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Oracle client does what a client does in Client-Server architecture. So just read about it.
A tnsnames.ora file maps net service names to connect descriptors. The net service name thus becomes a (most likely shorter and more readable) alias for the somewhat cumbersome net service name. In the following example, the tex after the equal sign is the connect descriptor while the text before the equal sign (net_service_name) is the net service name.
A client needs a connect descriptor in order to connect to an Oracle instance.
net_service_name= (DESCRIPTION= (ADDRESS=(protocol_address_information)) (CONNECT_DATA= (SERVICE_NAME=service_name))) For example: ORA10 = (DESCRIPTION = (ADDRESS_LIST = (ADDRESS = (PROTOCOL = TCP)(HOST = somehost)(PORT = 1521)) ) (CONNECT_DATA = (SERVICE_NAME=ORA10) ) )