Last night I had a phone conversation with a car rental customer service rep (CSR) which went somewhat like this:
Me - Hi, I’d like to rent a compact car for this Saturday in Toronto.
CSR- Your name?
Me- Do you have a car available?
CSR-I need your name first.
Me- Sure. Now can you tell me if I can get a car?
CSR- Address, street name, postal code please.
Me-Here, now can you tell me about availability?
CSR- Phone number please.
And so this went on till I was finally told that they didn’t have a car due to the busy summer season.
Me-AARGGGH (to self)!!!!
Does this resonate with you? While I do empathize with customer service reps--questioning provides customer insights to pass on special deals; like you, I also appreciate finding out first if a service is available.
So I would like to share two tips to help make that move to 64-bit SAS. For the past few weeks my colleagues and I have been busy testing data for our programming classes (SAS programming, SQL, macro language courses, etc.) using 64-bit SAS on a 64-bit windows 7 machine. Luckily, SAS complains in the log so we’d know right away whether or not the service was available.
32-bit and 64-bit refer to the way a computer's processor (CPU), handles information. 32-bit hardware and software limited you to 4GB of RAM. With 64-bit hardware and software, we can access memory greater than 4GB. This is good news for SAS datasets that take up huge memory.
Think of the CPU in terms of our brain –as if it can suddenly hold 20 checklists where it used to hold 10. (By the way, that’s an unfair comparison because research says the brain can hold huge capacity-think of how you can recognize people you’ve met only once or songs that you learnt in your childhood which come back later in life. They say the average brain can hold up to 100 million megabytes in memory).
Moving from 32 to 64 bit, a.k.a. Why is SAS doing this to us?
This is not a SAS choice alone-- industry is headed this way, as described in this awesome article. Any new hardware you get will probably be 64-bit. So your move to 64-bit SAS will let you use software designed for 64-bit.
What are some changes to be aware of?
1. Both the EXCEL & ACCESS engines which are 32-bit have been replaced with the PCFILES engine on 64-bit SAS. So your libname statement in a windows environment on 64-bit SAS for an Excel or Access database may need a slight change.
libname custfm pcfiles path='s:workshopcustfm.xls';
libname myfile pcfiles path=’s:workshopmyfile.mdb’;
2. Data created with 32-bit SAS is deemed foreign in 64-bit SAS. You can overcome some compatibility issues by migrating datasets. Here’s a handy PROC MIGRATE calculator.
libname data_32 'S:Workshop';
libname data_64 'S:Workshop64bit'; /*64bit folder created to save migrated data*/
proc migrate out=data_64 in=data_32;
libname _all_ clear;
libname data_64 'S:Workshop64bit';
My apologies, I know my blog is supposed to be about SAS programming, not the technical hardware side of things. But 64-bit does impact our programming world in a few ways and I just wanted to make readers aware of trends and possibilities. Now you know that you can also try testing in your environment with confidence—knowing that SAS will tell you right away whether a service is supported or not!