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The current Secure Shell protocol, as implemented in third-party products and current Tectia versions, is designed for Unix files which are byte streams. While MVS data sets are record-based, they must be staged before sending or destaged after they have been received. Staging copies a data set into byte stream format and may also convert the character set. Destaging transforms a byte stream into a file format and may also convert the character set. HFS files that do not need character set conversion, do not need to be staged.

There are two modes of staging:

  • Offline staging stores the byte stream as an HFS file. Offline staging incurs the overhead of writing the byte stream to disk and reading it.

    Tectia client tools for z/OS support native MVS data set reading and writing and generally do not require staging. Offline staging is still needed if a file is transferred to an MVS server and the size of the file is larger than 2 GB.

    To use offline staging, you must run the ssh-sft-stage utility as a separate step. For more information, see ssh-sft-stage(1).

  • Online staging places the byte stream in virtual storage when the file is transferred. The Tectia Server for IBM z/OS (server program) will use online staging automatically if a data set cannot be transferred directly.

    Online staging is more convenient and, for small files, more efficient. Online staging, for large files, will page out most of the byte stream and will page it in again. Online staging does not support files that are larger than 2 GB.

By default, staging is disabled. You can also control staging in the server configuration. When staging is disabled, all clients are required to send the data in the correct order (as consecutive blocks from beginning to end) or else the file transfer fails. In case Tectia Server for IBM z/OS detects changes in the order of the blocks, it stops the transfer and reports an error about non-serialized transfer.

To enable staging, use either one of the following methods:

  • Add the staging setting for sft-server-g3 into the sshd2_config configuration:

    subsystem-sftp /opt/tectia/libexec/sft-server-g3 --attribute=staging:YES
  • Use the file transfer advice string in the put command:

    sftp> put over2gigfile.txt /ftadv:S=YES///'target'

If the file transfer client uses the SFTP protocol for transferring the files, and does not access the files or data sets in the correct order, staging must be enabled. If the client accesses file data in random offsets, or uses checksums, staging is necessary.


When staging is used, do not set the _CEE_RUNOPTS environment variable's TRAP option to OFF. If you do, sftpg3 fails to start. The TRAP option is ON by default.

A summary of situations when staging is needed is shown in the following table. In the table, Native indicates that staging is not required, Online indicates that online staging is automatically used, and Offline indicates that the data set has to be staged offline.

Table 9.1. Staging summary

Client versionServer versionFile size <2GBFile size >2GB
Tectia z/OS 5.2-Any Unix/WindowsNativeNative
Tectia Unix/Win 5.2-Tectia z/OS 5.2-NativeNative
OpenSSH SFTP ClientTectia z/OS 6.1-NativeNative
Tectia z/OS 5.2-Tectia z/OS 5.2-OnlineOffline
Tectia (all) 4.x-5.1Tectia z/OS 5.2-OnlineOffline
3rd-party Unix/WinTectia z/OS 5.2-6.0OnlineOffline

Tectia client tools for z/OS include a utility program, ssh-sft-stage, for offline staging and destaging. STAGE (located in <HLQ>.V650.SAMPLIB) is a sample of JCL for running the staging utility:

PGM /opt/tectia/sbin/ssh-sft-stage -v
  -i /FTADV:F=LINE,D=IBM-1047,C=ISO8859-1///DD:PROGLI
  -s /tmp/stage.tmp