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Introducing MFX 2.1 & ZPSaver Suite: Mainframe Innovation for a Big Data World

After fifty years of mainframes, in a world where Big Data seems to capture all the attention, what’s left to do? Some companies may have run out of ideas long ago, but not Syncsort – after all, we created one of the most reliable, most trusted third-party software packages for IBM’s z/OS operating system. Even today, after decades of mainframe innovation, our MFX developers continue to find new ways to improve their product.  As a result, we’re happy to announce the General Availability of Syncsort MFX Release 2.1 and the new ZPSaver Suite.

Once again, the new release of MFX is packed with performance & functionality enhancements to make MFX even faster and developers more productive, but there is something more unique in this announcement. MFX 2.1 is the foundation for a new product, the ZPSaver Suite.  This set of utilities provides a way to offload COPY and SMS compression workloads from General Purpose Processors to zIIP engines.

Several years ago after analyzing a number of customer’s MFX usage, we discovered that many sites rely heavily on the COPY function with our data manipulation features to transform their data.  A good percentage of customers actually had more COPY executions than SORTs.  This was an area ideally suited for zIIP offload.  As long as we were going to be making major changes we decided to redesign the entire process and introduce other enhancements as well. By including Syncsort’s unique DASD Parallel Access Volume (PAV) support we could improve the elapsed time of these COPY applications as well as reduce the billable CPU time. We are able to reduce CPU time by over 90% for COPY applications with features by offloading that workload to a zIIP engine. Provided the input and output for these COPY applications are on DASD devices, our PAV support will reduce the elapsed time by 25%.  This has been available for a little over a year with a product called ZPCopy.  Starting in MFX release 2.1, this functionality will be part of the ZPSaver Suite.

Due to the acceptance of ZPCopy we looked to see what other workload we could offload to a zIIP engine. SMS compression was an obvious target. The benefits of compression are well known, but there is a high price to pay. For sorts that use compressed input and output, it is not uncommon for the decompression and compression to use more than four times the amount of CPU time than the sort.   This CPU cost is split among TCB time and SRB time.  If this work could be pushed to a zIIP, customers would realize enormous savings. Now they can, thanks to the ZPSaver Suite. Best of all, you can realize the benefits without making any changes to individual applications.

We are not done developing the ZPSaver Suite. There is a development roadmap that includes enhancements to existing processing as well as completely new functionality. The plan is to roll out these enhancements as they become available instead of waiting for a formal release boundary.

So, how do you know if ZPSaver is right for you? To help with this question, we have developed a tool that will determine how much of this type work is done and estimate the potential savings. Request your Free ROI Assessment at

Syncsort MFX 2.1 provides the foundation for the new ZPSaver Suite; however, you will find a lot more in the new release of MFX.

First, There are multiple performance improvements such as:

  • Exploitation of EC12
  • Exploitation of the High Performance FICON (zHPF) channel architecture
  • Fine tuning of MFX OPTMODEs
  • Optimization improvements

There are also numerous enhancements to a variety of the data manipulation features. Last but not least, we have improved the way the product’s installation options are managed. Now the installation options can be set in a parmlib member making it easy to maintain multiple different sets of options for different systems. No longer will it be necessary to be concerned about installation options while performing routine maintenance.

Yes, mainframe innovation is still going strong at Syncsort and our latest release packages something for everyone.   We look forward to working with you on upgrading to Syncsort MFX 2.1 and realizing some saving with the new ZPSaver Suite.  Want to learn more? Go to . You can also register for tomorrow’s webcast by clicking here.

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