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DataStage Best Practices

This section provides an overview of recommendations for standard practices.
The recommendations are categorized as follows:
_ Standards
_ Development guidelines
_ Component usage
_ DataStage Data Types
_ Partitioning data
_ Collecting data
_ Sorting
_ Stage specific guidelines

It is important to establish and follow consistent standards in:
_ Directory structures for installation and application support directories.
_ Naming conventions, especially for DataStage Project categories, stage
names, and links.
All DataStage jobs should be documented with the Short Description field, as
well as Annotation fields.
It is the DataStage developer’s responsibility to make personal backups of their
work on their local workstation, using DataStage's DSX export capability. This
can also be used for integration with source code control systems.
Note: A detailed discussion of these practices is beyond the scope of this
Redbooks publication, and you should speak to your Account Executive to
engage IBM IPS Services.

Development guidelines
Modular development techniques should be used to maximize re-use of
DataStage jobs and components:
_ Job parameterization allows a single job design to process similar logic
instead of creating multiple copies of the same job. The Multiple-Instance job
property allows multiple invocations of the same job to run simultaneously.
_ A set of standard job parameters should be used in DataStage jobs for source
and target database parameters (DSN, user, password, etc.) and directories
where files are stored. To ease re-use, these standard parameters and
settings should be made part of a Designer Job Parameter Sets.
_ Create a standard directory structure outside of the DataStage project
directory for source and target files, intermediate work files, and so forth.
_ Where possible, create re-usable components such as parallel shared
containers to encapsulate frequently-used logic.
_ DataStage Template jobs should be created with:
– Standard parameters such as source and target file paths, and database
login properties
– Environment variables and their default settings
– Annotation blocks
_ Job Parameters should always be used for file paths, file names, database
login settings.
_ Standardized Error Handling routines should be followed to capture errors
and rejects.

Component usage
The following guidelines should be followed when constructing parallel jobs in
IBM InfoSphere DataStage Enterprise Edition:
_ Never use Server Edition components (BASIC Transformer, Server Shared
Containers) within a parallel job. BASIC Routines are appropriate only for job
control sequences.
_ Always use parallel Data Sets for intermediate storage between jobs unless
that specific data also needs to be shared with other applications.
_ Use the Copy stage as a placeholder for iterative design, and to facilitate
default type conversions.
_ Use the parallel Transformer stage (not the BASIC Transformer) instead of
the Filter or Switch stages.
Chapter 1. IBM InfoSphere DataStage overview 29
_ Use BuildOp stages only when logic cannot be implemented in the parallel

DataStage data types
The following guidelines should be followed with DataStage data types:
_ Be aware of the mapping between DataStage (SQL) data types and the
internal DS/EE data types. If possible, import table definitions for source
databases using the Orchestrate Schema Importer (orchdbutil) utility.
_ Leverage default type conversions using the Copy stage or across the Output
mapping tab of other stages.

Partitioning data
In most cases, the default partitioning method (Auto) is appropriate. With Auto
partitioning, the Information Server Engine will choose the type of partitioning at
runtime based on stage requirements, degree of parallelism, and source and
target systems. While Auto partitioning will generally give correct results, it might
not give optimized performance. As the job developer, you have visibility into
requirements, and can optimize within a job and across job flows.
Given the numerous options for keyless and keyed partitioning, the following
objectives form a methodology for assigning partitioning:

_ Objective 1
Choose a partitioning method that gives close to an equal number of rows in
each partition, while minimizing overhead. This ensures that the processing
workload is evenly balanced, minimizing overall run time.

_ Objective 2
The partition method must match the business requirements and stage
functional requirements, assigning related records to the same partition if
Any stage that processes groups of related records (generally using one or
more key columns) must be partitioned using a keyed partition method.
This includes, but is not limited to: Aggregator, Change Capture, Change
Apply, Join, Merge, Remove Duplicates, and Sort stages. It might also be
necessary for Transformers and BuildOps that process groups of related

_ Objective 3
Unless partition distribution is highly skewed, minimize re-partitioning,
especially in cluster or Grid configurations.
Re-partitioning data in a cluster or Grid configuration incurs the overhead of
network transport.

_ Objective 4
Partition method should not be overly complex. The simplest method that
meets the above objectives will generally be the most efficient and yield the
best performance.
Using the above objectives as a guide, the following methodology can be
a. Start with Auto partitioning (the default).
b. Specify Hash partitioning for stages that require groups of related records
as follows:
• Specify only the key column(s) that are necessary for correct grouping
as long as the number of unique values is sufficient
• Use Modulus partitioning if the grouping is on a single integer key
• Use Range partitioning if the data is highly skewed and the key column
values and distribution do not change significantly over time (Range
Map can be reused)
c. If grouping is not required, use Round Robin partitioning to redistribute
data equally across all partitions.
• Especially useful if the input Data Set is highly skewed or sequential
d. Use Same partitioning to optimize end-to-end partitioning and to minimize
• Be mindful that Same partitioning retains the degree of parallelism of
the upstream stage
• Within a flow, examine up-stream partitioning and sort order and
attempt to preserve for down-stream processing. This may require
re-examining key column usage within stages and re-ordering stages
within a flow (if business requirements permit).
Note: In satisfying the requirements of this second objective, it might not
be possible to choose a partitioning method that gives an almost equal
number of rows in each partition.

Across jobs, persistent Data Sets can be used to retain the partitioning and sort
order. This is particularly useful if downstream jobs are run with the same degree
of parallelism (configuration file) and require the same partition and sort order.

Collecting data
Given the options for collecting data into a sequential stream, the following
guidelines form a methodology for choosing the appropriate collector type:
1. When output order does not matter, use Auto partitioning (the default).
2. Consider how the input Data Set has been sorted:
– When the input Data Set has been sorted in parallel, use Sort Merge
collector to produce a single, globally sorted stream of rows.
– When the input Data Set has been sorted in parallel and Range
partitioned, the Ordered collector might be more efficient.
3. Use a Round Robin collector to reconstruct rows in input order for round-robin
partitioned input Data Sets, as long as the Data Set has not been
re-partitioned or reduced.

Apply the following methodology when sorting in an IBM InfoSphere DataStage
Enterprise Edition data flow:
1. Start with a link sort.
2. Specify only necessary key column(s).
3. Do not use Stable Sort unless needed.
4. Use a stand-alone Sort stage instead of a Link sort for options that are not
available on a Link sort:
– The “Restrict Memory Usage” option should be included here. If you want
more memory available for the sort, you can only set that via the Sort
Stage — not on a sort link. The environment variable
$APT_TSORT_STRESS_BLOCKSIZE can also be used to set sort
memory usage (in MB) per partition.
– Sort Key Mode, Create Cluster Key Change Column, Create Key Change
Column, Output Statistics.
– Always specify “DataStage” Sort Utility for standalone Sort stages.
– Use the “Sort Key Mode=Don’t Sort (Previously Sorted)” to resort a
sub-grouping of a previously-sorted input Data Set.
32 IBM InfoSphere DataStage Data Flow and Job Design
5. Be aware of automatically-inserted sorts:
– Set $APT_SORT_INSERTION_CHECK_ONLY to verify but not establish
required sort order.
6. Minimize the use of sorts within a job flow.
7. To generate a single, sequential ordered result set, use a parallel Sort and a
Sort Merge collector.

Stage specific guidelines
The guidelines by stage are as follows:

_ Transformer
Take precautions when using expressions or derivations on nullable columns
within the parallel Transformer:
– Always convert nullable columns to in-band values before using them in
an expression or derivation.
– Always place a reject link on a parallel Transformer to capture / audit
possible rejects.

_ Lookup
It is most appropriate when reference data is small enough to fit into available
shared memory. If the Data Sets are larger than available memory resources,
use the Join or Merge stage.
Limit the use of database Sparse Lookups to scenarios where the number of
input rows is significantly smaller (for example 1:100 or more) than the
number of reference rows, or when exception processing.

_ Join
Be particularly careful to observe the nullability properties for input links to
any form of Outer Join. Even if the source data is not nullable, the non-key
columns must be defined as nullable in the Join stage input in order to identify
unmatched records.

_ Aggregators
Use Hash method Aggregators only when the number of distinct key column
values is small. A Sort method Aggregator should be used when the number
of distinct key values is large or unknown.

_ Database Stages
The following guidelines apply to database stages:
– Where possible, use the Connector stages or native parallel database
stages for maximum performance and scalability.
– The ODBC Connector and ODBC Enterprise stages should only be used
when a native parallel stage is not available for the given source or target
– When using Oracle, DB2, or Informix databases, use Orchestrate Schema
Importer (orchdbutil) to properly import design metadata.
– Take care to observe the data type mappings.
– If possible, use an SQL where clause to limit the number of rows sent to a
DataStage job.
– Avoid the use of database stored procedures on a per-row basis within a
high-volume data flow. For maximum scalability and parallel performance,
it is best to implement business rules natively using DataStage parallel

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