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performance increase - move to ear - suggestions

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i'm using wls 8.1. i have a turbine based web application deployed to a web server as an exploded web application. we've had issues deploying as a war, and have put that aside. the web app uses about 20 supporting ejb's to do various work, mostly database stuff, but some tuxedo calls in there as well. the ejbs are deployed to an appserver.
the problem is that performance in key areas of our application just plain sucks. the main call to tuxedo returns a 55k+ xml document to the ejb, then to the web app. the web app then takes this and sends it to another ejb to store in a database (all as string objects).
i see quite a few problems there. first, the second call to the ejb to store the item is probably unneccessarry. why not just store it as soon as you get it back? that's definately something i'm looking into. second, these are all remote calls to two different servers which requires serializing the objects going across. local ejb's to the web app _should_ improve performance, no? from what i gather, the easiest way to use local interfaces in wls, it so deploy all the stuff under the same server as one application (enter the ear). my impression is that wls will pass local references around even though the webapp is using a remote interface. is this interpretation correct?
i'll assume it is, so i start to try to deploy as an ear to see how that will go. when i do, i notice that some of my classes in the WEB-INF/classes
start to throw an exception (cannot find supporting classes that exist in WEB-INF/lib folder). so, i contact weblogic support. their recommendation to me is to basically put all my libs into an APP-INF/lib folder. this seems to me like just putting all my libs onto my system classpath when starting the app server. i'm still working through this, but would welcome any comments and or suggestions from the gallery.
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