If you’re doing data processing in the cloud or using container-enabled infrastructures to deploy your software, you’ll want to learn more about SAS Analytics for Containers. This new solution puts SAS into your existing container-enabled environment – think Docker or Kubernetes – giving data scientists and analysts the ability to perform sophisticated analyses using SAS, and all from the cloud.
The product’s coming out party is the Analytics Experience 2016 conference, September 12-14, 2016 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. In advance of that event, I sat down with Product Manager Donna DeCapite to learn a little more about SAS Analytics for Containers and find out why it’s such a big deal for organizations who use containers for their applications.
Larry LaRusso: Before we get into details around the solution, and with apologies for my ignorance, let me start out with a really basic question. What are containers?
Donna DeCapite: Cloud containers are all the rage in the IT world. They’re an alternative to virtual machines. They allow applications and any of its dependencies to be deployed and run in isolated space. Organizations will build and deploy in the container environment because it allows you to build only the necessary system libraries and functions to run a given piece of software. IT prefer it because it’s easy to replicate, and it’s faster and easier to deploy.
LL: And SAS Analytics for Containers will allow organizations to run SAS’ analytics in this environment, the containers?
DD: In short, yes. SAS Analytics for Containers provides a powerful set of data access, analysis and graphical tools to organizations within a container-based infrastructure like Docker. This takes advantage of the build once, run anywhere flexibility of the container environment, making it easier and faster to use SAS Analytics in the cloud.
LL: Who, within an organization, will be the primary users?
DD: Really anyone working with containers in the cloud or anyone working with DevOps. Data scientists will embrace SAS Analytics for Containers because it allows them to access data from nearly any source and easily perform sophisticated analyses using SAS Studio, our browser-based interface, or Jupyter Notebook, an open source notebook-style interface. For SAS developers, the product allows them to quickly provision IT resource to sandbox development ideas. And as I mentioned earlier, IT will appreciate the ease with which applications can be deployed, distributed and managed.
LL: You mentioned data scientists, so now I’m curious; we’re talking complex analyses here, yes?
DD: Definitely. Regressions, decision trees, Bayesian analysis, spatial point pattern analysis, missing data analysis, and many additional statistical analysis techniques can be performed with SAS Analytics for Containers. And in addition to sophisticated statistical and predictive analytics, there are a ton of prebuilt SAS procedures included to handle common tasks like data manipulation, information storage, and report writing, all available via SAS Studio and its assistive nature.
LL: What about organizations that have massive amounts of data? Can they use SAS Analytics for Containers as well?
DD: Yes, SAS Analytics for Containers allows you to take advantage of the processing power of your Hadoop Cluster by leveraging the SAS Accelerators for Hadoop like Code and Scoring Accelerator.
LL: Thank you so much for your time Donna. I know you’ve educated me quite a deal! How about more information. Where can individuals learn more about SAS Analytics for Containers?
DD: If you’re going to Analytics Experience 2016, consider coming to Michael Ames’ table talk, Cloud Computing: How Does It Work? It’s scheduled for Monday, September 12 from 4:30-5:00pm Vegas time. If you’re not going to the event, the SAS website is the best place for more information. Probably the best place to start is the SAS Analytics for Containers home page.
Editor's note: Learn even more about SAS Containers from this interview with SAS Solutions Architect Doug Liming.