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If we can't update the tnsnames.ora file, is there a way to create a dblink without using the tns_alias? What is the format that adds in the port number, etc.?
Oracle 10g does let you use the "hostname:port/service_name" convention instead of a TNS alias when connecting to a remote database with SQL*Plus. However, a quick test of a database link using this convention results in a ORA-12154 error. You'll have to configure your TNSNAMES.ORA config file with the alias you want to use. Your DBA should be able to help you with this.