SAS Global Forum 2015—content available now!

This is an exciting and busy time for the SAS Global Forum 2015 content and delivery teams. They have worked hard to finalize the content, enhance your scheduling experience and ensure that attendees have access to as much of the conference content as possible. Please set aside some time in the coming weeks to view the hundreds of offerings in areas spanning from Data Mining and Sports Analytics to SAS Administration.
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How to perform a fuzzy match using SAS functions

SAS Technical Support Problem Solvers“Here’s Johnny!!!” and well sometimes John and sometimes Jonathan and sometimes Jon.

In the real world, you sometimes need to make matching character strings more flexible. This is especially common when merging data sets. Variables, especially names, are not always exactly the same in all sources of your data. When matching data, you need to be able to programmatically determine if ‘John Doe’ is the same as ‘Johnny Doe’. The term most often associated with this type of matching is ‘fuzzy matching’. Fortunately within SAS, there are several functions that allow you to perform a fuzzy match. I’ll show you the most common of these functions and then I will show you an example that uses my favorite from this list. Read More »

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Need test data? Use SAS to extract it from these surprising sources

Everyone is always looking for test data. Business analysts want it for demos and prototypes. Software developers want it for development and unit testing. Testers want it for system and integration testing.

I’ve written many programs to generate test data over the years, as have many other SAS users. Generated data can be great, but it’s always nice to have real data when you can get it. It demos better. It highlights issues better (Believe me, real people will enter things you never dreamed of including in your generated data). It even helps you be a better software designer since you can actually look at real data and react to what you’re seeing.

So how do you get real data when individuals, businesses and organizations are increasingly protective of it? Read More »

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SAS timer - the key to writing efficient SAS code

New Year to me is always a stark reminder of the inexorability of Time. In a day-to-day life, time is measured in small denominations - minutes, hours, days… But come New Year, and this inescapable creature – Time – makes its decisive leap – and in a single instant, we become officially older and wiser by the entire year’s worth.

What’s a better time to re-assess ourselves, personally and professionally! What’s a better time to Resolve to improve your SAS programming skills, as skillfully crafted by Michael A. Raithel in his recent blog post.

I thought I could write a post showing how to be efficient and kill two birds with one stone.  The birds here are two New Year’s Raithel’s proposed resolutions:

#2 Volunteer to help junior SAS programmers.

#12 Reduce processing time by writing more efficient programs.

To combine the two, I could have titled this post “Helping junior SAS programmers to reduce processing time by writing more efficient programs”. However, I am not going to “teach” you efficient coding techniques which are a subject deserving of a multi-volume treatise. I will just give you a simple tool that is a must-have for any SAS programmer (not just junior) who considers writing efficient SAS code important. This simple tool has been the ultimate judge of any code’s efficiency and it is called timer. Read More »

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Cloud: 4 deployment models

cloud4modelsThis is the last of my series of posts on the NIST definition of cloud computing. As you can see from this Wikipedia definition, calling anything a “cloud” is likely to be the fuzziest way of describing it.

In meteorology, a cloud is a visible mass of liquid droplets or frozen crystals made of water or various chemicals suspended in the atmosphere above the surface of a planetary body. These suspended particles are also known as aerosols and are studied in the cloud physics branch of meteorology.

Not that there is anything wrong with the label “cloud”--it’s a shortcut that allows us to quickly convey an idea. But for anything beyond that, when talking about functionality, we would be well advised to define and describe “cloud” in as much detail as possible so that all people involved have the same picture in their mind, and not whatever it is they think of when they think of “cloud”.

The NIST definitions help us narrow down features, functionality and models, but those are still only broad categories that leave certain gaps in which misunderstandings can easily sprout. I encourage you to use these definitions, but also to go further and describe cloud architectures by using terms that are as precise as possible.

In recent posts, I talked about the five characteristics of cloud, as well as the three service models. In this final installment of the series, I will discuss the four cloud deployment models. Read More »

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SAS Grid Manager, shared-nothing storage and Hadoop: Part 1

When designing a SAS Grid Manager architecture, there is a requirement that has always been a critical component: a clustered file system. Over the years, vendors have released versions of these systems that are more robust and SAS has increased the minimum IO requirements, but the basic design has never changed—until now.

Any guess who the driver of this change could be? I heard a yellow elephant somewhere? Yes, Hadoop, but not only! File systems are now available that support SAS Grid computing in other shared-nothing storage architectures.

Let’s take a step back to understand how new file system options can facilitate your SAS Grid deployment. In this post, I’ll start with a quick review of storage architectures for SAS Grid Manager and what other vendors are doing. In a subsequent blog post, I’ll dive more specifically into the interaction of Hadoop and SAS Grid Manager. Read More »

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When to use NFS with SAS

With the growing use of SAS on commodity hardware, many organizations are running lots of SAS servers on separate instances of operating system in a SAS infrastructure. This configuration is great for optimizing resources, but when these SAS servers have to share data, then SAS recommends the use of a clustered file system.

This recommendation presents an issue for some companies. Because clustered file systems are not part of their standard operating system, it is an additional expense. So, to avoid driving up the cost of the hardware infrastructure for SAS, some IT administrators are proposing the use of NFS to share files among the SAS servers running on different instances of an operating system. Let’s look in more detail at the pros and cons for NFS as a shared file system with SAS. Read More »

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SAS Global Forum: I want to volunteer!

Most of us have volunteered in some capacity -- as a guinea pig in a magic show, as a helping hand with a charity, or perhaps as a coach for a child’s sports team. Why do we do it?

I think the cliché holds true. We get as much, or more, benefit from the experience as the people we are helping. We feel better about ourselves, we make new friends, and we expand our comfort zone or learn something new. Sometimes we are “giving back” to an organization that previously helped us--we “pay it forward”. At other times, we simply want to spend time with other volunteers.

Volunteers advance much of society’s support services. But what about volunteering for professional organizations, societies, associations or communities? They rely on volunteers too. Read More »

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SAS Backup and Recovery Tool

In researching material for an upcoming project, I investigated the SAS Deployment Backup and Recovery Tool available in SAS 9.4. Here are some of my findings on identifying what directories are included in a Backup and Recovery session and how to add custom directories to a backup configuration.

The SAS Backup and Recovery Tool is designed to provide an integrated method for backing up and recovering your SAS content across multiple tiers and machines. Note that this utility is a system-wide tool. It’s intended to back up an entire environment as opposed to a single machine in a multi-machine deployment. Read More »

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SAS Global Forum: Give back, become more

Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.
- Anthony Robbins

Every year at SAS Global Forum, SAS professionals from all over the globe gather, reconnect and learn from each other. And wherever they gather, SAS Global Forum attendees demonstrate their appreciation for the opportunity to become more by giving back to the host community.

December is the season of giving. In that spirit, let's take a look at how SAS Global Forum 2015 will be giving back to the community of Dallas. Read More »

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