Nsort: a parallel sorting program for NUMA and SMP machines. OrdinalTM NsortTM is a high-performance sort program for Silicon Graphics’ IRIXTM operating system. It utilizes IRIX’s 64-bit XFSTM journaled file system to read and write files at more than 1 gigabyte per second. Nsort’s patent-pending technology uses multiple processors to quickly sort and merge data. It performs a one-pass sort for data sets that fit in memory. Since Nsort uses 64-bit addressing, the size of a one-pass sort is limited only by the user’s budget for main memory. Two-pass sorts can also be performed. Using a two-pass sort, Nsort performed a terabyte sort in 2.5 hours using 2.3 gigabytes of main memory. Nsort has the options one finds in a full-function commercial sort package. It handles the standard data types found in scientific and commercial applications. Nsort can summarize fields for rollup reporting, select and edit records, and optionally eliminate duplicate records. File merge and file copy operations are also supported. This paper describes Nsort’s background, presents its performance sorting a terabyte of data, and compares its performance on an industry-standard benchmark. Nsort performance is presented for file copying and record selection, and sorting with varying numbers of processors, input sizes, key types, key lengths, numbers of keys and record lengths.

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  1. Bertasi, Paolo; Bressan, Marco; Peserico, Enoch: PSort, yet another fast stable sorting software (2011)