Install Oracle Instant Client / ODAC

Installing the Oracle Instant Client will save you ~600 megabyes compared to the ‘full’ Oracle Client.

Installation steps:

  1. Download Basic Package from the Oracle site
  2. Unzip to directory x (your ORACLE_HOME)
  3. Set PATH (Windows) or LD_LIBRARY_PATH (*nix) to the Instant Client directory x
  4. Move TNSNAMES.ora to directory x/network/admin (or set TNS_ADMIN and ORACLE_HOME).
  5. Extend with SQL*Plus Package (optional)
  6. Start your application

Read my full article here: Whiteblog – Installing the Oracle Instant Client. (links in referred blog might not work!)


OLE DB, .NET and ASP.NET drivers are not included in the instant client (first Oracle link might suggest it is). These are included in the ODAC package, download them separately at these locations:

Instant Client vs Full Client (Administrator and Runtime)

What Are The Different Oracle Client Components Installed With Different Installation Types (too much to sum up):

Client master note

Master Note For Oracle Database Client Installation (Doc ID 1157463.1)

Happy consulting!

Checked for relevance on November 4th, 2019.

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5 Responses to Install Oracle Instant Client / ODAC

  1. Hi Ian,

    Thanks for the simplicity!

    Can you give us an insight in how the instant client is different from the (enormous) ‘real’ version? In other words, when to use it, and when not?



    Douwe Pieter

  2. Ian Hoogeboom says:

    Hello Douwe,

    With the full Oracle Client you will get the Oracle ‘thick’ Client and loads of binaries for administration like the Oracle Universal Installer, import and export tools, tnsping etc. including more data providers like ODBC, OLEDB and all kinds of .Net providers.

    The Oracle ‘thick’ client includes drivers for fancy functionality like connection pooling, reacting to FAN messages when DataGuard or RAC nodes are shutting down etc.

    If you only need ‘simple’ database access for tools like SQL Developer, the Oracle Instant Client is the only thing you need, download, copy, set PATH and GO!


  3. Sounds great Ian,

    so you could probably use it in about 99% of the situations…


    Douwe Pieter

  4. Andre Scheepers says:

    How do you enable IMP and EXP for the Instant Client? if I can do that with the instant client it would be the most awesome oracle client :)

    • Ian Hoogeboom says:

      Unfortunately, imp and exp (personally I would recommend using the impdp and expdp datapump) tools are not available.
      The instant client is only used to connect to the database, like a ‘light’ Oracle client for application servers or utilities like SQL-Developer and Toad.

      It is not intended for Database Administrators to do their job, you need the ‘Administration’ option in the Full Client for that.
      Personally I miss the tnsping utility as well, even RMAN wou be nice to have…

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