Companies look to the SAS Cloud and SAS Managed Application Services experts to ensure improved time to value for their analytic solutions.
A large part of that value is keeping your data safe and secure in the SAS Cloud because let’s face it: Analytic solutions are only as good as the data stored in them. That’s where Randy Wilcox and Ken Persson come in to help you with their respective SAS Cloud teams: the data platforms team and the extract, transform and load (ETL) operations team.
Randy’s data platform team is comprised of RDBMS and non-traditional data platform experts (including Oracle, SQL Server, Hadoop, Kafka and many others). His team works closely with the global storage and strategic recovery teams, which both support SAS Cloud in their global service offerings. This includes more than 1000 databases, 50+ Hadoop and Kafka implementations, petabytes of storage -- and a team that backs this all up.
Ken’s ETL operations team works closely with the data platform teams, helping populate databases in the SAS Cloud. According to Ken, the team has two primary objectives: “The first is standard data management, helping customers get their data into the SAS Cloud, included as part of our standard agreements. The other objective is automation, whether that’s focused on the initial data load, or automating the movement of customer data within the cloud or getting it out of the cloud back into the customers’ hands” says Ken. His team facilitates the final landing location within the cloud, without having to stress the infrastructure, ultimately easing the flow of data for the customer.
Managing the data lifecycle
The first step of managing customers' data is enabling the transmission of the data to the SAS Cloud. This includes transmissions of files, linking databases, or connecting cloud to cloud. These operations are included as standard for all SAS Cloud customers and include dependency checks verifying where data is landing in the system when being imported. There are also monitoring and alerting notifications in place for those data management responsibilities, with the team providing troubleshooting and support to quickly and efficiently resolve any issues.
The next step is loading the data. Customers often look to a partner or professional services team to construct automation to load the data per customer and product requirements. Many of the ETL operations teams' standard tools were developed over years of collaboration with these teams to support data delivery.
“We look to meet customer needs and integrate solutions into a standard package for all of our SAS Cloud customers to ensure consistency and expedient support.”
- Ken Persson, SAS Cloud ETL Team Manager
These standardizations include:
- Batch monitoring tools
- File transfer tools
- Custom log monitoring tools
- Performance monitoring and ticket integration tools
- File retention and alerting tools
Finally, we have delivery of the data. This typically includes results via the SAS solutions interface, files exported for the customer's in-house system, direct connections to the data by the customer systems, or transmission of the entire data set for archiving or regulatory purposes for the customer.
Data management in the SAS Cloud
The data has been received, loaded, analyzed and results have been provided. There's much more that happens with data in typical environments, including ad-hoc analysis and usage by the customer and project, along with management and archiving based on customer or regulatory requirements. The data must be secure, must be accessible by authorized users and meet their performance requirements.
This all starts with monitoring. We monitor all systems to maintain operational availability. Other monitoring options include data access auditing, batch job management and reporting, along with customer ticket management. This results in a full-service, IT service management-based, customer-centered approach to holistically managing the entire environment, along with the needs of the project and management of the data.
SAS Cloud hosting uses the most advanced hardware to run SAS software, along with other supporting software products. This allows us to provide for advanced availability, accessibility in a variety of methods suited to our customers and provides the performance demanded by SAS users.
Data security is our top priority, and data is secured in the SAS Cloud using a variety of methods, including encryption at rest and in transit, fine-grained access control and tenant isolation. For more information, please read our white paper: Security in the SAS Cloud.
How is customer satisfaction measured?
The SAS Cloud ETL operations team's primary measure of success is customer confidence, achieved through consistent incident and service support, along with a focus on continuous improvement and eliminating any issues from re-occurring. For Ken and the ETL operations team it's more about solving issues for the customer before there's any operational impact.
The data platform team looks at more obvious success measures, such as data security, availability and resilience as part of the SAS Cloud Service Level Agreements. “By applying knowledge from past projects to help improve performance and quality of new solutions, we can really help customers modernize their data integrations to SAS Cloud, with special attention placed on cost-effective streaming and real-time processing of data options,” says Randy.