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Don Burleson Blog 







Oracle Export Import Tips

Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonJune 21, 2015

Question:  I am attempting and export/import of an Oracle database using Oracle's exp/imp functionality.  Do you have any tips for using the export and import commands with the Oracle database?  I thought I had done a good export, but I am having trouble accessing it.

Answer:  Oracle Export and Import using exp and imp are powerful tools.  Oracle now refers to these as their "original" Export and Import utilities.  Starting with Oracle 10g, the Export and Import utilities are part of the Data Pump utilities and are their  preferred method of Export and Import.

For previous Oracle versions and in certain circumstances for Oracle 10g and beyond, it is still desirable to use the original exp and imp commands to transfer data objects between databases.  The following special circumstances warrant the use of the original exp and imp utilities even with Oracle 10g and higher:

  • Importing from files originally created with the exp Export utility.
  • Exporting files to be imported using the original imp Import utility.  

The second case is particularly useful if the goal is to export data from an Oracle 10g or higher database to be imported into an older version of Oracle.

Using the exp command against an Oracle database extracts tables followed by any related objects such as indexes, comments or grants, if any exist.  The data is written to an export dump file which can be transferred to another virtual or physical location.

Once the file is transferred to the appropriate location, the imp Import utility can then be used to read the object definitions and table data from the dump file created by the exp Export utility.  This allows data to be transferred between databases that are remote from each other or are not connected via a network.  The files can also be used as backups as an auxiliary to standard backup procedures.

It is important to note that the export dump files can only be read by the import utility, and the version of the export utility used to create the dump file cannot be newer than the import utility to be used to read the file.

There are some things you need to do before you get started on your Oracle Export and Import.  Failure to accomplish these tasks may cause your Oracle Export and Import to fail:

  • Verify that there is sufficient disk or tape storage to write the export file.  If the export runs out of space, it will terminate with an error on write failure.
  • Verify that you have adequate access privileges to perform the export.  Generally, database administrators have sufficient privileges to accomplish a full export.  Users without sufficient privileges are not allowed to export tables owned by another user.

imp does not require that the same user perform the import; however, it is important that the user have at least the same role or greater privileges granted as the user who performed the export.  Again, database administrators generally have sufficient privileges to execute imports.

If you are having problems accessing the export, it could be an issue with privileges.

The following sources of information may be useful to you:

  • For more information on Oracle Export and Import as well as other Oracle Utilities, also check out the Advanced Oracle Utilities book by Scalzo, Burleson and Callan.
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