First of all, I know squat about Oracle databases.

A vendor who is looking at converting our data from an older piece of software with an Oracle DB back-end wants a dump of our database to see what they need to do to bring that data over to our new software which is MS SQL Server based. I know in MS SQL Server, I right-click on the database and say backup, and I can create a backup of the database to a file and FTP that backup to the vendor. How would I do the equivalent in Oracle?

It appears like we might have version 10g of Oracle.

2 Answers 2


The vendor might want an actual physical backup of your database-- if they do, Leigh's answer is spot on. My guess, however, is that the vendor probably doesn't want a physical backup since that would require that they have an Oracle install on their side on the same operating system with the exact same version of Oracle that you're using. For conversion efforts, it is generally much more effective to get a logical backup of the database using the export utility (classic or DataPump). A logical backup can be imported into an existing database and it doesn't require that they have exactly the same version of Oracle. If all the vendor is going to be doing is extracting the data and loading it into a new database, they aren't going to benefit from having a physical backup over a logical backup.

From the command line on the database server, it's pretty easy to generate a full database export. The command

c:/> exp system/<<password>> full=y file=dumpfile.dmp

creates a single file "dumpfile.dmp" in the current directory that can be sent to the vendor. It would be more efficient to use the DataPump version of the export utility but that requires a bit more work because that requires that you use at least one Oracle directory object. If this is a reasonably small database and/or the time required to generate the export isn't prohibitive, it's probably easier to use the classic export utility.

  • Good answer, and indeed might be more suitable. Jan 9, 2012 at 22:52
  • Both are good options. I'll ask the vendor which they want and go from there.
    – Mike Wills
    Jan 10, 2012 at 3:27
  • This seems to be what the vendor wants in this case. Thanks to both of you for the help!
    – Mike Wills
    Jan 12, 2012 at 17:13

In the Two Day DBA Guide see see the section called "Performing a Whole Database Backup". It explains how to use Database Control to do a full backup. If you have 11g see this version. Assuming Database Control is working this would probably be the easiest for someone who knows nothing about Oracle.

On the other hand, the database may already have regular backups done on it in which case you can just send one of those. If it doesn't or the information about them hasn't been retained, then it would seem that the data would not be important enough to convert.

  • The only reason it is running is to look-up history until it is converted. I'll take a look at the links you provided.
    – Mike Wills
    Jan 9, 2012 at 22:16

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