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1.3.1.1 Node Database (NDB) Layer

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The NDB layer consists of a database of nodes, which represents the lower-level storage facilities of the PST file format. From an implementation standpoint, the NDB layer consists of the header, file allocation information, blocks, nodes, and two BTrees: the Node BTree (NBT) and the Block BTree (BBT).

The NBT contains references to all of the accessible nodes in the PST file. Its BTree implementation allows for efficient searches to locate any specific node. Each node reference is represented using a set of four properties that includes its NID, parent NID, data BID, and subnode BID. The data BID points to the block that contains the data associated with the node, and the subnode BID points to the block that contains references to subnodes of this node. Top-level NIDs are unique across the PST and are searchable from the NBT. Subnode NIDs are only unique within a node and are not searchable (or found) from the NBT. The parent NID is an optimization for the higher layers and has no meaning for the NDB Layer.

The BBT contains references to all of the data blocks of the PST file. Its BTree implementation allows for efficient searches to locate any specific block. A block reference is represented using a set of four properties, which includes its BID, IB, CB, and CREF. The IB is the offset within the file where the block is located. The CB is the count of bytes stored within the block. The CREF is the count of references to the data stored within the block.

The roots of the NBT and BBT can be accessed from the header of the PST file.

The following diagram illustrates the high-level relationship between nodes and blocks.

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Figure 2: Relationship between nodes and blocks

The preceding figure illustrates how the data of a node with NID=100 can be accessed. The NBT is searched to find the record with NID=100. Once found, the record contains the BID (200) of the block that contains the node's data. With the BID, the BBT can be searched to locate the block that contains the node's data. As shown in the diagram, it is always necessary to search both the NBT and BBT to locate the data for a top-level node.

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