How to reference CAS tables using a one-level name


reference CAS tables using a one-level nameReferencing tables

With the SAS language the way one references a table in code is by using a two-level name or a one-level name. With two-level names, one supplies the libref as well as the table name i.e. PROC MEANS DATA = WORK.TABLE;. By default, all one-level names also refer to SASWORK i.e. PROC MEANS DATA = TABLE;


To reference CAS tables using a one-level name we will issue two statements that alter which libref houses the tables referenced as one-level names. First, we will create a CAS libref (line 77) followed by the “options user” statement on line 80. It is line 80 that changes the default location from SASWORK to the CAS libref i.e. CASWORK.Figure 1. Statements to alter the default location for one-level names

How to reference one-level CAS tables

From this point on all one-level names referenced in code will be tables managed by CAS. In figure 2 we are creating a one-level CAS table called baseball by reading the two-level named table SASHELP.BASEBALL. This step executes in the SAS Programing Runtime Engine (a SAS Viya based workspace server) and creates the table CASWORK.BASEBALL. Because of the “options user” statement we can now also reference that table using a one-level name i.e. BASEBALL.

Figure 2. Loading a two-level named table into a one-level named table that is managed by CAS

In Figure 3 we will use a DATA Step to read a CAS table and write a CAS table using one-level names. We can also see by reviewing the notes in the SAS log that this DATA Step ran in CAS using multiple threads.

Figure 3. DATA Step referencing one-level named tables

In Figure 4 we observe this PROC MEANS is processing the one-level named table BASEBALL. By reviewing the notes in the SAS log we can see this PROC MEANS ran distributed in CAS.

Figure 4. PROC MEANS referencing one-level named CAS table

Because the default location for one-level names is SASWORK, all tables in SASWORK are automatically deleted when the SAS session ends. When one changes the default location for one-level names, like we just did, it is a best practice to use a PROC DELETE as the last statement in your code to delete all one-level tables managed by CAS, figure 5.

Figure 5. PROC DELETE deleting all one-level CAS tables


It is a very common SAS coding technique to read a source table from a non-SAS data store and write it to SASWORK. By using the technique describe in this blog one now has options on where to store the one-level tables names. As for me, I prefer storing them in CAS so I benefit from the distributed process (faster runtimes) that CAS offers.


About Author

Steven Sober

Advisory Solutions Architect, Data Management

Steven is responsible for empowering SAS sales and system engineers in the positioning and integration of SAS® Viya, SAS® In-Database Code Accelerator for Hadoop, SAS® Scalable Performance Data Server, and SAS® Grid Manager. During his tenure at SAS, Steven has traveled globally working with customers to quickly integrate the SAS system to automate processes. Before joining SAS in 1989 as the first employee of SAS Switzerland, Steven worked for the U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division, assisting hydrologists to leverage the SAS system to derive intelligence on ground and surface water in Southern Colorado. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Southern Colorado in Pueblo, Colorado.

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    • Steven Sober
      Steven Sober on

      Thomas, thank you for your comment and sharing your SGF paper. I really enjoyed reading it and others will too.

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