Difference between DFSORT and SyncSort.
As a mainframe programmer even if one is not in to too much of data manipulation, one will end up using the SORT product available on the shop, once in a while. If you’ve spend enough time at a single shop using a specific SORT product and goes to another shop where another product is in use – it might, some time, bother you if a method does not work at the new shop.
Some, who knows that there different SORT products available for mainframes shop might wonder if am using DFSORT or SyncSort – if so you can look at this other post which explains about if it is DFSORT or SyncSort?
These sort products on mainframe are similar (not same), they all do basic sorting but are still different. They use similar commands. For most basic sort operations, the same commands will work in all the products. When you get into more advanced functions, there are some differences between them — some functions are only offered in one or the other product, and sometimes different syntax is used for the same operations. For example the JOINKEYS in DFSORT and JOINKEYS in SYNCSort have some differences.
DFSORT is a sort product sold by IBM. SYNCSORT is a competing product sold by Syncsort, Inc. CA-SORT is yet another sort product, sold by Computer Associates but we’ll keep that out of discussion for this post. It’s most obvious that most shops only buy one of these products.
ICEMAN is just another name or an entry point, used for the default sort program at your shop. It is a common practice in shops for the system programmers to set up all the common names as entry points to their purchased SORT product. You will often find that PGM=SYNCSORT and PGM=DFSORT will both work in your shop, and both execute the same sort program (whichever one your shop purchased). However I’d prefer not to use fully qualified name of the product like DFSORT or SYNSORT as shown above rather use PGM=SORT. This will invoke the default SORT program at your shop and you can do this without thinking about what SORT product is in use at your shop as coding PGM=SYNCSORT on a DFSORT shop might result in an S806 abend.
ICETOOL is an expansion to DFSORT that allows users to do multiple operations in a single step, as well as perform additional new functions such as SELECT, SPLICE, OCCUR, DISPLAY, COUNT, STATS, VERIFY, etc. ICETOOL is supplied as part of the basic SORT package — if you have DFSORT, you also have ICETOOL. Many people don’t seem to realize this. SYNCTOOL is Syncsort Inc.’s version of the ICETOOL package. It is not yet documented, however, it works well. Though the use of it in the production is very subjective because if you get an abend, well, you are your own.
Per my experience with SyncSort their performance enhancements might include, though are not limited to:
- PARASORT, which provides the ability to read multiple input volumes in parallel
- exploitation of parallel access volume (PAV) technology
- exploitation of the System z Integrated Information Processor (zIIP)
I’m not a spoke person of any of these SORT products, however if the question is which one is good and I’ve to pitch as a sales person – I’ll pitch the product the best I’m working for. But this is not the answer one might be happy with. Actually, the only way to find out for sure which product performs better at your shop is to run a fair benchmark with your own Jobs and data. Each product has “additional factors” for which they be sold but the real question is, “which additional factor will actually be useful in the shop and do you really need it”.