Oracle’s DBMS_PIPE package provides a mechanism for interprocess communication (IPC) between sessions in the Oracle database environment. This is particularly useful in scenarios where you need different sessions to communicate or share data without using a more traditional approach like writing to and reading from a database table.

The SEND_MESSAGE procedure within the DBMS_PIPE package is a key component for sending messages through a named pipe. A named pipe acts as a conduit for transferring data between sessions. This can be used for a variety of purposes, such as triggering actions in another session, sharing small pieces of data, or coordinating processes.

Here is a brief overview of how DBMS_PIPE.SEND_MESSAGE works and how it can be used:


The basic syntax of the SEND_MESSAGE procedure is as follows:

   pipe_name IN VARCHAR2,
   timeout IN NUMBER DEFAULT 0);

pipe_name: This is the name of the pipe through which the message will be sent. If the pipe does not exist, it will be created automatically.
timeout: This parameter specifies the time (in seconds) the procedure will wait for the pipe to become available for sending a message. A value of 0 indicates that it will not wait.


Before you can send a message, you typically need to pack the message using the DBMS_PIPE.PACK_MESSAGE procedure provided by the same package. Once the message is packed, you can use SEND_MESSAGE to send it through the specified pipe.

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

In this example, a message containing the string “Hello, World!” is packed and then sent through a pipe named ‘my_pipe’.


Security: Since DBMS_PIPE allows interprocess communication, it’s important to consider the security implications. Ensure that only authorized users have access to use this package and the pipes.

Performance: While DBMS_PIPE is efficient for small messages or infrequent communication, it might not be the best choice for high-volume data transfers or real-time communication needs.

Session Blocking: The timeout parameter should be used carefully to prevent a session from being blocked indefinitely, waiting for a pipe to become available.

Use Cases

Event Notification: Notify another session about an event, such as the completion of a task.
Request Processing: Send a request to another session for processing and wait for the result through another pipe.
Coordination: Coordinate actions between different sessions, such as ensuring that a specific task is completed before another begins.

In conclusion, DBMS_PIPE.SEND_MESSAGE is a powerful tool for interprocess communication within Oracle databases, enabling sessions to communicate efficiently. However, it’s essential to use it judiciously and consider alternative approaches for more complex or data-intensive communication needs.