Passcode security for SAS Mobile BI

Passcode security for SAS Mobile BIMobile devices travel with humans pretty much anywhere that humans want to go. Unlike desktop computers that stay fixed and grounded within brick and mortar walls, mobile devices are used in all sorts of locales – offices, homes, cars, planes, swimming pools, soccer fields, movie theaters – the list goes on. So, it’s no surprise that your SAS administrator would want to protect SAS Visual Analytics reports that are viewed from the SAS Mobile BI 7.33 app running on mobile devices.

Several security strategies are available for SAS Mobile BI users. Let’s take a look at how passcode security, along with Touch ID for Apple devices, protects access to the app.

Required vs. Optional Passcode

There are two ways to apply passcode protection to SAS Mobile BI. Your administrator can enforce a passcode requirement for the server where the SAS Visual Analytics reports reside. On the server, this is done by enabling the Require Passcode on Mobile Devices capability and adding users as members of the group that is required to create and use a passcode for accessing SAS Mobile BI.

If a passcode is not required by your administrator, you can create an optional passcode to protect access to the app on your mobile device. In either scenario, if your mobile device is used by someone other than you, then you have the peace of mind that only you can access SAS Mobile BI by entering your passcode.

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Who ya gonna contact? Customer Contact Center!

SASCaresDo you need help finding product information or navigating the SAS website or options for getting started with SAS? Do you need, information about course availability and registrations, training discounts, and certifications? Would access to sample code be helpful? How about, event-related support, assistance identifying and connecting with the right person at SAS, or maybe just someone to listen to your feedback and ensure it is shared with the appropriate parties within SAS?  The Customer Contact Center can help with these and more!

When customers are looking for information from their business partners, they want the ability to self-serve or receive quick assistance. We recognized that it was not always easy for our customers to find information or reach the right person here at SAS. To help in this regard, we empowered our Customer Contact Center to provide consistent frontline support across inbound channels. We also streamlined our 1-800 phone lines and expanded our customer service resources all with the goal of better serving our customers.

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Testing EMC Storage and Veritas shared file systems

Testing EMC Storage and Veritas shared file systemsIn my current role I have the privilege of managing the Performance Lab in SAS R&D. Helping users work through performance challenges is a critical part of the Lab’s mission. This spring, my team has been actively testing new and enhanced storage arrays from EMC along with the Veritas clustered file system.  We have documented our findings on the SAS Usage note 42197 “List of Useful Papers.”

The two different flash based storages we tested from EMC are the new DSSD D5 appliance and XtremIO array.  The bottom line: both storages performed very nicely with a mixed analytics workload.  For more details on the results of the testing along with the tuning guidelines for using SAS with this storage, please review these papers:

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Tips for working with Color Names, Formats, Macros, ODS, Excel®, and PROC REPORT

Color Names, Formats, Macros, ODS, Excel®, and PROC REPORTNot too long ago I had a report generation request from an Alaska state agency. The request had some very specific requirements that detailed the use of user defined colors (by name), data driven control of the report, and Excel delivery using ODS and PROC REPORT. Along the way I had to: determine what colors are known to SAS by name; develop a user tool for color selection that would feed uniformly into a data driven table; construct formats based on the data that would match the user selected colors to specific types of report cells; and deliver the report using Excel. The process was interesting enough that it has resulted in two papers, which I will present at WUSS, September 7-9 in San Francisco.

In these two papers the process for discovering how to name, select, and display the colors is described. Formats are built from the color names and the reported data (DATA steps with two SET statements are used to perform a data merge). Traffic lighting is used is used at the cell level in PROC REPORT, and the whole process is driven by macros. Talk about a fun project! For those of you unable to join me in San Francisco for the full talk, here are two quick tips on how to do this.

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Two steps to update your SAS License and check if it is updated

One of the jobs of SAS Administrators is keeping the SAS license current.  In the past, all you needed to do was update the license for Foundation SAS and  you were done. This task can be performed by selecting the Renew SAS Software option in the SAS Deployment Manager.

More recently, many SAS solutions require an additional step which updates the license information in metadata. The license information is stored in metadata so that middle-tier applications can access it in order to check whether the license is valid. Not all solutions require that the SAS Installation Data file (SID) file be stored in metadata, however the list of solutions that do require it is growing and includes SAS Visual Analytics. For a full list you can check this SASNOTE. To update the license information in metadata, run the SAS Deployment Manager and select Update SID File in Metadata.

Recently, I performed a license renewal for a Visual Analytics environment. A couple of days later it occurred to me that I might not have performed the update of the SID file in metadata. That prompted the obvious question: how do I check the status of my license file in metadata?

To check the status of a SAS Foundation license you can use PROC setinit. PROC setinit will return the details of the SAS license in the SAS log.

proc setinit;run;

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Will your favorite Game of Thrones character survive next season?

Bellagio Hotel for Analytics ExperienceFirst it was the patriarch of my favorite family. That shocking Red Wedding scene meant I could cross off several more characters I’d grown to love. When the season finale of Season 5 left me asking if we’d lost yet another one of my favorites, I wasn’t sure how much more I could take.

Of course, I’m talking about the often surprising deaths of some of our favorite characters in HBO’s wildly popular series Game of Thrones. If you’re a fan of the show you know that no one, regardless of how important they are to the storyline, is safe from an untimely demise.

Though I’ve grown somewhat accustomed to saying goodbye, it sure would be nice to know the likelihood a particular character will live or die, just so I can prepare for the heartache in advance if need be. Thankfully, Taylor Larkin, a student at the University of Alabama, thinks survival data mining can help. He plans to show us how in an e-poster he'll present at this year’s Analytics Experience conference, September 12 – 14 at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas.

Using plot points from the books the TV series is based on, along with survival data mining using the Survival node in SAS® Enterprise Miner™ 13.1, Larkin has created an analysis that estimates the probabilities popular Game of Thrones characters will survive through time. His research was inspired by the analysis and datasets created by Olin College Computer Science Professor Allen Downey and some of his students, who used Bayesian survival analysis to do something similar.

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Four ways to conduct a web search for business terms with SAS Business Data Network

SAS Business Data Network is SAS’ solution for managing glossaries of common business terms. This is part of the SAS Data Governance offering as well as bundled with Advanced versions of all SAS Data Management bundles. One thing that is important regarding Data Governance in general, and this solution in particular, is the ability to search for terms. SAS Business Data Network provides a web search that is sometimes overlooked, but can be used in different ways to help you derive meaning and context from your data. Let’s take a look.

1 – Use a URL to get to the main web page

The main URL that brings you to the SAS Business Data Network Search page is http://<host>/SASBusinessDataNetwork/search

Conduct a web search for business terms with SAS Business Data Network

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Using an alternate Quality Knowledge Base (QKB) in a DataFlux Data Management Studio data job

In DataFlux Data Management Studio, the predominate component of the SAS Data Quality bundle, the data quality nodes in a data job use definitions from something called the SAS Quality Knowledge Base (QKB). The QKB supports over 25 languages and provides a set of pre-built rules, definitions and reference data that conduct operations such as parsing, standardizing and fuzzy matching to help you cleanse your data.  The QKB comes with pre-built definitions for both customer and product data and allows for customization and addition of rules to accommodate new data types and rules specific to your business. (You can learn more about the QKB here.)

Sometimes you may want to work with an alternate QKB installation that contains different definitions within the same data job. For example, your default QKB may be the Contact Information QKB; however, in your data flow you may want to use a definition that exists in the Product Data QKB.  These data quality nodes have the BF_PATH attribute as part of their Advanced Properties enabling you to do this.
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Build your PROC TEMPLATE muscles: Using the COMPUTE AS and TRANSLATE INTO statements

ProblemSolversWhen you work out, you probably have a routine set of exercises that you do. But if you read health-and-fitness websites or talk to a personal trainer, you know that for optimal fitness, you should vary your workout routine. Not only does adding variety to your fitness regime help you prevent injuries, it also helps build muscles by working different parts of your body. For example, if you’re a runner, you could add weights or another resistance workout once or twice a week. If you are a weight lifter, you might add yoga or Pilates to your repertoire to enhance your personal fitness. In a similar way, it can be beneficial for you as a SAS programmer to vary your coding methods by trying new things.

SAS programmers very often use the TEMPLATE procedure to create style templates that use the CLASS and STYLE statements. I am going to help you bulk up your PROC TEMPLATE muscles by showing you how to use the COMPUTE AS and TRANSLATE INTO statements to alter the structure of tables via table definitions.

The COMPUTE AS statement helps you create or modify columns of data. You can use this statement to create a column from raw data (similar to what you can do with the REPORT procedure), or you can use it with an existing table template. The following example uses a PROC TEMPLATE step that illustrates the former. This example uses an existing data set (the CARS data set that is shipped in the SASHELP library) and computes an average-miles-per-gallon variable called MPG_AVG:

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About LASR Load Balancing

The Distributed SAS 9.4 LASR Analytic Server provides a massively parallel processing solution for working very quickly with huge volumes of data. LASR was built from its earliest invocations to provide for incredible scalability and growth. One of the primary criteria which drives the considerations of scalability is load management. And LASR was built with a very specific principle to deal with managing load. LASR architecture assumes maximum efficiency is achieved when each node of the cluster is identical in terms of CPU, RAM, data to process, and other ancillary processes. LASR’s approach to load management gives external forces the ability to affect performance. So let’s look at some of the considerations we should all know about.

Load management in LASR is based on the assumption that all host machines are equal – that is each host has the same number and kind of CPUs, same RAM, same OS, and same ongoing workload as all the other hosts which are participating in the cluster. So with all those things set, there is only one item left to manage LASR’s workload: distribution of the data. With everything being equal on our hosts, then we want to distribute the data equally to each of the LASR Workers so that when they’re given an analytic job to perform, each of them can do the same tasks on the same amount of data and therefore finish in the same elapsed time.

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