(too old to reply)
Syncsort vs competitors
Lupher, Fred
2009-01-30 18:29:30 UTC
We are a long time Syncsort customer. Our contract with them will be up for renewal soon, so this is a good time to consider the competitors. Does anyone have experience migrating away from Syncsort you'd care to share? Or if you looked into switching but decided not to, I'd be interested in knowing what stopped you?



Thanks



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Ted MacNEIL
2009-01-30 18:37:28 UTC
>Or if you looked into switching but decided not to, I'd be interested in knowing what stopped you?


We looked at DFSort, and we were stopped by cost.
At the time, there was no other competitors, and the difference was $50,000 (CDN) a year.


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Richards, Robert B.
2009-01-30 18:38:22 UTC
Fred,

Real competitors? There is really only one: IBM's DFSORT

And switching between the two is mostly painless. I'd be more specific,
but my experience is dated (in other words, over 10 years old <grin>)

Bob

-----Original Message-----
From: IBM Mainframe Discussion List [mailto:IBM-***@bama.ua.edu] On
Behalf Of Lupher, Fred
Sent: Friday, January 30, 2009 1:18 PM
To: IBM-***@bama.ua.edu
Subject: Syncsort vs competitors

We are a long time Syncsort customer. Our contract with them will be up
for renewal soon, so this is a good time to consider the competitors.
Does anyone have experience migrating away from Syncsort you'd care to
share? Or if you looked into switching but decided not to, I'd be
interested in knowing what stopped you?

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Edward Jaffe
2009-01-30 18:42:14 UTC
Lupher, Fred wrote:
> We are a long time Syncsort customer. Our contract with them will be up for renewal soon, so this is a good time to consider the competitors. Does anyone have experience migrating away from Syncsort you'd care to share? Or if you looked into switching but decided not to, I'd be interested in knowing what stopped you?
>

It used to be the case that SORT consumed more CPU cycles than any other
application in the average shop. I wonder if that's still a true
statement. I read here
(http://www.syncsort.com/newsdocs/press/sspress8.htm) that SyncSort now
runs on zIIP engines. Is that also true of their competitors?

--
Edward E Jaffe
Phoenix Software International, Inc
5200 W Century Blvd, Suite 800
Los Angeles, CA 90045
310-338-0400 x318
***@phoenixsoftware.com
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Schumacher, Otto
2009-01-30 19:48:08 UTC
The SYNCSORT and DFSORT products are highly compatible. These products
do not acquire temp storage the same. Nor are the controls cards coded
the same. Both product work well but expect critical job abends and
syntax errors after the conversion.

Regards
Otto Schumacher
Technical Support, CICS

EDS, an HP Company
Ahold Account
2000 Wade Hampton Blvd.
LC1-302
Greenville, South Carolina, 29615

Tel: 864 987-1417
Fax: 864 987-4500
E-mail: ***@eds.com

We deliver on our commitments
so you can deliver on yours.


-----Original Message-----
From: IBM Mainframe Discussion List [mailto:IBM-***@bama.ua.edu] On
Behalf Of Edward Jaffe
Sent: Friday, January 30, 2009 1:41 PM
To: IBM-***@bama.ua.edu
Subject: Re: Syncsort vs competitors

Lupher, Fred wrote:
> We are a long time Syncsort customer. Our contract with them will be
up for renewal soon, so this is a good time to consider the competitors.
Does anyone have experience migrating away from Syncsort you'd care to
share? Or if you looked into switching but decided not to, I'd be
interested in knowing what stopped you?
>

It used to be the case that SORT consumed more CPU cycles than any other

application in the average shop. I wonder if that's still a true
statement. I read here
(http://www.syncsort.com/newsdocs/press/sspress8.htm) that SyncSort now
runs on zIIP engines. Is that also true of their competitors?

--
Edward E Jaffe
Phoenix Software International, Inc
5200 W Century Blvd, Suite 800
Los Angeles, CA 90045
310-338-0400 x318
***@phoenixsoftware.com
http://www.phoenixsoftware.com/

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Scott Rowe
2009-01-30 20:26:21 UTC
Funny, last time I looked into this, DFSORT was vastly cheaper than Syncsort.

>>> Ted MacNEIL <***@YAHOO.CA> 1/30/2009 1:36 PM >>>
>Or if you looked into switching but decided not to, I'd be interested in knowing what stopped you?


We looked at DFSort, and we were stopped by cost.
At the time, there was no other competitors, and the difference was $50,000 (CDN) a year.


-
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Mark Zelden
2009-01-30 20:30:21 UTC
On Fri, 30 Jan 2009 12:18:25 -0600, Lupher, Fred <***@NEBRASKA.GOV>
wrote:

>We are a long time Syncsort customer. Our contract with them will be up
for renewal soon, so this is a good time to consider the competitors. Does
anyone have experience migrating away from Syncsort you'd care to share? Or
if you looked into switching but decided not to, I'd be interested in
knowing what stopped you?
>

I my experience, if you have decent negotiators, the costs are similar enough
that it doesn't make sense in terms of man hours to test and convert. Of
course that depends on the size of the shop / conversion. Then someone
will want you to convert the next time a contact comes up and there is a
(slight?) cost advantage to change.

The only reason to switch (or not) in my mind would be based on features
(one you really could use that you don't have).

One feature that has kept us from switching from SYNCSORT is the MAXSORT
feature. IBM's answer is to use lots of SORTWKxx. That is a very valid answer
because these MAXSORT applications were created so many years ago that
I know there would be no problem converting them to use disk and the
checkpointing is also not an issue. However, the man hours to convert and
test all the applications is. Especially since that function was outsourced.

My 2 cents...

Mark
--
Mark Zelden
Sr. Software and Systems Architect - z/OS Team Lead
Zurich North America / Farmers Insurance Group - ZFUS G-ITO
mailto:***@zurichna.com
z/OS Systems Programming expert at http://expertanswercenter.techtarget.com/
Mark's MVS Utilities: http://home.flash.net/~mzelden/mvsutil.html

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Ted MacNEIL
2009-01-30 20:43:51 UTC
We can argue, if you want.
But, it was June 2006, and DFSORT was more expensive.

I was the project leader for replacing products with cheaper work-alikes.

We replaced PKZIP/MVS with ZIP/390.
We replaced OMEGASOLVE (or whatever it's called, now) with VANGUARD.
The replacement products were a lot cheaper (20% of the other products), and had better support.
We got SYSB (HWS), and SAS, onto sub-capacity licensing.

DFSORT was too expensive to convert to.


>Funny, last time I looked into this, DFSORT was vastly cheaper than Syncsort.

>>> Ted MacNEIL <***@YAHOO.CA> 1/30/2009 1:36 PM >>>
>Or if you looked into switching but decided not to, I'd be interested in knowing what stopped you?


>We looked at DFSort, and we were stopped by cost.
>At the time, there was no other competitors, and the difference was $50,000 (CDN) a year.


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Ed Gould
2009-02-01 04:11:06 UTC
--- On Fri, 1/30/09, Mark Zelden <***@ZURICHNA.COM> wrote:
Date: Friday, January 30, 2009, 2:29 PM
> On Fri, 30 Jan 2009 12:18:25 -0600,
> Lupher, Fred <***@NEBRASKA.GOV>
> wrote:
>
> >We are a long time Syncsort customer.  Our
> contract with them will be up
> for renewal soon, so this is a good time to consider the
> competitors.  Does
> anyone have experience migrating away from Syncsort you'd
> care to share?  Or
> if you looked into switching but decided not to, I'd be
> interested in
> knowing what stopped you?
> >


I have done a couple of conversions but that was more than 10 years ago so anything I write could be out of date so take it for what its worth.

During various conversions we ran into some interesting (yet small IMO) differences.

Syncsort sorts a little differently than DFSORT in some cases. This showed up with any records with equal keys. IIRC syncsort sorted them FIFO and DFSORT sorted them equally. We resolved this issue with the EQUALS install option.

The other thing that stopped most people from converting (one way or the other way) was that SYNCSORT's language was slightly different than DFSORT. The "language" I am talking about is the reporting language (forgot the name it been so long). One of the issues in this was that SYNCSORT would come up with something and it would take DFSORT a few months to do the same it was a leap frog type environment so a programmer could do something in SYNCSORT and it may or may not be available in DFSORT. At one installation we discouraged the use of the language so it was pretty trivial conversion. At one time DFSORT was cheaper but SYNCSORT used less resources. Once they became equal as far as resources we went DFSORT.

This is a personal observation and no grounds to prove it. Both support teams were good but the issue with SYNCSORT (again this was 10+ years ago)
was that they sent zaps out and you had to key in the zaps by hand. This was prone to errors and IIRC they used checksum (superzap ) to verify the zaps were coded correctly. The side issue was that at times a module had so many zaps on it that you had to relink the module by hand to accommodate the zap (extra IDRDATA). IBM sent out module replacements that made SMPE work easy to do. It was a little bit easier to figure out what was on (maintenance wise) with DFSORT. Again this is old information.

Both products work well and at least (again 10+ years ago) performance wise DFSORT narrowly beat SYNCSORT . I am trying to think back if we ever had to call the syncsort people in the middle of the night and I cannot remember doing so (if we did the support must have been OK or else I would have moved to get us off SYNCSORT sooner.

A long time ago SYNCSORT was really fast and efficient and it would beat the pants off of DFSORT but the DFSORT people equalled and maybe a little bit surpassed SYNCSORT.

One thing that I really liked about SYNCSORT is that you could override any sort parameters with a $ortparm dd statement. I used that quite often debugging sorts invoked by cobol. I do not remember off the top of my head if DFSORT ever came up with a similar option, memory says maybe but check the books to make sure.

Ed





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Brian Westerman
2009-02-01 05:49:46 UTC
We have just over 700 clients and the current split on their configurations
seems to be that about 70% of them are using DFSORT. Which doesn't mean
anything to the "real" split in all sites, just the subset that we have
worked at, but I though might be interesting to toss out there.

In the few clients that I have spoken to in the past about their choice,
"difference" in cost never seems to come up as a "big deal" and it appears
that if you are running SYNCSORT, that IBM will "make you a deal" and
vice-versa.

We have handled the conversions both ways, and I can assure it it's fairly
painless. The really funny thing (to me at least) is that most times their
choices are based on what we would probably consider to be "silly" if it
weren't that they were paying us to take care of something on their site.
Silly is probably a bad way to put it, but choosing your sort product on a
free poster/calendar/pen/ashtray or how "hot" your marketing rep looks is
really not a valid basis. Well, maybe it is, I suppose it depends on the
relative "hot-ness" compared to the ability to perform a sort really-really
fast. :)

There are some "philosophy" differences in how the products are implemented
and used, but I honestly can't say that one is "noticeably faster" or that
much "better" than the other for all types of tests. There are features
that each do better/faster, and of course that's what they push marketing
wise, but I'm sure that since you are currently running SYNCSORT, that if
you get your IBM' marketing rep's "BEST PRICE" that your current vendor will
meet or beat it. Both products have paid for their development and support
costs many times over, so they have nothing to loose in lowering their
price, except maybe upsetting other customers and getting you as a client
and away from the "other guy" :).

You probably have better things to do than change sort products, which again
I have to stress is not difficult, so unless IBM can give you a price that
Syncsort just refuses to meet (or beat), then you should just get the new
price and not worry about which one is "slightly" better because no matter
which one you choose, there will be something that the other one can do
better/faster.

They are both very good products, you can't loose either way except on
price. On the other hand, I hear that Syncsort is giving away free
tee-shirts again. :)

Brian

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Richards, Robert B.
2009-02-01 12:09:02 UTC
And, of course, the support we get here from Ed and John is outstanding. Edge to Ed on ICETOOLS and what-if questions though.

As to cost, it used to run me between $15-20K per year on twin 714s. YMMV because of different licensing issues and agreements, price per MSU, etc.

Bob

________________________________

From: IBM Mainframe Discussion List on behalf of Brian Westerman
Sent: Sun 2/1/2009 12:48 AM
To: IBM-***@bama.ua.edu
Subject: Re: Syncsort vs competitors



We have just over 700 clients and the current split on their configurations
seems to be that about 70% of them are using DFSORT. Which doesn't mean
anything to the "real" split in all sites, just the subset that we have
worked at, but I though might be interesting to toss out there.

In the few clients that I have spoken to in the past about their choice,
"difference" in cost never seems to come up as a "big deal" and it appears
that if you are running SYNCSORT, that IBM will "make you a deal" and
vice-versa.

We have handled the conversions both ways, and I can assure it it's fairly
painless. The really funny thing (to me at least) is that most times their
choices are based on what we would probably consider to be "silly" if it
weren't that they were paying us to take care of something on their site.
Silly is probably a bad way to put it, but choosing your sort product on a
free poster/calendar/pen/ashtray or how "hot" your marketing rep looks is
really not a valid basis. Well, maybe it is, I suppose it depends on the
relative "hot-ness" compared to the ability to perform a sort really-really
fast. :)

There are some "philosophy" differences in how the products are implemented
and used, but I honestly can't say that one is "noticeably faster" or that
much "better" than the other for all types of tests. There are features
that each do better/faster, and of course that's what they push marketing
wise, but I'm sure that since you are currently running SYNCSORT, that if
you get your IBM' marketing rep's "BEST PRICE" that your current vendor will
meet or beat it. Both products have paid for their development and support
costs many times over, so they have nothing to loose in lowering their
price, except maybe upsetting other customers and getting you as a client
and away from the "other guy" :).

You probably have better things to do than change sort products, which again
I have to stress is not difficult, so unless IBM can give you a price that
Syncsort just refuses to meet (or beat), then you should just get the new
price and not worry about which one is "slightly" better because no matter
which one you choose, there will be something that the other one can do
better/faster.

They are both very good products, you can't loose either way except on
price. On the other hand, I hear that Syncsort is giving away free
tee-shirts again. :)

Brian



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Frank Yaeger
2009-02-01 16:25:19 UTC
Robert B. Richards wrote on 02/01/2009 04:03:08 AM:
> And, of course, the support we get here from Ed and John is
> outstanding. Edge to Ed on ICETOOLS and what-if questions though.
> ...

Who is Ed? Since you mentioned ICETOOL, I assume you mean me
considering I "invented" and have developed DFSORT's ICETOOL
since 1991, and have provided functional and how-to support
on this list for many years. David Betten provides performance
and tuning support for DFSORT on this list.

If you did mean me, then thanks for the compliment. If you
didn't mean me, then I don't know who you mean as there is
nobody on the DFSORT team named Ed.

Frank Yaeger - DFSORT Development Team (IBM) - ***@us.ibm.com
Specialties: FINDREP, WHEN=GROUP, DATASORT, ICETOOL, Symbols, Migration

=> DFSORT/MVS is on the Web at http://www.ibm.com/storage/dfsort/

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Frank Yaeger
2009-02-01 16:38:29 UTC
Ed Gould wrote on 01/31/2009 08:07:47 PM:
> I have done a couple of conversions but that was more than 10 years
> ago so anything I write could be out of date so take it for what its
worth.

Things have, of course, changed a lot for both products in 10 years.
I never understand why you think what happened 10 years ago is relevant
today.

> Syncsort sorts a little differently than DFSORT in some cases. This
> showed up with any records with equal keys. IIRC syncsort sorted
> them FIFO and DFSORT sorted them equally. We resolved this issue
> with the EQUALS install option.

Both products have EQUALS and NOEQUALS options. EQUALS guarantees
FIFO order. NOEQUALS does not. The difference you saw was probably
due to different default installation settings and can easily be
handled by setting the same installaion default for both products.
That was true then and it's true now.

> ...
> One thing that I really liked about SYNCSORT is that you could
> override any sort parameters with a $ortparm dd statement. I used
> that quite often debugging sorts invoked by cobol. I do not remember
> off the top of my head if DFSORT ever came up with a similar option,
> memory says maybe but check the books to make sure.

DFSORT has had the DFSPARM DD statement since 1988 for that and also
supports $ORTPARM as an alias of DFSPARM.

Frank Yaeger - DFSORT Development Team (IBM) - ***@us.ibm.com
Specialties: FINDREP, WHEN=GROUP, DATASORT, ICETOOL, Symbols, Migration

=> DFSORT/MVS is on the Web at http://www.ibm.com/storage/dfsort/

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Richards, Robert B.
2009-02-01 17:30:14 UTC
LOL. Brain fart, senior moment, lack of coffee, take your pick. Not sure where I got "Ed" from unless it was a previous post by Mr Jaffe. Sorry Frank. :-)

I did mean you, of course!

________________________________

From: IBM Mainframe Discussion List on behalf of Frank Yaeger
Sent: Sun 2/1/2009 11:22 AM
To: IBM-***@bama.ua.edu
Subject: Re: Syncsort vs competitors



Robert B. Richards wrote on 02/01/2009 04:03:08 AM:
> And, of course, the support we get here from Ed and John is
> outstanding. Edge to Ed on ICETOOLS and what-if questions though.
> ...

Who is Ed? Since you mentioned ICETOOL, I assume you mean me
considering I "invented" and have developed DFSORT's ICETOOL
since 1991, and have provided functional and how-to support
on this list for many years. David Betten provides performance
and tuning support for DFSORT on this list.

If you did mean me, then thanks for the compliment. If you
didn't mean me, then I don't know who you mean as there is
nobody on the DFSORT team named Ed.

Frank Yaeger - DFSORT Development Team (IBM) - ***@us.ibm.com
Specialties: FINDREP, WHEN=GROUP, DATASORT, ICETOOL, Symbols, Migration

=> DFSORT/MVS is on the Web at http://www.ibm.com/storage/dfsort/




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Mark Zelden
2009-02-01 21:05:30 UTC
On Sat, 31 Jan 2009 23:48:37 -0600, Brian Westerman
<***@SYZYGYINC.COM> wrote:

>We have just over 700 clients and the current split on their configurations
>seems to be that about 70% of them are using DFSORT.

Just out of curiosity, if you can say: How do you know what the mix
is of sort products that your clients use? Do you formally question them as
part of the requirements to use your products? Or is it casual questioning
and your store that information somewhere? How often do you update
that information - OW, how accurately can you say "70%"?

BTW, I've never had an ISV vendor ask me what sort product I was
using unless I was having a sort issue somehow related to their
software.

Reply off-list if desired.

Regards,

Mark
--
Mark Zelden
Sr. Software and Systems Architect - z/OS Team Lead
Zurich North America / Farmers Insurance Group - ZFUS G-ITO
mailto:***@zurichna.com
z/OS Systems Programming expert at http://expertanswercenter.techtarget.com/
Mark's MVS Utilities: http://home.flash.net/~mzelden/mvsutil.html

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Reda, John
2009-02-02 02:35:16 UTC
Ed Gould wrote:

<snip>

A long time ago SYNCSORT was really fast and efficient and it would beat the pants off of DFSORT but the DFSORT people equalled and maybe a little bit surpassed SYNCSORT.

<snip>

I'm not sure when the last time your ran a comprehensive benchmark but if performance is a concern we welcome the oppurtunity to demonstrate we are capable of.

John Reda
Syncsort, Inc.

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Ted MacNEIL
2009-02-02 05:29:10 UTC
>I'm not sure when the last time your ran a comprehensive benchmark but if performance is a concern we welcome the oppurtunity to demonstrate we are capable of.

You have to be careful of Ed.
He has been retired for over 10 years, but still believes that his experience is relevant, today.
-
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Gerhard Postpischil
2009-02-02 06:30:08 UTC
Ted MacNEIL wrote:
> You have to be careful of Ed. He has been retired for over 10
> years, but still believes that his experience is relevant,
> today.

Having been retired for seven years, I can sympathize. But with
the increasing popularity of Hercules, and MVS 3.8, some of the
dinosaurs out there have useful knowledge that's not readily
available otherwise; also a good bit of business practice is as
relevant as it ever was.



Gerhard Postpischil
Bradford, VT

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Ted MacNEIL
2009-02-02 08:48:48 UTC
>some of the dinosaurs out there have useful knowledge that's not readily available otherwise;

Some. Not all.

>also a good bit of business practice is as
relevant as it ever was.

It wasn't business knowledge.
Rather, it was a performance comparison between two products that have evolved.
-
Too busy driving to stop for gas!

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Brian Westerman
2009-02-02 09:06:06 UTC
The software marketing side doesn't gather information on software clients,
only the support side which includes the facilities site support and
consulting.

Brian

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