Oracle’s DBMS_PIPE package provides a mechanism for inter-process communication (IPC) between sessions in the Oracle database. This can be particularly useful in scenarios where different sessions or users need to exchange messages or data while working within the database environment. The RECEIVE_MESSAGE procedure within the DBMS_PIPE package is a key component of this communication process.


RECEIVE_MESSAGE is a procedure in the DBMS_PIPE package that allows a session to receive a message from a pipe. Pipes are objects in the Oracle database that facilitate message passing between sessions. They work somewhat like a mailbox, where messages can be placed into and read from. Messages in pipes are persistent across transactions, which means they remain in the pipe until explicitly removed, providing a robust mechanism for inter-session communication.


The basic syntax for DBMS_PIPE.RECEIVE_MESSAGE is as follows:

   pipe_name IN VARCHAR2,

pipe_name: This is the name of the pipe from which the message is to be received. The pipe name is case-sensitive and should match exactly with the name used in the SEND_MESSAGE call.

timeout: This is an optional parameter specifying the number of seconds the procedure will wait for a message before timing out. If the timeout is set to 0, the procedure will check for a message and return immediately if none is found. If the timeout is omitted or set to NULL, the procedure will wait indefinitely until a message is received.


The RECEIVE_MESSAGE procedure is typically used in conjunction with the DBMS_PIPE.SEND_MESSAGE procedure. One session uses SEND_MESSAGE to send a message to a pipe, and another session uses RECEIVE_MESSAGE to read that message. Here’s a simple example:

Sending a Message

  v_status NUMBER;
  v_status := DBMS_PIPE.SEND_MESSAGE('my_pipe');
  -- Handle the status

Receiving the Message

  v_status NUMBER;
  v_status := DBMS_PIPE.RECEIVE_MESSAGE('my_pipe', 10); -- Wait for up to 10 seconds
  -- Handle the status and read the message


Security: Since DBMS_PIPE allows for communication between sessions, it’s important to consider the security implications. Ensure that only authorized users have access to specific pipes to prevent unauthorized message passing.

Performance: While DBMS_PIPE provides a convenient IPC mechanism, excessive use, especially with indefinite waits (timeout = NULL), can lead to session hangs or resource contention. Always use timeouts judiciously and monitor system performance.

Message Handling: After receiving a message, the session often needs to unpack the message contents using procedures like DBMS_PIPE.PACK_MESSAGE and DBMS_PIPE.UNPACK_MESSAGE for complex data types.


Oracle’s DBMS_PIPE.RECEIVE_MESSAGE provides a powerful tool for IPC within the Oracle database environment. When used correctly, it enables sophisticated communication patterns between database sessions, facilitating complex workflows and data processing scenarios. However, it’s essential to use it wisely, keeping in mind the implications for security and system performance.