3 questions about implementing SAS Grid Manager and SAS Viya

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Migration, version road maps and configurations were the themes of several questions that came up in a recent webinar about combining SAS Grid Manager and SAS Viya. You’ll see in this blog post that we were ready to get into the nitty-gritty details in our answers below – just as we did in the previous FAQs post. We hope you find them useful in your work using SAS Grid Manager and SAS Viya together.

1. Can we migrate SAS programs that are currently on SAS PC environments into the SAS Grid environment – or do we need to rewrite the programs for SAS Grid Manager?

No, you don’t need to rewrite your SAS programs to run on a SAS Grid environment. Many customers migrate their code from other environments (like PCs or servers) and submit them to SAS Grid Manager from SAS Display Manager, SAS Studio or any other application of their choice.

If you already use SAS Enterprise Guide to run jobs on a remote server, the process may be as simple as changing your server configuration to use a grid-launched workspace server (information that your SAS Administrator would provide) and continuing to work in much the same way as always, requiring no changes to your code.

Depending on other changes that take place at the same time SAS Grid Manager is implemented, there may need to be some small adjustments to your programs.  For example, if your organization consolidates source data onto new storage, you may need to change paths associated with your LIBNAME statements.  These should be housekeeping items rather than significant rewrites of the logic in your SAS code.

If you plan to continue to use the programming environment provided by BASE SAS itself (DMS) and have been using SAS/CONNECT, you will need to add the GRDSVC_ENABLE function to your SAS Coding repertoire. If you have not used SAS/CONNECT previously and will be remotely submitting SAS Code to the SAS Grid Manager environment from BASE SAS, you should also learn about the following commands:

  1. SIGNON statement to start a session on the SAS Grid Manager
  2. RSUBMIT statement to begin the block of code to be run on the grid
  3. ENDRSUBMIT statement to end the block of code to be run on the grid
  4. SIGNOFF statement to end the session on the SAS Grid

SAS Grid Manager provides the ability to run independent steps within a job in parallel. Taking advantage of this requires some modification to your code.

Jobs that may benefit from refactoring have the following attributes:

  • Have multiple independent units of work.
  • The units of work take approximately the same amount of time to execute.
  • The time required to complete these units of work prior to parallelization efforts is a meaningful amount of the overall processing time.

Some examples of workloads that may be candidates for refactoring are:

  • Assessing the performance of a model for each geography of a sales organization.
  • Retraining a model for each product group for a manufacturer.
  • Processing that is driven via a BY GROUP.

To unleash this specific power of SAS Grid Manager, just a little more effort is needed. Customers frequently report that the effort is well worth it. For more specifics about writing parallel code see this SAS Global Forum paper: Divide and Conquer – Writing Parallel SAS Code to Speed Up Your SAS Program.

2. Is there a version of SAS Grid Manager that runs on the SAS Viya architecture?

The SAS Grid Manager roadmap includes a release of SAS Grid Manager on the SAS Viya Architecture late in 2019.

3. Will I be able to migrate my SAS Grid Manager configuration and jobs from SAS 9.4 to the SAS Viya-based release of SAS Grid Manager?

 The plan to deliver SAS Grid Manager on the SAS Viya architecture includes automation to migrate jobs, flows, and schedule information from your SAS 9.4 environment to your SAS Viya environment.  It is our goal to make this transition as straightforward and easy as possible – especially where there is feature parity between SAS 9 based and SAS Viya-based solutions.  Since each product delivers solution-specific PROCs and other functionality that can be used within a job executed by SAS Grid Manager, each customer should work with their SAS team to understand which jobs can be migrated and which jobs may need to continue to run against your SAS 9.4 environment.  

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These were all great questions that we thought deserved more detail than we could offer in a webinar.  If you have more questions that weren’t covered here, or in our previous post on this topic, just post them in the comments section.  We’ll answer them quickly.  Thanks for your interest!

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Ken Gahagan

Director, Research and Development

Ken Gahagan is the Director of Research and Development for Enterprise Computing Management. Ken is a veteran at SAS, celebrating 19 years this year.

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