Instant Client in Oracle 10g

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

Database 10g Client Release


~1.5 hours

~ 460M


James Koopmann
James Koopmann
James Koopmann has fourteen years of database design, development and performance tuning experience. In addition, he has extensive database administration experience in Oracle and other relational databases in production environments, specializing in performance tuning of database engines and SQL based applications. Koopmann is an accomplished author with several technical papers in various Oracle related publications such as Oracle Magazine, Oracle Professional and SQL>UPDATE_RMOUG. He is a featured author and database expert for DatabaseJournal, a member of the editorial review committee for Select Journal (The Magazine for the International Oracle Users Group), an Oracle Certified Professional DBA and noted speaker at local Oracle User Groups around the country.

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