SAS Partners

3月 222019
 

As data volumes continue to surge (with no signs of slowing down), the cost to handle all that data can have a very real impact on IT budgets.

But for all the talk of the growing value of data, the cost side of the equation is often overlooked. After all, it not only takes a lot of drives to hold all that data, it requires significant computing resources to handle it. The costs quickly add up, forcing IT leaders to make tough choices about where to make their IT investments.

This is as true for SAS users as it is for any other IT organization. We work closely with our customers and know that the cost of our analytics software is only part of the budget puzzle – total cost of ownership (TCO) casts a long shadow over their budget decisions. So we were as curious as they were when Intel released its Intel® OptaneTM DC Persistent Memory.

What is persistent memory?

Data written to persistent memory remains accessible using memory instructions even after the process that created or last modified them is gone. In this aspect, persistent memory is like a hard disk drive (HDD). But the speed at which the data can be accessed from persistent memory is considerably faster than the speed delivered by an HDD.

Of course, as a longtime Intel collaborator, we worked closely together to optimize SAS software for this innovation. But how would it work in real-life applications outside of the labs? Would the Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory - SAS® Viya® combination have a real impact, or would it just represent yet another incremental improvement – nice, but not enough to change the IT investment-performance equation?

Testing confirms performance

There was only one way to find out, of course: Test it.

So that’s what we did. In collaboration with Intel, we ran SAS Viya 3.4 on Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory. More specifically, the testing compared performance of a two-socket second-generation Intel® Xeon® Platinum 8280 processor with DRAM to a two-socket second-generation Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 processor with Intel Optane DC persistent memory. (See editor's note below for details.)

We didn’t hold back, either – we ran multiple instances of a large model containing 400 gigabytes of data, concurrently. All these jobs finished in a matter of minutes. Just as important, the costs of achieving performance in a persistent memory environment with SAS Viya, when compared to DRAM and SAS Viya, make their own compelling case.

Intel Optane persistent memory achieves more than 95 percent on-par performance with DRAM, at a lower cost per performance rate of approximately 18 percent. With second-generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processors and Intel Optane DC persistent memory in Memory Mode, it’s clear that users can take advantage of the benefits of systems with larger capacity memory, with little or no performance degradation.

Greater memory capacity = substantial cost savings

But performance may not even be the most interesting part of this story – not when you compare it to the cost benefits of running in this environment. In short, compared with DRAM – equal capacity memory, equal CPU, and so on – using Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory leads to a reduction in costs of 20 percent or more. That’s a tangible, meaningful impact for any IT budget, allowing CIOs to invest more heavily to address other pressing needs. By contrast, system costs increase dramatically with higher DRAM capacity.

Plus, it may be possible in the future to use the memory module in different modes – an opportunity we’re currently testing in non-volatile random-access memory (NVRAM) mode with the goal of allowing applications to take advantage of this benefit.

How does this combination of persistent memory tools and SAS Viya contribute to faster speeds and lower costs? The massive scale of data typically handled by SAS customers can be handled by fewer servers, because each can now have a much greater memory capacity. This equation can translate into a significant reduction in the total cost of ownership.

There are a lot of factors, many of which are unique to your organization, that go into reducing the total cost of ownership – so it goes without saying that your mileage may vary. Regardless, this is a conversation your organization needs to be having right now, if it hasn’t already. We’re happy to answer your questions about running SAS Viya together with Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory.

Want a deeper dive? | See the video on Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory

Editor's Note: Specs for this test included:

  • SAS® Viya® In-memory Analytics: SAS® Viya 3.4 VDMML application.
  • Workload: 3 concurrent logistic regression tasks each running on 400GB datasets.
  • Testing by: Intel and SAS completed on February 15, 2019.
  • Baseline hardware for comparison: 2S Intel® Xeon® Platinum 8280 processor, 2.7GHz, 28 cores, turbo and HT on, BIOS SE5C620.86B.0D.01.0286.011120190816, 1536GB total memory, 24 slots / 64GB / 2666 MT/s / DDR4 LRDIMM, 1x 800GB, Intel SSD DC S3710 OS Drive + 1x 1.5TB Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X NVMe Drive for CAS_DISK_CACHE + 1x 1.5TB Intel SSD DC P4610 NVMe Drive for application data, CentOS Linux* 7.6 kernel 4.19.8.
  • New hardware tested: 2S Intel® Xeon® Platinum 8280 processor, 2.7GHz, 28 cores, turbo and HT on, BIOS SE5C620.86B.0D.01.0286.011120190816, 1536GB Intel Optane DCPMM configured in Memory Mode(8:1), 12 slots / 128GB / 2666 MT/s, 192GB DRAM, 12 slots / 16GB / 2666 MT/s DDR4 LRDIMM, 1x 800GB, Intel SSD DC S3710 OS Drive + 1x 1.5TB Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X NVMe Drive for CAS_DISK_CACHE + 1x 1.5TB Intel SSD DC P4610 NVMe Drive for application data, CentOS Linux* 7.6 kernel 4.19.8.)

Persistent memory: one way to rein in IT costs was published on SAS Users.

11月 102018
 

"The customer is always right," was popularized by pioneering, successful retailers such as Harry Gordon Selfridge, John Wanamaker and Marshall Field. I remember a variation on this idea — Rule 1. The customer is always right. Rule 2. If the customer is wrong, go back to Rule 1.

This fundamental premise of customer service remains true regardless of channel: brick-and-mortar store, mobile device or website.

Emerging technologies provide retailers the opportunity to differentiate themselves with data and analytics that enhance the customer experience. Retailers can partner with the analytics using data associated with past and present interactions and through systemic innovation can capitalize on future customer interactions.

SAS has been a Red Hat partner for more than 15 years. Its retail customers use Red Hat technologies across many parts of their organizations. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is the preferred choice for many SAS retail customers because it provides a stable, reliable platform with a low total cost of ownership. SAS® Analytics, when paired with Red Hat Middleware, allows teams to seamlessly integrate retail data movement from the edge to the data center. In addition, both companies have developed a joint workflow to ensure that customer problems are resolved quickly.

But what does this partnership really mean to the retail customer?

Four factors that make retail analytics real

Better scalability. Seasonal factors can significantly impact the retail industry. A spike in demand around signature events -- planned and unplanned – can result in order-of-magnitude variations in the volume of data to be processed. The larger the data volume, the higher the compute and storage resources required.

That’s where cloud can come in. SAS Analytics with Red Hat open cloud technology allows retailers to scale their analytics up and out as their business climate evolves by automatically provisioning additional resources.

Faster time to analytics. The digital customer is not only motivated by the products available through the retailer but also to the overall shopping experience. A robust IT strategy has become even more important to the retailer.

Retailers need to continually develop new features that draw customers to the store for the experience. The goal is to entice a digitally-minded customer to get offline and come to the store. Red Hat solutions power DevOps implementations that speed time to market.

Increased flexibility. The digital world would be a lot simpler if everyone a single cloud solution. But it is a hybrid world out there with a multitude of workloads that are best suited for a diverse array of environments including bare metal, virtual machines, private and public clouds.

Workloads may need to be moved across these environments as well. Red Hat technologies allow retailers to virtualize their SAS analytics over a range of secure deployment options, including public, private, and hybrid clouds.

Added security. Data being such a precious commodity, digital retailers may have to be more concerned in some cases about the security and privacy of their customer’s data than the goods they sell! ‘Adversaries R Us’ are always on the prowl in the digital neighborhood, continuously innovating newer ways to penetrate the enterprise to access the customer data.

Prevention is better than cure, even when it comes to data security. With the SAS and Red Hat platform, customers benefit from continuous built-in security, offered end-to-end on trusted platforms and augmented by automated patching and proactive remediation in compliance with regulatory standards.

There you have it!

SAS and Red Hat provide a platform that supports every phase of the analytics life cycle to ensure that the Customer will always be right! Let me take it a step further. If such partnerships are not leveraged to benefit the customer, Retailers will be proven wrong!

How else can they drive a partnership with analytics?

The customer will always be right with open analytics was published on SAS Users.

6月 082018
 

Who doesn’t love a good makeover story? We know we do at BNL Consulting—and so do our customers. That’s why we’re thrilled with SAS Visual Analytics sophisticated new look and feel as well as its expanded functionality. SAS Visual Analytics takes advantage of the performance and scalability of the SAS Viya platform, providing a Business Intelligence framework that can work with massive amounts of data, bringing forward the powerful analytics that has made SAS the market leader in this space.

With SAS Viya, we get an even more unified platform with a consistent look and feel across applications which have been rewritten as zero client HTML5 web applications. The visualizations that are available in SAS Visual Analytics are embedded within the other tools as well. Now customers—from analysts to business executives—can point and click all from their web browser to get the information they need to make better business decisions right out of the box.

The newest version of SAS Visual Analytics provides direct access to an in-memory set of data as well. The process of loading data that can be made available to SAS Visual Analytics has been streamlined to give users fast access to information to create dashboards, reports and perform ad-hoc analysis. And because the application is so intuitive, users can be up and running in a matter of hours, not days.

In what has become a highly competitive market for business analytics—with BI tools being ubiquitous—SAS Visual Analytics running on SAS Viya provides a formidable means to analyze data, helping organizations tell a story—simply and easily. With SAS Visual Analytics on their side, customers will no longer need to reach outside the platform and make additional purchases. The unified platform is extremely compelling.

New features and benefits

SAS Visual Analytics customers will also benefit from a number of new features, including:

  • A new look and feel that provides drag and drop layout controls to size dashboard objects. New graph, chart, and map objects offer greater control of the properties to make them presentation-ready.
  • Objects on the screen can “talk” to each other, listening in on object events to filter accordingly in unison.
  • With no more LASR server, the process of loading and accessing data is much faster, with even better performance than the previous in-memory LASR server architecture.
  • There is now the ability to create custom HTML5/JavaScript objects, which can be hooked up to the data loaded in memory (data-driven content). HTML/JavaScript/D3 has become the standard in web development, opening up almost countless options for SAS to visualize data and turn it into useful information. Before, custom development was sometimes needed, but SAS Visual Analytics can handle a customer’s needs, all with point and click, drag and drop.

Next steps

When organizations use BI tools, they expect appealing visuals on top of rich data that can tell a story. SAS Visual Analytics on SAS Viya delivers in a big way, ushering in a new era for SAS BI users. We encourage customers to try out SAS Visual Analytics and see for themselves. We have found that a successful path is to start with small-scale proof of concepts, designed to satisfy a few critical uses. As you become more comfortable, expand to include more users and different types of projects.

With all the software options out there—both COTS and Open Source—we want customers to feel confident that SAS Visual Analytics for SAS Viya is the right choice. For more details, you can contact BNL at BNLConsulting.com.

SAS Visual Analytics on the new SAS platform was published on SAS Users.

6月 082018
 

Who doesn’t love a good makeover story? We know we do at BNL Consulting—and so do our customers. That’s why we’re thrilled with SAS Visual Analytics sophisticated new look and feel as well as its expanded functionality. SAS Visual Analytics takes advantage of the performance and scalability of the SAS Viya platform, providing a Business Intelligence framework that can work with massive amounts of data, bringing forward the powerful analytics that has made SAS the market leader in this space.

With SAS Viya, we get an even more unified platform with a consistent look and feel across applications which have been rewritten as zero client HTML5 web applications. The visualizations that are available in SAS Visual Analytics are embedded within the other tools as well. Now customers—from analysts to business executives—can point and click all from their web browser to get the information they need to make better business decisions right out of the box.

The newest version of SAS Visual Analytics provides direct access to an in-memory set of data as well. The process of loading data that can be made available to SAS Visual Analytics has been streamlined to give users fast access to information to create dashboards, reports and perform ad-hoc analysis. And because the application is so intuitive, users can be up and running in a matter of hours, not days.

In what has become a highly competitive market for business analytics—with BI tools being ubiquitous—SAS Visual Analytics running on SAS Viya provides a formidable means to analyze data, helping organizations tell a story—simply and easily. With SAS Visual Analytics on their side, customers will no longer need to reach outside the platform and make additional purchases. The unified platform is extremely compelling.

New features and benefits

SAS Visual Analytics customers will also benefit from a number of new features, including:

  • A new look and feel that provides drag and drop layout controls to size dashboard objects. New graph, chart, and map objects offer greater control of the properties to make them presentation-ready.
  • Objects on the screen can “talk” to each other, listening in on object events to filter accordingly in unison.
  • With no more LASR server, the process of loading and accessing data is much faster, with even better performance than the previous in-memory LASR server architecture.
  • There is now the ability to create custom HTML5/JavaScript objects, which can be hooked up to the data loaded in memory (data-driven content). HTML/JavaScript/D3 has become the standard in web development, opening up almost countless options for SAS to visualize data and turn it into useful information. Before, custom development was sometimes needed, but SAS Visual Analytics can handle a customer’s needs, all with point and click, drag and drop.

Next steps

When organizations use BI tools, they expect appealing visuals on top of rich data that can tell a story. SAS Visual Analytics on SAS Viya delivers in a big way, ushering in a new era for SAS BI users. We encourage customers to try out SAS Visual Analytics and see for themselves. We have found that a successful path is to start with small-scale proof of concepts, designed to satisfy a few critical uses. As you become more comfortable, expand to include more users and different types of projects.

With all the software options out there—both COTS and Open Source—we want customers to feel confident that SAS Visual Analytics for SAS Viya is the right choice. For more details, you can contact BNL at BNLConsulting.com.

SAS Visual Analytics on the new SAS platform was published on SAS Users.

6月 082018
 

Who doesn’t love a good makeover story? We know we do at BNL Consulting—and so do our customers. That’s why we’re thrilled with SAS Visual Analytics sophisticated new look and feel as well as its expanded functionality. SAS Visual Analytics takes advantage of the performance and scalability of the SAS Viya platform, providing a Business Intelligence framework that can work with massive amounts of data, bringing forward the powerful analytics that has made SAS the market leader in this space.

With SAS Viya, we get an even more unified platform with a consistent look and feel across applications which have been rewritten as zero client HTML5 web applications. The visualizations that are available in SAS Visual Analytics are embedded within the other tools as well. Now customers—from analysts to business executives—can point and click all from their web browser to get the information they need to make better business decisions right out of the box.

The newest version of SAS Visual Analytics provides direct access to an in-memory set of data as well. The process of loading data that can be made available to SAS Visual Analytics has been streamlined to give users fast access to information to create dashboards, reports and perform ad-hoc analysis. And because the application is so intuitive, users can be up and running in a matter of hours, not days.

In what has become a highly competitive market for business analytics—with BI tools being ubiquitous—SAS Visual Analytics running on SAS Viya provides a formidable means to analyze data, helping organizations tell a story—simply and easily. With SAS Visual Analytics on their side, customers will no longer need to reach outside the platform and make additional purchases. The unified platform is extremely compelling.

New features and benefits

SAS Visual Analytics customers will also benefit from a number of new features, including:

  • A new look and feel that provides drag and drop layout controls to size dashboard objects. New graph, chart, and map objects offer greater control of the properties to make them presentation-ready.
  • Objects on the screen can “talk” to each other, listening in on object events to filter accordingly in unison.
  • With no more LASR server, the process of loading and accessing data is much faster, with even better performance than the previous in-memory LASR server architecture.
  • There is now the ability to create custom HTML5/JavaScript objects, which can be hooked up to the data loaded in memory (data-driven content). HTML/JavaScript/D3 has become the standard in web development, opening up almost countless options for SAS to visualize data and turn it into useful information. Before, custom development was sometimes needed, but SAS Visual Analytics can handle a customer’s needs, all with point and click, drag and drop.

Next steps

When organizations use BI tools, they expect appealing visuals on top of rich data that can tell a story. SAS Visual Analytics on SAS Viya delivers in a big way, ushering in a new era for SAS BI users. We encourage customers to try out SAS Visual Analytics and see for themselves. We have found that a successful path is to start with small-scale proof of concepts, designed to satisfy a few critical uses. As you become more comfortable, expand to include more users and different types of projects.

With all the software options out there—both COTS and Open Source—we want customers to feel confident that SAS Visual Analytics for SAS Viya is the right choice. For more details, you can contact BNL at BNLConsulting.com.

SAS Visual Analytics on the new SAS platform was published on SAS Users.