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If you want to avoid having to customize tnsnames.ora files on every client and use a centralized approach instead,
you should use "directory naming".
While using a tnsnames.ora file on a CIFS share is not something I would do for a production system,
it should work. What problems do you encounter?
While in ODBC Data Source Administrator. When I attempt to create a new System DSN using the Oracle in instantclient_11_2 driver. The test connection fails with the following error: Unaable to connect SQLState=08004 [Oracle][ODBC][Ora]ORA-12154: TNS:could not resolve the connect identifier specified.
Are you sure that the process has the correct TNS_ADMIN in its environment?
Can you verify that you get the same error connecting with "sqlplus"?
If all fails, run an Oracle Net trace for the connection attempt. That will surely tell you what the problem is.