sas global forum

5月 222018
 

SAS ViyaSAS Viya Presentations is our latest extension of the SAS Platform and interoperable with SAS® 9.4. Designed to enable analytics to the enterprise, it seamlessly scales for data of any size, type, speed and complexity. It was also a star at this year’s SAS Global Forum 2018. In this series of articles, we will review several of the most interesting SAS Viya talks from the event. Our first installment reviews Hadley Christoffels’ talk, A Need For Speed: Loading Data via the Cloud.

You can read all the articles in this series or check out the individual interviews by clicking on the titles below:
Part 1: Technology that gets the most from the Cloud.


Technology that gets the most from the Cloud

Few would argue about the value the effective use of data can bring an organization. Advancements in analytics, particularly in areas like artificial intelligence and machine learning, allow organizations to analyze more complex data and deliver faster, more accurate results.

However, in his SAS Global Forum 2018 paper, A Need For Speed: Loading Data via the Cloud, Hadley Christoffels, CEO of Boemska, reminded the audience that 80% of an analyst’s time is still spent on the data. Getting insight from your data is where the magic happens, but the real value of powerful analytical methods like artificial intelligence and machine learning can only be realized when “you shorten the load cycle the quicker you get to value.”

Data Management is critical and still the most common area of investment in analytical software, making data management a primary responsibility of today’s data scientist. “Before you can get to any value the data has to be collected, has to be transformed, has to be enriched, has to be cleansed and has to be loaded before it can be consumed.”

Benefits of cloud adoption

The cloud can help, to a degree. According to Christoffels, “cloud adoption has become a strategic imperative for enterprises.” The advantages of moving to a cloud architecture are many, but the two greatest are elasticity and scalability.

Elasticity, defined by Christoffels, allows you to dynamically provision or remove virtual machines (VM), while scalability refers to increasing or decreasing capacity within existing infrastructure by scaling vertically, moving the workload to a bigger or smaller VM, or horizontally, by provisioning additional VM’s and distributing the application load between them.

“I can stand up VMs in a matter of seconds, I can add more servers when I need it, I can get a bigger one when I need it and a smaller one when I don’t, but, especially when it comes to horizontal scaling, you need technology that can make the most of it.” Cloud-readiness and multi-threaded processing make SAS® Viya® the perfect tool to take advantage of the benefits of “clouding up.”

SAS® Viya® can addresses complex analytical challenges and speed up data management processes. “If you have software that can only run on a single instance, then scaling horizontally means nothing to you because you can’t make use of that multi-threaded, parallel environment. SAS Viya is one of those technologies,” Christoffels said.

Challenges you need to consider

According to Christoffels, it’s important, when moving your processing to the cloud, that you understand and address existing performance challenges and whether it will meet your business needs in an agile manner. Inefficiencies on-premise are annoying; inefficiencies in the cloud are annoying and costly, since you pay for that resource.

It’s not the best use of the architecture to take what you have on premise and just shift it. “Finding and improving and eliminating inefficiencies is a massive part in cutting down the time data takes to load.”

Boemska, Christoffels’ company, has tools to help businesses find inefficiencies and understand the impact users have on the environment, including:

  1. Real-time diagnostics looking at CPU Usage, Memory Usage, SAS Workload, etc.
  2. Insight and comparison provides a historic view in a certain timeframe, essential when trying to optimize and shave off costly time when working in cloud.
  3. Utilization reports to better understand how the platform is used.

Optimizing inefficiencies with SAS Viya

But scaling vertically and horizontally from cloud-based infrastructure to speed the loading and data management process solves only part of the problem. Christoffels said SAS Viya capabilities completes the picture. SAS Viya offers a number of benefits in a Cloud infrastructure, Christoffels said. Code amendments that make use of the new techniques and benefits now available in SAS Viya, such as the multi-threaded DATA step or CAS Action Sets, can be extremely powerful.

One simple example of the benefits of SAS Viya, Christoffels said, is that with in-memory processing, PROC SORT is a procedure that’s no longer needed; SAS Viya does “grouping on the fly,” meaning you can remove sort routines from existing programs, which of itself, can cut down processing time significantly.

As a SAS Programmer, just the fact that SAS Viya can run multithreaded, the fact that you don’t have to do these sorts, the way it handles grouping on the fly, the fact that multithreaded nature and capability is built into how you deal with tables are all “significant,” according to Christoffels.

Conclusion

Data preparation and load processes have a direct impact on how applications can begin and subsequently complete. Many organizations are using the Cloud platform to speed up the process, but to take full advantage of the infrastructure you have to apply the right software technology. SAS Viya enables the full realization of Cloud benefits through performance improvements, such as the transposing of data and the transformation of data using the DATA step or CAS Action Sets.

Additional Resources

SAS Global Forum Video: A Need For Speed: Loading Data via the Cloud
SAS Global Forum 2018 Paper: A Need For Speed: Loading Data via the Cloud
SAS Viya
SAS Viya Products


Read all the posts in this series.

Part 1: Technology that gets the most from the Cloud

Technology that gets the most from the Cloud was published on SAS Users.

5月 182018
 

During SAS Global Forum 2018, I sat down with four SAS users to get their take on what makes a SAS user. Read through to find valuable tips they shared and up your SAS game. I’m sure you will come away inspired, as you discover some universal commonalities in being a SAS user.

The post What makes a SAS User? Insight and Community: Josh Horstman appeared first on SAS Learning Post.

5月 102018
 

For those of you who weren't able to attend SAS Global Forum 2018, you can still learn a lot from the content shared there. Gain knowledge from your SAS family. SAS Global Forum 2018 papers and videos now available.

The post Knowledge from the SAS family: SAS Global Forum 2018 papers and videos now available appeared first on SAS Learning Post.

5月 082018
 

WARNING: This blog post references Avengers: Infinity War and contains story spoilers. But it also contains useful information about random number generators (RNGs) -- tempting! If you haven't yet seen the movie, you should make peace with this inner conflict before reading on.

Throughout the movie, Thanos makes it clear that his goal is to eliminate half of the population of every civilization in the universe. With the power of all six infinity stones imbued into his gauntlet, he'll be able to accomplish this with a "snap of his fingers." By the end of the film, Thanos has all of the stones, and then he literally snaps his fingers. (Really? I kept thinking that this was just a figure of speech he used to indicate how simple this will be -- but I guess it works more like the ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz. Some clicking was required.)

So, Thanos snaps his huge fingers and -- POOF -- there goes half of us. Apparently the universe already had some sort of population-reduction subroutine just waiting for a hacker like Thanos to access it. Who put that there? Not a good plan, universe designer. (Check here to see if you survived the snap.)

But how did Thanos (or the universe) determine which of us was wiped from existence and which of us was spared? I have to assume that it was a seriously high-performing, massively parallel random number generator. And if Thanos had access to 9.4 Maintenance 5 or later (part of the Power [to Know] stone?), then he would have his choice of algorithms.

(Tony Stark has been to SAS headquarters, but we haven't seen Thanos around here. Still, he's welcome to download SAS University Edition.)

Your own RNG gauntlet, built into SAS

I know a little bit about this topic because I talked with Rick Wicklin about RNGs. As Rick discusses in his blog post, a recent release of SAS added support for several new/updated RNG algorithms, including Mersenne twister, PCG, Threefry, and one that introduces hardware-based entropy for "extra randomness." If you want to save yourself some reading, watch our 10-minute discussion here.

Implementing my own random Avengers terminator

I was going to write a SAS program to simulate Thanos' "snap," but I don't have a list of every single person in the universe (thanks GDPR!). However, courtesy of IMDB.com, I do have a list of the approximately 100 credited characters in the Infinity War movie. I wrote a DATA step to pull each name into a data set and "randomly decide" each fate by using the new PCG algorithm and the RAND function with a Bernoulli (binomial) distribution. I learned that trick from Rick's post about simulating coin flips. (I hope I did this correctly; Rick will tell me if I didn't.)

%let algorithm = PCG;
data characters;
  call streaminit(2018,"&algorithm.");
  infile datalines dsd;
  retain x 0 y 1;
  length Name $ 60 spared 8 x 8 y 8;
  input Name;
  Spared = rand("Bernoulli", 0.5);
  x+1;
  if x > 10 then
    do; y+1; x = 1;end;
datalines;
Tony Stark / Iron Man
Thor
Bruce Banner / Hulk
Steve Rogers / Captain America
/* about 96 more */
;
run;

After all of the outcomes were generated, I used PROC FREQ to check the distribution. In this run, only 48% were spared, not an even 50%. Well, that's randomness for you. On the universal scale, I'm not sure that anyone is keeping track.

How many spared

Using a trick I learned from Sample 54315: Customize your symbols with the SYMBOLCHAR statement in PROC SGPLOT, I created a scatter plot of the outcomes. I included special Unicode characters to signify the result in terms that even Hulk can understand. Hearts represent survivors; frowny faces represent the vanished heroes. Here's the code:

data thanosmap;
  input id $ value $ markercolor $ markersymbol $;
  datalines;
status 0 black frowny
status 1 red heart
;
run;
 
title;
ods graphics / height=400 width=400 imagemap=on;
proc sgplot data=Characters noautolegend dattrmap=thanosmap;
  styleattrs wallcolor=white;
  scatter x=x y=y / markerattrs=(size=40) 
    group=spared tip=(Name Spared) attrid=status;
  symbolchar name=heart char='2665'x;
  symbolchar name=frowny char='2639'x;
  xaxis integer display=(novalues) label="Did Thanos Kill You? Red=Dead" 
    labelattrs=(family="Comic Sans MS" size=14pt);
    /* Comic Sans -- get it ???? */
  yaxis integer display=none;
run;

Scatter plot of spared

For those of you who can read, you might appreciate a table with the rundown. For this one, I used a trick that I saw on SAS Support Communities to add strike-through text to a report. It's a simple COMPUTE column with a style directive, in a PROC REPORT step.

proc report data=Characters nowd;
  column Name spared;
  define spared / 'Spared' display;
  compute Spared;
    if spared=1 then
      call define(_row_,"style",
        "style={color=green}");
    if spared=0 then
      call define(_row_,"style",
        "style={color=red textdecoration=line_through}");
  endcomp;
run;

Table of results

Remember, my results here were generated with SAS and don't match the results from the film. (I feel like I need to say that to preempt a few comments.) The complete code for this blog post is available on my public Gist.

Learn more about RNGs

Just as the end of Avengers: Infinity War has sent throngs of viewers to the Internet to find out What's Next, I expect that readers of this blog are eager to learn more about these modern random number generators. Here are the go-to articles from Rick that are worth your review:

Unanswered questions

Before Thanos completed his gauntlet, his main hobby was traveling around the cosmos reducing the population of each civilization "the hard way." With the gauntlet in hand when he snapped his fingers, did he eliminate one-half of the remaining population? Or did the universe's algorithm spare those civilizations that had already been culled? Was this a random sample with replacement or not? In the film, Thanos did not express concern about these details (typical upper management attitude), but the grunt-workers of the universe need to know the parameters for this project. Coders need exact specifications, or else you can expect less-than-heroic results from your infinity gauntlet. I'm pretty sure it says so in the owner's manual.

The post Which random number generator did Thanos use? appeared first on The SAS Dummy.

5月 022018
 

Oklahoma State University (OSU) has corralled its data faster than a tumbleweed in a whirlwind, and has bold plans to transform its institutional research efforts. I recently met with OSU's Institutional Research and Information Management (IRIM) team, which provides information, research, decision support, and analysis on demand to the OSU [...]

Oklahoma State University visualizes data ‘til the cows come home was published on SAS Voices by Georgia Mariani

5月 022018
 

During SAS Global Forum 2018, SAS instructor Charu Shankar sat down with four SAS users to get their take on what makes them a SAS user. Read through to find valuable tips they shared and up your SAS game. I’m sure you will come away inspired, as you discover some universal commonalities in being a SAS user.

The post What makes a SAS user? Order, logic and magic: Louise Hadden appeared first on SAS Learning Post.

4月 212018
 

During SAS Global Forum 2018, SAS instructor Charu Shankar sat down with four SAS users to get their take on what makes a SAS user. Read through to find valuable tips they shared and up your SAS game. I’m sure you will come away inspired, as you discover some universal commonalities in being a SAS user.

The post What makes a SAS user? SAS thinks like me: Dede Schreiber-Gregory appeared first on SAS Learning Post.

4月 212018
 

During SAS Global Forum 2018, SAS instructor Charu Shankar sat down with four SAS users to get their take on what makes them a SAS user. Read through to find valuable tips they shared and up your SAS game. I’m sure you will come away inspired, as you discover some universal commonalities in being a SAS user.

The post What makes a SAS user? Introverts find their tribe: Richann Watson appeared first on SAS Learning Post.

4月 172018
 

Peak moments from SAS Global Forum“Customer experiences are defined by peak moments”, said Dan Heath, in his typical charismatic fashion during the keynote on the Executive Track of the SAS Global Forum 2018. Customer experiences is not an alien term by any means but "peak moments?" What was that?

The best way to get a detailed understanding is to simply get your copy of The Power of Moments authored by the Heath Brothers. Heath went on to use examples from a bank in Canada where the ATM would have a human dialog with the surprised consumer just walking up to withdraw a few dollars and would pop up a free ticket to Disney for a mother of two or a round trip ticket for a grandmother to be with her beautiful grandchildren. Peak Moments. OK, now I get it.

Heath also challenged everyone in the audience – including yours truly – to submit our own interpretation of peak moments within the next 24 hours to get a free copy of his book. But, as luck would have it, I did not get around to submitting it because the peak moment I experienced was a few hours later during the SAS Grid Dinner. And it was no surprise that this conference was in Denver with a beautiful view of the glorious mountain peaks -- the perfect backdrop for customers to experience their peak moments!

Peak Moments from SAS Global Forum

Fast forward to the SAS Grid Dinner. A panel of customers using SAS Grid Manager with years of experienced insight had a great conversation with the audience with the discussion eloquently moderated by Cheryl Doninger, VP, Business Intelligence, Research & Development, SAS. It was clear that this was a panel that had done many things right from the get go and taken up the challenges of technology, culture, change management different ways. It was really nice to see them openly share their experiences and findings for the benefit of the hundreds of members in the audience listening with rapt attention.

And, then it hit me! We were looking at SAS customers on the panel. Going back to Heath’s assertion, I started wondering what could have been the peak moment for every one of these customers as they continued to evangelize the enterprise-wide adoption of SAS Grid Manager. Here is a synopsis of various peak moments shared by the customers in response to my question. Heath! Are you reading this?

Peak Moment One
SAS Grid Manager users are happy with the uptime and availability of Grid Manager. One customer called it a Layer of Happiness.

Peak Moment Two
Users who had initially issued a stern warning – “You ain’t taking my PC SAS away” – were happy to see 25 percent to 50 percent performance and throughput improvements with SAS Grid Manager.

Peak Moment Three
The loudest and most aggressive naysayer who was opposed to the migration to SAS Grid Manager became an advocate after experiencing tangible proof points and measurable outcomes.

Peak Moment Four
200 users were seamlessly migrated without any glitch. Worked like a charm! Nodes were decommissioned unbeknownst to the user.

Peak Moment Five
Taking a moment to reflect on the overall experience – what could have been and how smooth the overall experience was.

Peak Moment Six
Certify models when moving from previous platform to the SAS Grid but no code changes were needed to move the models.

Peak Moment Seven.
SAS Grid Manager being fully utilized at 80 percent to 90 percent capacity just like the mainframes. Maximizing the utilization is always a strong indicator of systemic adoption across the enterprise.

There you have it.  These were peak moments that the customers shared in response to my question.

But, here is what I was pleasantly surprised by! It took them seconds to come out with their respective peak moments. They did not have to reflect. They did not have to think hard. It came to them naturally. And that is what made it a peak moment for me! Just seeing these real-life customers share openly what worked for them and their users and why. These seven peak moments took me to seventh heaven!

So, Dan Heath, I could not meet your deadline of submitting my peak moment because I was waiting to experience one myself – albeit a tad bit late! Guess what could be another peak moment for me? You reading this blog and sending me a copy of your book!

What are your peak moments as a customer?  What are peak moments your customers have experienced?  Please share them here.  And we will wait for the Heath brothers to synthesize that into another wonderful book for the rest of us to read!

Peak moments define SAS Global Forum 2018 was published on SAS Users.