To grid or not to grid?

Let’s be honest.  When well planned, a SAS Grid Computing platform as the basis for a shared, highly available, high-performance analytics environment can pay for itself many times over. However, it is critical that your overall objectives and computing environment be well understood for you to achieve success with your SAS Grid implementation and to get the maximum benefit.

This post is the first in a series that will explore some of the best practices in setting up a high-performance, high-availability SAS analytics environment, but first let’s take time to understand what you can expect from a grid implementation: Read More »

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User group grants and awards: applicants needed!


I did a double-take last week when a conference chair told me that there’s grant money available for students, faculty and SAS junior professionals but few have applied. In one case, there were no applications submitted. We're hoping this is just a temporary glitch, a holdup resulting from too-busy schedules at the end of the academic year or too many work deadlines.

Every regional SAS users group and many of the local users groups offer grants and scholarships, and they’re excellent opportunities for professional development. The criteria, focus and programs may vary from one user group to another, but there’s one thing all user groups have in common—their enthusiasm for encouraging and developing the next generation of SAS professionals.

Applications are still being accepted for many of these awards.  So please check out the regional users group nearest you and take advantage of these opportunities today! Read More »

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PharmaSUG 2014 gives back

Charity speakers at PSUG 2014During Opening Session at this year’s Pharmaceutical SAS Users Group (PharmaSUG) conference, attendees heard from teacher Heather Poland and two of her 14 year-old students. These special guests were representatives of Perkins K-8, a San Diego middle school classroom (7th and 8th grade) that is struggling with illiteracy. Located less than a mile southeast of the conference hotel in the Logan Barrio, Perkins K-8 was selected by PharmaSUG 2014 to receive donations of money to purchase books and other classroom materials. These donations were coordinated through the Adopt-A-Classroom program. 

Funds were collected throughout the conference, and attendees that provided a minimum of $10 toward this charitable endeavor were given a colorful “Donor” ribbon. Thanks to the generosity of the record-setting number of conference attendees, over $5200 was raised to support Perkins K-8!

Charity badgeIn previous years, PharmaSUG has donated funds to support adult literacy programs in San Francisco and STEM education at a downtown Chicago high school. Next year’s PharmaSUG conference will be held May 17-20 in Orlando, Florida.


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Spice up SAS output with live Google maps

Google maps are one of the most versatile and widely accepted features of the modern Web, and they can spice up and bring more interaction to SAS’ intrinsic menu of visuals (dashboards, graphs, OLAP cubes etc.) that are usually served at the SAS Information Delivery Café (Portal).

I wanted something simple, more dynamic and flexible in structure and better blending with the rest of the delivered contents. SAS stored process naturally came to mind.

Before I dove into the task of incorporating live Google map into HTML output delivered via SAS Information Delivery Portal, I asked around colleagues and contacts about my chances of success and their estimates were somewhere on the scale from a definite impossible, to maybe, to 50/50 chance. It was just uncharted territory.

I did some digging, and it turned out that the struggle was not that difficult, and the result was sweet success. It turned out to be quite easy to embed live Google map into SAS output generated by a stored process, and that added a completely new dimension to the level of interaction within a SAS portal. The portal users just loved it!

Let me show you how simply and effectively to embed a live Google map into SAS-generated HTML output and deliver it to users within a SAS Information Delivery Portal. Read More »

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A day in the life of a SAS Administrator: Understanding the roles we play

I can’t believe that it has been almost two months since SAS Global Forum in Washington DC!  As always, I was reinvigorated and came back with even more ideas on how to improve the way that we do things, apply new lessons and try some things out – along with reminiscing over the experiences and seeing some fantastic friends!.

One of the many joys that I get out of SAS Global Forum is to teach and learn and grow from the feedback I get from the SAS community. This year, we, at ThotWave, presented a workshop entitled “The Role of the SAS® Administrator: A day in the life in a modern SAS Enterprise”.   This workshop was decidedly a departure from previous technical presentations in that there were no semi-colons harmed in the making of this workshop – but rather, we talked about a subject near and dear to my heart – the context of our career and the skills we need to be successful now and into the future. Read More »

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Assigning graph style attributes easily!

Frequently you may want to modify the default colors, line patterns and symbols that are displayed on the graphics output produced by the Statistical Graphics, or SG procedures, and the Graph Template Language, GTL. Enhancements in SAS 9.4 have made that task much easier!

In the examples below, we will look at the code that accomplishes this when you have a GROUP variable in your plotting statement. The syntax described in this blog is supported for PROC GPANEL, PROC SGPLOT and PROC SGRENDER beginning in SAS 9.4.
Read More »

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SAS Visual Analytics: managing user permissions

I’ve recently had the opportunity to learn a little more about administering SAS Visual Analytics.  The sessions introduced me to two new GUI interfaces that simplify the work for SAS administrators.  In my last post, I shared how to load data into memory using the SAS Visual Data Builder.

After building the table, loading into memory and scheduling the query, you will want to work on the user or group permissions for the dataset.  You can use the SAS Visual Analytics Administrator for this task.

Accessing the table

To access the SAS Visual Analytics Administrator, return to the SAS Visual Analytics home page by selecting the HOME icon and select Manage Environment from the right hand pane. Your userid must have the appropriate permissions to be able to utilize all of the features I am going to show below: Read More »

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Finding and deleting orphaned SAS WORK and SAS Utility directories

SAS administrators often ask for a utility that can detect orphaned SAS WORK and SAS Utility directories on their back-end SAS compute systems. These orphaned directories result when a SAS Enterprise Guide or any other SAS GUI application is terminated incorrectly, and the SAS session does not terminate properly.

SAS has written utilities to detect these directories and delete them.

For UNIX/Linux, you use the cleanwork utility in the !SASHOME/bin/utilities directory that has been shipping with SAS since SAS 8.2.  The utility deletes any leftover SAS WORK and SAS Utility directories that were associated with a SAS process that has ended.   For more details, please refer to the cleanwork command documentation in the SAS 9.4 Companion for UNIX Environments.

For Windows, SAS has recently been promoting the SAS Disk Cleanup Handler Utility.  This utility searches for and cleans any temporary files that SAS generates, as well as any SAS WORK and SAS Utility directories.  SAS Disk Cleanup Handler is a COM hook into the Microsoft Disk Cleanup Handler (cleanmgr.exe).  For more details, please refer to the SAS Disk Cleanup Handler Utility documentation in the SAS 9.4 Companion for Windows.  Please note that this utility is available with SAS 9.2 and SAS 9.3.

Starting with SAS 9.4M2, there is a new stand-alone utility – cleanwork.exe – that you can use with any version of SAS, starting with SAS 6.

We have placed this utility along with its documentation on the SAS FTP download page:

Many of our SAS administrators who are using these utilities have them scheduled to run once a week or once a month, depending on the frequency of their SAS users incorrectly terminating SAS sessions or the amount of free space they have in the SAS WORK and SAS Utility file systems.



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Which Base procedure is best for simple statistics?

It’s an understatement to say there are many Base SAS procedures!

Some procedures may be used for basic report writing. Other procedures may be used to perform statistical analysis. Some have similar functions. Others are unique in the output that they can produce. Which procedure you choose generally depends on the type of output you are trying to generate—with perhaps a bit of personal preference sprinkled into the mix

I often get calls from SAS users who are trying sort through the options and thought a blog post illustrating a few alternatives might help you choose the procedure that’s the best fit for your needs.  Here are a few common choices for calculating frequency, percentages and a few other simple statistics, but you can certainly use other Base SAS procedures or DATA step processing to perform these calculations. I’ve also included a few notes on customizing calculations and output.

It’s helpful to note that Base procedures have specific keywords to refer to statistics. For future reference, you might want to bookmark this table of common procedures and the simple statistics. Read More »

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SAS® Visual Analytics: loading data into memory

Many years ago I was a SAS administrator for both a UNIX server and a LINUX server. I had a lot of syntax memorized and a lot of commands at my fingertips. If I ever mis-typed a command, I’d have to try again. I remember writing plenty of batch scripts and SAS Code.

Times have certainly changed! I still write SAS code when I need to do so, but for the most part, I’m using the newer GUIs from SAS, like SAS Enterprise Guide, SAS Management Console and SAS Visual Analytics. I’m definitely in the world of point-and-click, and I’m doing things so much faster than I used to do. SAS wants things to be easier and to be faster for their admins, and SAS Visual Analytics is some of the newest technology available from SAS!

What does this mean for those of us who are SAS administrators? We’ll still be using SAS Management Console (so you’ll have some familiar technology) but there are two new components within SAS Visual Analytics that are designed specifically for administrators: Read More »

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