I was reffering directly to the problem you mentioned with ini files - not the whole idea of bulk data stores.
Ini files are nice and I use them a lot - but I dont think you can really expect high performance from them. If you've got a 54MB data file then it really should not be in ini format but in some custom binary format of your own - and then my code is meaning less.
But for small games with limited data requirements there is nothing better than an ini file - its user editable and easy accessible etc. I'd never thought of the Array problem before but when you brought it up I thought it was a great idea to work with and is somethign I will be using reqularly in the future.