Cloud computing and containerization are two technologies that directly impact a CIO's core responsibilities: delivering IT services efficiently and effectively for the business.  

Beyond their technical implications, these technologies represent a strategic shift toward meeting business needs for agility, scalability and faster innovation.

Striking a balance between opportunities and challenges 

CIOs often weigh opportunities against the challenges and risks of new technologies and methods. Although cloud computing drives innovation, boosts productivity and strengthens businesses, it can also inflate costs. SAS’ CIO Jay Upchurch recently highlighted five focus areas in his trend analysis for other CIOs, one of which is FinOps.

FinOps is a financial management approach that maximizes the cloud. It uses the cloud's flexible pricing to optimize spending. By providing processes, metrics and automation, FinOps empowers IT to take control, ensuring the cloud isn't just an expensive data center.

Keeping an eye on costs even as analytics workloads soar 

Advanced analytics platforms are the workhorses of any data-driven organization and are power-hungry beasts. They require significant processing muscle to crunch massive data sets, run complex algorithms for tasks like real-time recommendations and generate clear visualizations for users. Without this power, these platforms would struggle to keep up with the demands of multiple users and deliver valuable insights that fuel better business decisions.

The move from on-premises setups to the cloud is being driven by many factors, including cost containment. The cloud’s on-demand, scalable processing power allows analytics platforms to flexibly adjust to the changing data volume and workload needs.

The cloud eliminates the hefty upfront hardware costs and offers a pay-as-you-go model. Pre-configured cloud environments accelerate innovation by offering quicker deployment and easier experimentation with new analytics tools and algorithms.

Securing the future by preventing vendor lock-in 

Vendor lock-in happens when an organization becomes dependent on a single cloud provider. This can be due to using proprietary services or having data formatted in a way that's difficult to move to another platform. To future-proof IT strategies, leaders must prioritize designing for portability.

Containers are crucial in achieving portability as they encapsulate the entire platform's code and settings. This portability enables seamless deployment across cloud environments, minimizing compatibility issues. Additionally, containers are resource-efficient compared to traditional methods, allowing the platform to run on smaller cloud instances. Developers can easily update individual parts within containers, streamlining development and speeding up innovation for advanced analytics.

Also, container orchestration platforms are specifically designed to manage and automate containerized applications' deployment, scaling and networking. They are usually built on top of Kubernetes, the industry-standard open source container orchestration platform. They have orchestration capabilities and features like service discovery, load balancing and health checks, which are essential for managing containerized applications at scale.

By using containerization and orchestration, organizations can avoid vendor lock-in and maintain flexibility in their IT infrastructure.

Getting peak analytics performance at optimum flexibility 

Since the launch of SAS® Viya® in 2020, SAS has offered a fully containerized analytics platform based on a cloud-native architecture. Due to the scale of the platform, SAS Viya requires Kubernetes as an underlying runtime environment and takes full advantage of the native benefits of this technology.

SAS supports numerous Kubernetes distributions, commonly offered as managed services by major public cloud vendors. However, it has always been imperative for SAS to offer an enterprise-grade Kubernetes that can be operated on-premises as well, as many SAS customers still prefer to run their application infrastructure in a private cloud environment.

Red Hat OpenShift provides a solid foundation for the SAS Viya software stack in these cases. OpenShift offers both a hardened Kubernetes with many highly valued enterprise features as an execution platform and an extensive ecosystem focusing on supporting DevSecOps capabilities.

With the Red Hat OpenShift Service on AWS (“ROSA”), Red Hat brings the advantages of OpenShift to the public clouds. ROSA is a fully managed turnkey application platform that allows organizations to increase operational efficiency, refocus on innovation, and quickly build, deploy, and scale applications in a native AWS environment.

Utilizing SAS Viya on ROSA helps you to take advantage of running in the public cloud. It also helps you take advantage of a fully managed Kubernetes platform jointly supported and operated by Red Hat and AWS.

SAS has recently updated the support statement around Red Hat OpenShift. SAS Viya can now be successfully deployed and supported on most x86_64 platforms where OpenShift can be used. This includes managed and self-managed OpenShift with on-premises and public cloud platforms, including bare metal, OpenShift Virtualization, VMware vSphere, Azure, AWS and Red Hat OpenShift Service on AWS (ROSA) and on public clouds.

Taking a strategic long-view approach 

The insights shared here are not just clarifications; they’re integral to a roadmap for aligning SAS Viya deployment on Kubernetes and Red Hat OpenShift on AWS with strategic objectives. They can help you fully use cloud-native benefits and position your organization at the forefront of innovation and operational efficiency. By engaging in this vital conversation, decision makers can navigate their teams through the evolving landscape of analytics and cloud computing, ensuring a future where data insights drive progress and transformation.

We'll be talking about cloud computing and containerization strategies at SAS Innovate in Las Vegas. Sign up now for the SAS Innovate live stream to learn more.

Roger Burns and Abhilash P.A contributed to this article


About Author

Hans-Joachim Edert

Advisory Business Solutions Manager

Hans has been supporting SAS customers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland as a Presales Consultant and Solutions Architect since he joined SAS in 2002. Currently he is working in an international team of architects and DevOps engineers which takes care for the EMEA region. His work is focused on Enterprise Architecture, Kubernetes and cloud technologies.

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