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'sdelayer -o load_only_io' does much the same thing as the arcpy.management.RemoveSpatialIndex(). Either would improve the performance when loading objects as you would not have the index to navigate. Load_only_io goes a bit further than the arcpy function however and places a flag on the feature class metadata that will only enable store and replace I/O operations. In other words, while dropping the spatial index alone will not prevent editing within ArcGIS, setting a feature class to load_only_io will. Hope that helps.
I was looking for that extra piece of information. I suspected there was some difference.