At SAS Explore 2023, Bryan Harris (SAS CTO) and Susan Owenby (head of the SAS 9 division in R&D) appeared on main stage with a strong message about the future of SAS 9. From my conversations with attendees afterward, it seems clear that this is exactly what many customers have been waiting for.
- SAS 9 will be available to our customers as they transition to SAS Viya.
- SAS is investing in SAS 9 with the creation of the SAS 9 division. The SAS 9 division comprises developers, testers and product managers, all devoted to keeping SAS 9 relevant and its customers productive with their platform.
- SAS released SAS 9.4 Maintenance 8 (SAS 9.4M8) in early 2023. The team releases SAS 9.4 quarterly security updates and fixes as needed.
- There will be future releases of SAS 9. The SAS software support policy promises standard support for a release for 5 years from its general-availability date. For SAS 9.4M8, that puts standard support to January 2028. With more SAS 9 releases on the horizon, support for SAS 9 will move forward beyond that for many years to come.
You can watch the announcements for yourself in the SAS Explore on-demand experience.
Building a bridge to SAS Viya
Even with this focus on SAS 9, SAS is not letting up on our attention to SAS Viya. The SAS Viya platform has monthly releases and is where most new innovation takes place. However, the move to SAS Viya from SAS 9 can be a big project, and SAS continues to build new tools and processes to help customers assess and migrate their analytics work to the more modern platform.
As part of this effort, Bryan and Susan announced that SAS Enterprise Guide will soon be able to connect to a SAS Viya 4 environment. This is a change from previous direction, and is a direct result of customer feedback. Up until now, SAS Enterprise Guide was tethered to SAS 9 only, because SAS Studio (with its many enhancements) has been the deluxe coding interface for SAS Viya. SAS Studio is still the best environment to leverage SAS Viya features, but soon you will be able to use SAS Enterprise Guide as a bridge to leverage your existing projects and code workflows as you adopt SAS Viya.
SAS programmers are spoiled for choice
In addition to these SAS 9 announcements, SAS Explore featured the premier of SAS Viya Workbench, a light-weight cloud-native coding environment for developers using SAS, Python, and eventually R. These are all native code experiences that leverage the SAS Viya platform with your favorite programming language. SAS Viya Workbench allows you to use VS Code, Jupyter Notebooks, and even SAS Enterprise Guide for your coding experience. Read more about these technology announcements in this news release.
And if you love VS Code (I do), you can use the SAS extension for VS Code right now to manage and view your SAS programs, while connecting to SAS Viya or SAS 9 environments to run programs and view results.