When organizations move to the SAS Cloud, SAS takes care of the design and delivery of software, infrastructure and services so that our customers can focus on using analytics to solve business challenges and see a quick return on investment. That’s where Michael Watson and his team of Technical Architects come in. Michael leads the Architecture Services team for SAS Cloud, and they ensure that a customer's move to the SAS Cloud is well planned out.
Smoothing the transition to SAS Cloud
Michael and his team of technical architects are there to help deliver the SAS platform to customers. “Whether that’s supporting the planning of brand new SAS deployments, disaster recovery solutions, system migrations, or upgrades to the latest SAS platform, we have in-depth knowledge on how to optimize SAS storage and compute services and workloads in the cloud, helping to make that transition as smooth as possible” says Michael. This ensures customers pay for the optimal hardware for their specific needs rather than purchasing hardware that either sits idle or isn’t sufficient.
Michael and his team have wide technical expertise covering a range of SAS platforms and solutions. To extend that knowledge, the team works closely with business development teams, who bring domain expertise for a well-rounded customer experience for those transitioning from on-premises, or new clients looking to move their analytics to the SAS Cloud.
Michael and team work on service design and delivery patterns at the pre-sales stage, supporting customers with unique requirements that need customization. “Customer engagements with the architecture team are global in nature and usually span multiple weeks due to the complex, technical nature of the interactions” says Michael.
As technical architecture experts, the team is less involved with general deployment and function of the SAS Platform, and more involved in supporting non-functional requirements, like security and capacity challenges for the environment. Security is always key for customers moving to the cloud, so the architecture services team provide integrated security solutions for the entire SAS solution.
“For new customers there's also a capacity challenge to deal with," says Michael. "Once the customer is up and running in their SAS Cloud environment, they then need to get data into the SAS solution to perform their analytics. That data will scale and grow over time, so we handle all the challenges associated with connecting to data sources, bringing them into the SAS Cloud or supporting managing data in the customers’ own environment. We can advise how much storage is required, database capacity, as well as the data delivery technology used to feed the analytic run times hosted with the SAS platform” says Michael. The team also supports capacity concerns post sale as consulting engagements.
Traditionally, a hosted managed service included a set architecture that stays with the customer throughout the contract. The latest release of SAS Viya embraces cloud-native practices, so the architecture services team can architect for automatic scaling and bursting, and they’re looking forward to offering that to customers in the SAS Cloud.
“Going forward, technical architecture will rely more on the platform, with less time spent on reinventing foundational infrastructure, giving us time to focus on those non-functional areas that customers want,” says Michael. "This positions the team to better plan for new releases, future solutions and the more specialized product portfolio, maintaining our status as specialist technical architects supporting solutions in the SAS Cloud."