Enterprise Architecture: Your chance to design your perfect SAS environment


Perhaps it is my astrological sign, but as a Gemini, I seem to be cursed blessed with a duality that consists of balancing my creative side with exacting nature of my logical side.  In my personal life, I enjoy woodworking.  Whether it is creating “art in the round” from a block of wood or designing a functional piece that must withstand daily use, they both exercise this polarity - the creative process as well as the fine tuned aspects of engineering. I cannot touch a piece of furniture without running my fingers over the joints and appreciating the beauty and exactness of the work.

Greg_bowl_icon  Greg_box_icon I find those two sides converging in my designs of SAS environments—the creative aspect lies in the fact that there are lots of ways to design it, whereas the engineering side ensures that it must perform.

As SAS administrators, we are often left to deal with the design of others and forced to make it work. Even though the requirements evolve, the usage grows beyond expectation, and the unintended consequence of your own success forces you to maintain and innovate on an almost continual basis.

An example of this is SAS Visual Analytics.  Traditional BI and even ETL architectures are designed and tuned to handle a specific workload. Memory, CPU and I/O are optimized to take advantage of client-server requests and batch windows for loading and transforming data.  These have become fairly predictable and manageable.  However, faced with the growing demand of massively large, in-memory process for discovery and insight, the same rules about architecture and design need to be reconsidered.  Combined with in-database, both models force the designer to anticipate the proper design and architect for the unexpected.

Considering everything from storage to virtualization, version control to disaster recovery and everything in between, most SAS administrators don’t get the opportunity to practice their architecture and design skills nor do most have the broad range of skills required to do this for enterprise-class architectures.

I am excited to say that you will have the opportunity to get some real world experience in a workshop specifically designed for people who want to learn about enterprise architecture.  At SAS Global Forum 2015 next April, I will be joined by a team of international experts who do this every day.  This workshop is designed to make you think about how to translate technical and functional requirements into logical and physical designs.  Essentially, we will go through the life cycle of an enterprise architecture design—from requirements to sizing to performance management.

The workshop attendees will participate in large group sessions to learn about the desired characteristics of their design and work through the detailed design in small teams to create an optimal solution.  Each team will be given an opportunity to be paired with senior architects and experts in storage, I/O, database, networking, virtual and distributed computing, metadata, governance and SAS technologies.  They will be challenged with creating a design that satisfies the stated and implied requirements, and each team will have an opportunity to compete with other teams for the best design rated on a number of characteristics.  The team designs will be showcased at the first-ever SAS Administrators Reception and a grand champion announced.

We will be working over the winter months to bring you the absolutely best experience. In the meantime, please feel free to offer suggestions about design topics that you are struggling with or have solved in your own experiences.

Remember, Happy Data, Happy Users!




About Author

Gregory Nelson

President and CEO, Thotwave Technologies, LLC.

Greg is a certified practitioner with over two decades of broad Performance Management and Analytics experience. This has been gained across several commercial, education and government, providing highly transferable skills. He has extensive experience and knowledge of research informatics and regulatory requirements and has been responsible for the delivery of numerous projects in clinical and business environments. He collaborates with stakeholders across organizations, gathering and analyzing their requirements and architecting solutions that are embody thinking data® – data which is more predictive, more accessible, more useable and more coherent. Greg has a passion for turning data into knowledge through Business Intelligence, Analytics, Data Warehousing, Master Data Management, Data Governance, Data Quality, and Research Informatics. He has developed strong partnerships with senior management within business and information technology organizations to support transparent project delivery and risk management; he manages stakeholders’ expectations of project delivery. Mr. Nelson holds a B.A. in Psychology and PhD level work in Social Psychology and Quantitative Methods and certifications in project management, Six Sigma, balanced scorecard and healthcare IT.


  1. Greg,

    I've registered & am looking forward to participating in your workshop. (Just hope the jet lag has passed by then..)

    See you there.

  2. Hi Greg,

    I hope you're well.

    I'm really looking forward to this workshop and I think it fills a gap in what SAS Admins would like to be involved in.

    I'm trying to your workshop added to my account for SGF15, but as I registered early (to get a discount) I can't seem to add any extras to my registration. I've asked SAS to look into this and hopefully I can get this added before all the slots are booked up..



  3. Hi David and Andrew, I'm excited to be able to facilitate this and am very much looking forward to your contributions to the workshop! I know we will have to be on our toes with this group!


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