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Oracle export & import into earlier release

Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonJanuary 20, 2015

Question:  I need to export data from 10g and import it into 8i and 9i?  How can I export from a later release and import it into an earlier release of Oracle?

Answer: While there is never a guarantee that an later release expdp dmp file will import into an earlier release of Oracle (this is called ?forward compatibility?, impossible because Oracle can never know about future enhancements) and are indeed cases where you can export from a later release of Oracle and import into an earlier release.  

There are two cases where it is possible to import into an earlier release:

1 - Using the version parameter in Data Pump.  See my notes on importing between different releases of Oracle with Data Pump export/import

2 - Using a exp dump file with a Data Pump impdp utility. 

Using exp with impdp to import into an earlier release

In general, there was a major change between the older export utility (exp) and the data pump export (expdp), and Oracle notes that exports from newer releases cannot be imported into earlier releases:

"The version of the Import utility cannot be earlier than the version of the Export utility used to create the dump file. "

* The Import utility and the database to which data is being imported (the target database) must be the same version.

* The version of the Export utility must be equal to the earliest version of the source or target database.

For example, to create an export file for an import into a later release database, use a version of the Export utility that is equal to the source database. Conversely, to create an export file for an import into an earlier release database, use a version of the Export utility that is equal to the version of the target database.

Original Export and Import do not support all Oracle Database 10g features. . . .

However, you should still use the original Export and Import utilities in the following situations:

* You want to import files that were created using the original Export utility (exp).

* You want to export files that will be imported using the original Import utility (imp). An example of this would be if you wanted to export data from Oracle Database 10g and then import it into an earlier database release. "

An unsupported solution to importing into an older database

It's not supported, but you might be able to use the pre-data pump export program (exp, NOT expdp) and use it to export data. Note that you may need to run the old $ORACLE_HOME/rebms/admin/catexp.sql from 9i on the 10g dictionary.

Then you might be able to import:

1 - copy the executable to the Oracle_home/bin and re-name as exp9i.exe

or possibly:

2 - Invoke the exp utility, pointing it to the 10g database with a database link.

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