Instant Client in Oracle 10g

June 29, 2004

Wouldn't it be nice if you didn't have to install the full Oracle client software just to get connectivity to an Oracle instance? Well, it is now reality with Oracle's new Instant Client software offering.

Oracle Instant Client

If we wanted to go the java route and name the typical Oracle Client installation as a "Fat-Client," the Oracle Instant Client would be called the "Thin-Client." Oracle's Instant Client is a small set of software and libraries that allow you to develop and deploy your applications without having to install Oracle's Fat-Client. Taking the name and putting a few definitions around it clarifies everything:


We all know who Oracle is. In this case, it is the software, not the company or the database.


Well, almost instant. With very minor download and setup time, Oracle has given us the ability to connect from a remote machine almost as quick as it takes for you to download this small package.


Typical and true client/server nomenclature here. The client here is used to make a request of the database instance. It does not matter if you are connecting to an Oracle instance on the same box as your client software, within the use of Oracle Instant Client, it is always considered to be a client and not part of the requested database.

The good news here is, even though Oracle has given us a very small footprint in this connection mechanism, we do not lose any of the features associated with the connection mechanism or the underlying database instance. If you compared Oracle's full client release against the new Instant Client you would typically find the following.

Client Comparison

Instant Client Package

File Size

Download Time

Install Space

Installation Time


Basic Package

~ 30M

~ 5 min

~ 80M

~ 5min


SQL*Plus Support

< 1M

< 1 min

< 1M

Oracle Database 10g Client Release


~1.5 hours

~ 460M