Oracle’s DBMS_PIPE package is a powerful utility for inter-process communication (IPC) within Oracle databases. It enables different sessions to communicate with each other by sending and receiving messages through a virtual pipe. This can be particularly useful for coordinating actions between sessions or for sharing data in a secure and controlled manner.

The PACK_MESSAGE procedure within the DBMS_PIPE package is one of the key components for this communication process. It’s used to prepare a message to be sent through a pipe by packaging the data into a format that can be transmitted. Here’s a brief overview of how PACK_MESSAGE works and its significance in the Oracle database environment.


DBMS_PIPE.PACK_MESSAGE takes data as input and converts it into a message that can be sent through a pipe to another session. The data can be of various types, such as numbers, strings, or even more complex objects. This procedure serializes the input data into a format that the receiving process can understand and deserialize using the DBMS_PIPE.UNPACK_MESSAGE procedure.


The syntax for DBMS_PIPE.PACK_MESSAGE is relatively straightforward:


This is a simplified representation. In reality, PACK_MESSAGE can handle various data types, not just VARCHAR2.

Key Points

Versatility: PACK_MESSAGE supports various data types, making it versatile for different communication needs.
Security: Since communication happens within the database, it’s more secure than external communication mechanisms. Oracle ensures that the data transmitted through pipes is accessible only to the intended sessions.
Synchronization: PACK_MESSAGE can be used in conjunction with DBMS_PIPE.SEND_MESSAGE and DBMS_PIPE.RECEIVE_MESSAGE to create a synchronized communication flow between sessions, facilitating complex interactions and coordination.

Use Cases

Session Coordination: Coordinating actions between sessions, such as triggering an event in one session based on an action taken in another.
Data Sharing: Securely sharing data between sessions without exposing it to external systems or users.
Asynchronous Processing: Sending requests to another session for processing, allowing for asynchronous operation and improving overall efficiency.


Here’s a basic example of how DBMS_PIPE.PACK_MESSAGE might be used in a procedure to send a simple message:

  DBMS_PIPE.PACK_MESSAGE('Hello, World!');

In this example, PACK_MESSAGE prepares the message ‘Hello, World!’ to be sent through a pipe named ‘my_pipe_name’. Another session could then use DBMS_PIPE.RECEIVE_MESSAGE to listen for messages on ‘my_pipe_name’ and DBMS_PIPE.UNPACK_MESSAGE to read the transmitted message.


DBMS_PIPE.PACK_MESSAGE is a crucial part of Oracle’s inter-process communication capabilities, enabling secure, efficient, and versatile communication within the database. Its ability to handle various data types and integrate seamlessly with other DBMS_PIPE procedures makes it an invaluable tool for database administrators and developers looking to leverage IPC for advanced database functionalities.