Performance-enhancing SAS notes


With the London 2012 Olympics around the corner, there are sure to be reports or rumors of performance-enhancing drug use among some athletes. It turns out that using manufactured chemicals to give yourself an edge is frowned upon in the athletic community.

However, as a SAS user you should avail yourself of any technique that provides a performance advantage, and often this comes in the form of tweaking SAS system options and optimizing the file I/O on your operating system.

These two SAS notes offer specific guidance for the best throughput and speed. These recommendations are backed by solid research from SAS tech support and R&D:

Special hat-tip to my colleague Margaret Crevar (from the SAS R&D Performance Lab) for bringing these notes to my attention. View her recent SAS Talks webinar for more performance best practices.


About Author

Chris Hemedinger

Director, SAS User Engagement

+Chris Hemedinger is the Director of SAS User Engagement, which includes our SAS Communities and SAS User Groups. Since 1993, Chris has worked for SAS as an author, a software developer, an R&D manager and a consultant. Inexplicably, Chris is still coasting on the limited fame he earned as an author of SAS For Dummies


  1. Any additional information on setting these to higher values where the platform supports it?

    For example my MEMSIZE was 2GB.

  2. Chris,
    We are about to install SAS9.4 Foundation on a Windows 2008 Server Enterprise R2 in a virtual environment. The servers only have 16GB of memory with 2 cores and they are used VERY heavily. What perfomance settings, like memsize, sortsize, etc... etc... do you recommend?

    Also, is there any documentation on these perfomance settings for 9.4 anywhere?


    • Chris Hemedinger
      Chris Hemedinger on

      Marc, I don't have any other specific recommendations other than what the SAS notes already provide. I don't know that these recommendations have changed for SAS 9.4. Since I/O is most likely the biggest constraint, you might run some tests with SASIOTEST.EXE (in your SAS installation folder) to see how your system performs. Run it from a command prompt to see the options available. SAS Technical Support can provide guidance if needed.

      I think that the recommended system for SAS 9.4 on Windows Server is a minimum of 4 cores. It can probably work okay with 2, but you might need to tune a bit. Like any system, the performance will depend on how many users and what they are doing.

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