How to document your SAS environment

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You’ve just started a new job as SAS administrator, and there’s no documentation. How do you know which SAS products are installed? Where they are deployed?  Where do the data and programs reside?

Brian Varney tells us that SAS administrators often run into undocumented environments whenever they begin working in a new organization, migrating existing applications to new platforms, training users, or troubleshooting problems.  During the recent SouthEastern SAS Users Group conference, Varney offered these tips on where to start looking for needed information: 

Which products?
Varney reminds us that licensed products aren’t always the same as installed products! It turns out, some organizations may not install all the SAS products they’ve licensed, so be sure you obtain a list of both.

To find a list of the licensed products, the first place to look is your SAS Software Depot. Whether the organization downloaded licenses from the Web or obtained DVDs, you’ll find a Software Depot installed on the server. It will contain two files that lists the software in your Depot and provides information about your license.  

Another familiar option is to run the SETINIT procedure with the NOALIAS option to obtain a report on the software licensed, its expiration dates, grace periods and other useful information.

For a report of the software products you actually have installed and their version numbers, Varney suggests running the PRODUCT_STATUS procedure.

Where and how are products deployed?
Your SAS product configuration can be difficult and time-consuming to track down, depending on the complexity of the environment. Simpler environments may have all products and important software elements deployed on a single server, while planned environments with multiple servers may require looking in a number of places for these pieces.

On a single server environment, run the OPTIONS procedure with the LONG option to produce a listing of locations for files such as WORK libraries, HELP files, AUTOEXEC files, any configuration files, and SASROOT or SASHOME.

For a planned installation, look for the SAS Lev 1 configuration directory that has all the information about your SAS environment. You’ll find documents such as the deployment summary and Instructions.HTML that retrace choices made during the installation and configuration steps. This directory also contains important logs and utilities files created during installation. Planned installations of SAS require a plan file, which is also a good source of information about your SAS deployment.

Who deployed the software?
Occasionally, individuals will supply personal credentials when installing software. The installation process may request the same credentials be used when applying maintenance patches or additional products. Look in the installation log files for the credentials of the individual who initially installed the software.

Who are the users?
There are logs in the configuration directory to see when individuals are connecting to various servers. Look in these logs for information that may be useful for troubleshooting: metadata server, stored process server, and object spawner.

Where are programs and data stored?
Varney offers tips on how to Inventory Your Files Using SAS in a SAS Global Forum paper.  Administrators can run queries or create regular reports against the resulting output.

Read Varney’s entire SESUG 2012 paper - Getting to Know an Undocumented SAS Environment (PA-03).

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Christina Harvey

Principal Marketing Specialist

Christina Harvey is an editor for SAS External Communications. She has more than 20 years experience as a technical writer and communications specialist for SAS.

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