available in beta for Bitbucket Cloud to improve the handling of your large assets. So even if your files are really, really large, Bitbucket Cloud allows your team to efficiently store, version and collaborate on them.

Why should you care about Git LFS?

Git was optimized for source – it’s easily merged and compressed and is relatively small, so it is perfectly feasible to store all history everywhere, but this makes it inefficient and slow when trying to track large binary files. For example, If your designer stores a 100 MB image in your Git repository and modifies it nine times, your repository could bloat to almost 1 GB in size, since binary deltas often compress poorly. Every developer, build agent, and deploy script cloning that repository would then have to download the full 1 GB history of changes, which may lead to drastically longer clone times. Just imagine what would have happened if your designer made 99 changes to that file.

A common solution to this inherent flaw in Git is to track these large files outside of Git, in local storage systems or cloud storage providers, which leads to a whole new set of problems. Separating your large files from your repository will require your team to manually sync and communicate all changes to keep your code working.

With the addition of Git LFS support, you can say goodbye to all these problems track all your files in one place in Bitbucket Cloud. Instead of bloating your Git repository, large files are kept in parallel storage, and only lightweight references are stored making your repositories smaller and faster. The next time your team clones a repository with files stored in Git LFS, only the references and relevant large files that are part of your checked out revision will get downloaded, not the entire change history.