How to Install Instant Client for SQL*Plus
The installation procedures are the simplest I have ever
come across for an Oracle product. Granted, I did have to search for a few
different installation procedures for the Instant Client until I actually got
all of the steps down. This was a bit frustrating but still did not take all
that much time and I was able to find everything through the technet.oracle.com
website. Remember this is only for SQL*Plus and if you want to connect by any
of the different supported connection types you may need a few more steps. In
addition, it is VERY MUCH RECOMMENDED you DO NOT install these files into an
$ORACLE_HOME directory. I would try it but honestly did not want to spend a
couple of hours backing out what I did and re-installing my full-blown Oracle
the Basic and SQL*Plus Instant Client packages. You also might want to go ahead
and download all of the other packages and keep them together as a single
version of this product. Even if you do not have a need for one of the
additional support libraries, they do not take but a minute and could come in
handy if versions become an issue.
Contents of the Basic Package
Contents of the SQL*Plus Package
the packages that you will be using into a newly created directory of your
choice. When I did this, I wanted a truly portable installation and ended up
putting this on my USB Flash Drive. Therefore, my directory was
Contents of My Instant Client Directory
environment variables such that the following are maintained.
This is obviously for finding the executables.
This is only for finding the tnsnames.ora file. You do not have
to have this in the Instant Client directory but if you were on a database box
or one that already has the Oracle Client on it, where else would you put it?
Obviously to find the shared libraries shipped with Instant
If you use a glogin.sql file, you will need to set this to find
methods for SQL*Plus. It does not matter if you install the Instant Client on
the database server or on a true client machine, you will always need to
specify some form of an Oracle Net connection name or identity. Here are some
modifying the tnsnames.ora file that is in the directory pointed to by
TNS_ADMIN you can use the following
you would rather not use the tnsnames.ora naming, you can bypass this by using
a more descriptive connect string.
may also wish to bypass the using of an Oracle Net name by setting the
environment variables TWO_TASK (on unix) or LOCAL (on windows)
When using the Instant Client you may or may not bump up
against the following extra considerations for your particular environment.
Connecting as SYSDBA/SYSOPER
You will need to put a password file on the database server you are connecting to.
||For Instant Client, you do not reference an $ORACLE_HOME and thus there is no setting for NLS_LANG. You may need to set this as an environment variable.
|Uninstalling Instant Client
||Just remove the directory where you un-zipped the executables & libraries. You can also unset/remove the environment variables.
The Instant Client is available on a variety of platforms
such as Linux, Solaris, HP, IBM AIX, and Windows and supports the following
connection types depending on the packages you download.
OCI, OCCI, and JDBC-OCI applications
XA, Internationalization, and RowSet operations under
The installation procedures for each of these packages at
least reads as quick and easy as the SQL*Plus installation done here in this
articles. The procedures basically follow what I have shown for SQL*Plus. Just
be sure to visit and read the release notes for the specific packages, as there
are additional, be it minor, variables or installation procedures to follow.
In a Nutshell
The only way I can conclude this article is simply to state
the benefits to this new method for connecting your applications to an Oracle
reliance on typical Oracle CD installation
loss of features from full-blown client
may package their applications more easily without reliance on customer side
is free, needs to be said twice.
See All Articles by Columnist James Koopmann