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Why does ArcSDE direct connect generate more network packets then a connection to an ArcSDE application server?
The Oracle OCIAttrGet function call on OCI_ATTR_REF_TDO is doing a network round-trip.
Oracle TAR 1360634.996 has been submitted to Oracle, and Oracle has updated the OCI documentation.
ESRI will remove this function call from the gsrvr functionality, which will result in a significant reduction of network calls and a marked improvement in ArcSDE direct connect performance with Oracle Server.
This problem is addressed in ArcGIS 8.1 Service Pack 1. See the Related Information section to download ArcGIS Service Pack 1.