What's next for SAS 9 and SAS Enterprise Guide?


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.

To summarize what was announced on stage (and note, I have updated this list in March 2024 to reflect latest progress and announcements):

  • 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. The next full maintenance release (SAS 9.4M9) is planned for 1H2025.
  • 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. Assuming the planned SAS 9.4M9 sticks to schedule, that update would put standard support into 2030. With more SAS 9 releases on the horizon, support for SAS 9 will move forward beyond that for many years to come.

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. (And, as of March 2024, this is now available as SAS Enterprise Guide 8.4!) 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 can 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.


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. That's interesting. SAS 9.4 is still stuck in the 1990s needing to run in "compatibility mode" for Windows 8, Microsoft's biggest screw-up since ever. Opening files in SAS 9.4 feels like Windows 3.1, as does the toolbar and menu with all it's seriously obsolete "functions". Well, hello SAS, it's not the 1990s any longer. Get out of hibernation and update SAS, so you might be able to get some of the customers back that you lost during the past 25+ years due to negligence. Gone are the days when Universities subscribed to SAS when it was still state-of-the-art.

    • Chris Hemedinger
      Chris Hemedinger on

      Hi Frank - thanks for the comment. It's true that the SAS display manager interface (full SAS install on Windows) has not changed much in recent years. SAS has instead created modern interfaces for SAS users in SAS Enterprise Guide, SAS Studio within SAS Viya, and also brought the coding experience to VS Code -- which many new programmers prefer. Still, SAS 9.4 (base interface) has lots of users who depend on it, and it continues to get updates to keep it compatible with modern operating systems on Windows and Linux.

  2. Dr. Jessica Ting on

    Hi Chris,
    We enjoy using SAS EG but we are looking forward to move to SAS Viya. So, this is really good news that SAS EG will soon be able to connect to a SAS Viya 4 environment. Do you have any idea about the actual release date? I expect this should be compatible with old EG project (such as egp in version 7.1). Is my expectation too high?

    • Chris Hemedinger
      Chris Hemedinger on

      Hi Jessica, the current release timeline is end of Q12024. The release will be called SAS Enterprise Guide 8.4, and it will be the same features/functions that exist today except for the addition of being able to connect to SAS Viya (as well as continued support for SAS 9 environments). You can read your EG projects from earlier versions, but once converted to a later release of EG the projects cannot be used in the earlier versions. As always, we recommend keeping backup versions if you have a mixed environment of different EG versions.

  3. The "What’s New in SAS 9.4 Guide to Software Updates" mentions SAS terminated support for Geocode July 2023. What does this mean exactly? I am using PROC GEOCODE today for street-level geocoding using US Census shapefiles on SAS 9.4M8, and it seems to be working. It's after July, obviously.

  4. Bonjour,
    Est ce qu'on peut utiliser le setinit qui définit la fin de SAS cette année pour les prochaines années ?

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