Oracle Data Pump and Compression – Also Without a License

Whenever you use Data Pump to export from Oracle Database, you should use compression. It’s conveniently built into Data Pump.


  • The dump file is much smaller:
    • Less disk space is needed.
    • Easier to transfer over the network.
  • Often it is faster to use compression when you measure the entire workflow (export, transfer, and import).
  • Imports are often faster because less data needs to be written from disk.


How Do I Enable Data Pump Compression

You simply set COMPRESSION option:

$ expdp ... compression=all

You use COMPRESSION option only for exports. When you import, Data Pump handles it automatically.

You only need a license for Advanced Compression Option when you use compression during export. You don’t need a license to import a compressed dump file.

Medium Is a Good Compression Algorithm

I recommend you use the medium compression algorithm:

$ expdp ... compression=all compression_algorithm=medium

Our experience and tests show that it best balances between compression ratio and CPU.

Here are the results of a test my team did:

Algorithm File Size (MB) Compression Ratio Elapsed Time
NONE 5.800 1,0 2m 33s
BASIC 705 8,2 3m 03s
LOW 870 6,6 3m 11s
MEDIUM 701 8,2 3m 01s
HIGH 509 11,3 12m 16s

I would recommend high algorithm only if you need to transfer over a really slow network.

But I Don’t Have a License


You can still compress the dump file but not using Data Pump. Use OS utilities. In this case, I recommend splitting the dump file into pieces. It is easier to handle, and you can start transferring the dump files as they are compressed:

$ expdp ... filesize=5G dumpfile=myexp%L.dmp
$ gzip -r /u01/app/oracle/dpdir

Now, you transfer the files, uncompress and import:

[target]$ gunzip -r /u01/app/oracle/dpdir
[target]$ impdp ...


Another option is to use rsync. It has the option to compress the dump file over the network only:

$ expdp ... filesize=5G dumpfile=myexp%L.dmp
$ rsync -z ...


If you have the proper license, use Data Pump compression during export:

$ expdp ... compression=all compression_algorithm=medium

If you don’t have a license, compress the dump file over the wire only:

$ rsync -z ....

Don’t combine Data Pump compression and gzip/rsync! Compressing compressed stuff is not a good idea.