Bulk Insert - Bulk Copy or BCP (Difference and Comparison) in SQL Server 2005

Thursday, March 19, 2009 |

Now I wrote quite a few articles on BULK COPY and BULK INSERT commands so I thought to give one separate article for differences between BULK INSERT and BULK COPY (BCP).

Let me start with its type. BULK INSERT is a SQL command and BCP is a separate utility outside SSMS and you need to run BCP from DOS prompt (command prompt).

BULK INSERT can copy data from flat file to SQL Server’s table whereas BCP is for import and export both. You can copy data from flat file to SQL Server and from SQL Server to Flat file with the help of BCP.

You can use INOUTQUERYOUT argument with BCP to import, export and conditional import and export which in not possible in BULK INSERT.

In BULK INSERT there is no support for down level version input whereas it is possible in BCP.

BCP has less parsing efforts and cost than BULK INSERT.

Apart from above differences, both are almost same and give almost same performance moreover, both are single threaded, no parallel operation allowed.

Reference: Ritesh Shah