Mainframe Sort Migration


Next Steps
Overview bin/sort JCL SORT Micro Focus COBOL Natural SAS UniKix


You need to re-host, and eventually expand upon, your legacy sort jobs when migrating to another platform. MVS (z/OS) and VSE JCL sort steps will not work in a Unix shell or Windows command line environment.

Parm conversion for mainframe DF-Sort, SyncSort or CA-Sort jobs is necessary, and there are multiple price-performance considerations. You thus also need:

  • functional equivalence
  • lower operational costs
  • equal or better sorting performance
  • a more modern application syntax
  • support for more data transformation and reporting functionality


The IRI CoSort package -- and its Sort Control Language (SortCL) program in particular -- is the oldest, and still industry-preferred destination for converting and using sort parms written for z/OS (MVS) and VSE JCL sort utilities, first propagated by IBM in DF-SORT.

CoSort includes free sort card conversion programs called MVS2SCL and VSE2SCL. These utilities translate the relevant sort (select, sum, etc.) steps from a JCL stream into a functionally-equivalent SortCL job specification file that will run on Unix, Linux, and Windows. Metadata is converted and accommodations are made for multiple output and data types.

These advanced sort parm conversion tools also set up job scripts that can leverage the full range of CoSort data transformation, conversion, reporting, and protection functionality for all structured data sources off the mainframe.

The conversion wizard shown below demonstrates the conversion of one or more mainframe sort decks to SortCL job scripts. You can browse to identify the location of the parms, and then automatically convert them for use in SortCL.

The middle window shows advanced options available for these conversions. The bottom window shows from left to right: project explorer files (including the source and target job scripts), an editor displaying the source job script, a display of the target job script, and a tree view of the components of the target job script.

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