Five things a SAS user should know this week

Note: This blog post is cross-posted from the Key Happenings blog. Going forward, posts about changes to support.sas.com will appear here, in the SAS User's blog. Enjoy!

Five things a SAS users should know this week...

5 -- SAS 9.4 M3 and 14.1 are available
4 -- Communities will go to read-only status from August 31 - September 7
3 -- SAS 8.2 Samples and SAS Notes have been archived
2 -- SAS Talks series combined with Ask the Experts series
1 -- Survey: What tasks do you do most on a sas.com web site?

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What’s new in SAS Grid Manager 9.4M3 architecture

GridIf you have, or are considering, SAS Grid Manager, you’ll be excited to hear about two new changes to the product that make it even better for managing and processing in your analytics environment.

The two changes were made in conjunction with the release of SAS 9.4M3 in July, and included:

  • The introduction of the SAS Grid Manager agent plug-in for SAS Environment Manager.
  • The substitution of the SAS Grid Manager Plug-in for SAS Environment Manager with the SAS Grid Manager Module for SAS Environment Manager in the middle tier.

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Keeping SAS current with Java 7

javaAs of April 15, 2015, Oracle is no longer providing public updates of the Java 7 runtime environment (JRE) or software development kit (JDK).

SAS 9.3 and SAS 9.4, however, continue to rely on Java 7 for support of business production. SAS has therefore contracted with Oracle to continue receiving security updates (not feature enhancements) to Java 7 for the foreseeable future. This will ensure that our customers are protected from the ever-changing cyber threats aimed at Java 7. Oracle plans to release updates quarterly – that is, four times a year.

Keeping up to date with Java releases

The Security Bulletins support site provides a quick indicator of the versions of Java that are available.   This site references the SAS Technical Support Usage Note 56203 which provides step-by-step instructions for identifying what update(s) you need, and retrieving the update from SAS.

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Creating Quantile Groups

SAS users often ask me about the best way to group or bin their data in preparation for additional analysis. Depending on the need, there are several ways to achieve this using SAS procedures or other SAS processing. Creating user-defined formats with PROC FORMAT or using Data step processing are two of the methods that are commonly used.

Often, users need to generate quantile rankings based on the values to create quantile groups like quartiles, quintiles, or deciles. It can be a memory-intensive procedure, but the syntax is pretty simple. For example, you can create quintile groups by specifying GROUPS=5 in the PROC RANK statement. The variable named in the RANKS statement will contain values ranging from 0 to 4 for the groups in the output data set. The following code creates a test data set and shows a simple PROC RANK step. A PROC REPORT step was used to display the results.

data test; /*  Creating a sample data set  */                        
     do i=1 to 99;                                                     
        xyz=round((ranuni(i)*1234),.1);                                
        output;                                                        
     end;                                                              
     drop i;                                                           
  run;                                                                 
                                                                       
  proc rank data=test out=out1 groups=5;                               
     var xyz;                                                          
     ranks rank1;                                                      
  run;     

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Monitor your SASWORK directory from SAS Environment Manager

Everyone who codes with SAS knows what the SASWORK directory space is, and everyone who has ever managed a medium-large installation knows that you need to monitor this space to avoid a huge buildup of worthless disk usage.  One of the most common snarls happens when large SAS jobs go bust for one reason or another, and the work space does not get cleaned up properly.  Here’s a technique you can use, with the help of SAS Environment Manger, to get a proxy for the amount of disk space being used–it’s not perfect, but it’s better than being in the dark.

Before illustrating the technique, a little explanation is needed.  In SAS Environment Manager, you will find two types of SAS directories, both at the Server level:

  • SAS Config Level Directory 9.4, referring to the …/Lev1 directory
  • SAS Home Directory, referring to the …/SASHome/SASFoundation directory

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Users Unite! Starting a SAS users group

usersgroup-sas-logo-fullcolor (2)In recent blog posts, we shared the benefits of participating in a SAS users group, how to register your group, and tips on how to find a group that meets your individual needs. But, what if you’ve discovered that there isn’t a local users group in your community or that your organization doesn’t yet have an in-house users group? Don’t get discouraged; this is your chance to start a SAS users group of your own. There are nearly 350 active in-house and local user groups, and many of these were started by SAS users just like yourself.

To help you in this endeavor, SAS has created a great new program called Users Unite!

Users Unite! is the first resource in the new SAS Users Group Leader Toolkit collection, a series of resource guides designed specifically to assist SAS users group leaders. This guide focuses on getting a new SAS users group off the ground.

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Visual Analytics 7.3: A peek at HTML5 interfaces

VisualAnalyticsHTML5The new 7.3 release of SAS Visual Analytics not only uses the new HTML5 home page as the entry point to the Visual Analytics environment, but also introduces the new HTML5 viewer. The HTML5 home page interface features a personalized welcome message, tiles for content organization (Recent, Links, Favorites), icons to access notifications, a help center, and user settings. The help center provides user documentation for the HTML5 home page interface.

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Loading LASR Remotely with DI Studio (SAS/Connect)

The SASIOLA libname engine is now delivered with most SAS software orders so that we can load LASR environments remotely from separate SAS environments. For example, maybe you have an existing SAS “ETL” machine that you use to access your source environments and load your target environments. With the SASIOLA libname engine, you can now use this machine to load your distributed LASR environment as well.

In addition to SASIOLA, another technology comes to mind when we talk about reading and writing between separate SAS environments, SAS/CONNECT. The natural question is, “Can I utilize SAS/CONNECT to load LASR from separate SAS environments?” Yes, you can.

Remote SAS datasets can be accessed via SAS/CONNECT Remote Library Services (RLS), but RLS is considered inefficient for large data especially when any transformation is required. A better approach is to utilize SAS/CONNECT’s Compute Services to transform the data and Data Transfer Services to move the data into LASR via the LASR SAS server machine. This is a particularly effective strategy with data that is too large for the LASR SAS server’s local disk (while small enough to fit when distributed across the entire LASR hardware array).

Below is an example using DI Studio. DI Studio’s ability to control SAS processing on multiple hosts (by generating SAS/CONNECT code) is actually one of my favorite features in the SAS stack of products.

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SAS Everywhere: Fall Regional Conferences

usersgroup-sas-logo-fullcolor (2)Support for SAS Users is everywhere! Starting in September, Regional SAS Users Groups host their annual conferences. Through presentations and hands-on workshops, fall regional conferences expose users to new ideas, best practices and innovative ways to use SAS. Attendees also have the opportunity to attend classes and network with hundreds of SAS experts and peers close to home.

Our lineup of fall regional user group conferences include:

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SAS 9.4: Transport Layer Security (HTTPS) and SAS

SecurityEncryption and SAS is a wide ranging topic – so wide it gets its own book and features strongly in both the SAS(R) 9.4 Intelligence Platform: Security Administration Guide, Second Edition and SAS(R) 9.4 Intelligence Platform: Middle-Tier Administration Guide, Third Edition. In this blog we’ll take a high level look at what is involved in using HTTPS encryption in-transit within a SAS deployment.

This blog will provide an overview of considerations when designing for security requirements that include encryption and will be the first in a series of blog discussions around encryption. Read More »

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