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February 12, 1989

DFSORT VERSION 11: “STOP HYPING HIPERSPACE” SAYS IBM’s SORTING ARCH-RIVAL SYNCSORT

By CBR Staff Writer

For hiperspace, read hyperspace, says longtime IBM DFSort rival, Syncsort Inc. At the last count, International Data Corp reckoned that Syncsort’s data sort program held 72% of the market – up some 2 percentage points from three years ago – compared to DFSorts’ low twenties. Shedding a little objectivity on IBM claims for DFSort Release 11 (CI No 1,111), the Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey-based company says that, performance-wise, hiperspace is the least impressive part of the announcement. According to a company spokesman, the performance enhancements outlined with Release 11 stem primarily from unrelated sources. The first, he concedes, is improved algorithms. The second, however, is the adoption of technology that Syncsort has offered for the last 10 years, specifically an EXCP-VR Execute Channel Program/Virtual to Real facility. Essentially, EXCP-VR improves efficiency by allowing the application, rather than the operating system, to do its own virtual-to-real address translation. Ironically, the facility was developed by IBM, and has been available, disguised as Virtual I/O Operation or VIO/MVS, since the operating system’s earliest days. Applicable only to input-output-intensive products, its use under MVS has been minimal. And although now the subject of a striking U-turn, VIO has traditionally been rubbished in IBM publications as a facility devoid of performance benefits. And what of hiperspace? Firstly, hiperspace requires the back-up of considerable pricey Expanded Storage, before notable performance benefits are achieved. Add this to IBM’s sudden decision to drop prices on its expanded storage, and the hiperspace furore begins to take on the guise of a straightforward marketing ploy. And those still unconvinced should remember that hiperspace is only available under ESA, points out Syncsort – in other words much of the benefit available in DFSort 11 will be available only to users who are already on ESA. With a mere handful of sites under the ESA banner, IBM will undoubtedly be pushing any potential migration incentive as hard as it can, Syncsort reckons. For its part, Syncsort plans to announce Version 3.3 of its own data sorting program in the next couple of weeks. This, it confidently predicts, will exploit both hiperspace, a more generic variant, dataspace, and – naturally – EXCP-VR, to outperform DFSort Release 11, hiperspace, hipersorting, ESA, and all.

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