A day in the life of the SAS Platform Administrator


I spend my days helping SAS Platform Administrators develop their skills. The best part of my job? Helping them understand the power and importance of SAS as an analytics platform. Watching them move from no knowledge of SAS to feeling confident in their newfound abilities brings me joy.

Most of the future SAS Administrators I teach function as “SAS Administrator and <fill in the blank>.” Their dilemma inspired this post describing a typical day in the life of a SAS Administrator.

Customer needs vary, and SAS adapts with them, so there's really no by-the-book, play-by-play list of the daily activities. Every SAS Administrator's day is a little different, but below are some of the common tasks.

SAS server management

The day starts with checking your servers. As the admin, I check my servers every day. Without the ability to process their code, your users will not be happy. I know, I know, making users happy might not be high on your bucket list, but it’s a part of the job. Besides, don’t you want the satisfaction of knowing that your finely tuned SAS environment remained finely tuned over night?

Calling all SAS Administrators! Find support all in one place.

Which SAS components you have and the operating system determine how you check your servers.

SAS® Viya provides scripts in /etc/init.d that you use to stop, start, restart, and check the status of an individual SAS Viya server and service.

How you run the individual server and service scripts depends on your operating system:

To check status of all servers and services:

sudo /etc/init.d/sas-viya-all-services status

For SAS® 9, there are scripts in <config-directory>/config/Lev1 to control the servers.

To check status of all servers and services:

<config-directory>/config/Lev1/sas.servers {start|stop|restart|status}

The good news is you do not have to run these scripts manually every day. You can schedule them using third party tools so that when you arrive at work, server status greets you.

User management

Many administrators prefer dealing with the servers more than the users. Like I mentioned earlier, users are really our primary reason for being here. Not a day goes by that you will not have to perform some task associated with users. Users come, so you must give access. Users go, so you must remove access. User A is having trouble with his report. User B is having trouble with her code. Solve the issue and you are a genius. If they stump you, no worries! There is always SAS Technical Support for help. With SAS, you are never alone.

Data management

I often tell my students to become friends with their database administrators (DBAs). Unless, the <fill in the blank> part of their “SAS and…” is DBA. Then they should be their own best friend because SAS is all about accessing data of all sizes. If I had a nickel for every story I’ve heard about turf wars between SAS Administrators and DBAs….

The SAS Administrator must make sure the data is accessible. It may not be your job, but it is your responsibility. It doesn’t matter that you had nothing to do with the database password changing overnight and now this morning no one can access tables they could access yesterday. Today you solve everyone’s data access issues.

People often ask me if I get tired of teaching the same administration classes over and over again. I tell them, "No Way!" The content may be the same, but because every customer can use SAS differently, every class is different. I think the same is true for administering SAS. Every day brings the opportunity for learning, fun and excitement. There will be smooth days, when all is well. There will be challenging days, when you wonder what in the world is going on. Regardless, as the SAS Administrator you have many resources to help. There’s a whole SAS Administrator Community if you feel alone, SAS Technical Support if you run into trouble, and SAS Education training if you need a bump or reset to your administration skills. There's also a way to be certified as a SAS Platform Administrator.


About Author

Raymond Thomas

Senior Technical Training Consultant

Raymond Thomas is a Senior Technical Training Consultant in the SAS Administration Team within SAS Education.


  1. Karolina Touwen on

    It was a great presentation. You were asking what else we would like to see in the future. It would be great to get to know more how to test the system, what kind of jobs should one build in order to know on time when extra resources are needed.

  2. Karolina Touwen on

    Thank you very much for this webinar. I wanted to have the same as you have shown in the presentation and setup a dashboard with current sessions. There are many sessions started by sas.reports, sas.searchIndex or sas.audit. For sas audit there are sessions kept open for more than a week. What are these sessions, for example sas.reports or sas.import-data-loader? Do you recommend to exclude them from the dashboard? Or do they also show how busy it is in the system?

  3. Thanks Raymond for providing a glimpse of the life of a SAS administrator and the sometimes unrecognized and isolated work they do. Collaborating and sharing with other admins can be helpful and joining the SAS User Group for Administrators & Architects (SUGA) Group Hub is another place to check out https://communities.sas.com/t5/SUGA/gh-p/suga

    May you and all SAS administrators have a wonderful #SysAdminDay (or rather #SASAdminDay) on Friday 31st July. 🎉🥳 https://www.metacoda.com/en/2020/07/recognizing-your-sas-admin-on-sysadminday/

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