Raymond Thomas

7月 152021
 

I am a long-time SAS 9 Administrator, I feel very confident in my understanding of SAS 9 administration. I will admit I don’t know everything, but I have been administering SAS since the days of SAS 9.1.3. I often tell my students I am a general practitioner when it comes to SAS 9. I know a little about a lot of things. Even at that, I still feel I can handle most questions when it comes to SAS 9 administration. I will always yield to someone with more knowledge, but I feel I can hold my own.

I am comfortable with SAS 9 administration. I’m confident in my understanding of the SAS Servers, metadata and all the other parts that make up the SAS 9 environment. I was great deploying SAS 9 in various environments that mostly meant some form of on-premise. It was the norm for me to expect to be able to go to the air-conditioned room, with the raised floor, and marvel at my server farm. There was some downside to this that we all knew: the upkeep of physical servers, the up-front cost of those servers and scalability just to mention a few factors. Even with those barriers, I still embraced the tried-and-true work associated with being a SAS 9 administrator.

Sometimes things change and bring us out of our comfort zone

As I was snuggled up to SAS 9 administration like a certain character and his blanket, SAS embraced microservices, cloud and Kubernetes. I’ll admit that I had a brief OMG moment. As an instructor I should, in theory, know more than the student. Well, I knew this was one time that might not be the case. I consider myself technically savvy, but I was concerned because I didn’t really know where to begin and it all seemed daunting to me.

Then I had to realize that though SAS has transformed, some things remain the same. I won’t say my thoughts are the thoughts of anyone else at SAS, but it’s my way to proverbially eat the elephant. (No elephants were harmed in erasing my confusion, by the way. 😊)

If you want an amazing introduction to SAS Viya and Kubernetes, check out Vasilij Nevlev’s SAS Global Forum Paper titled, Introduction to Azure Kubernetes Service and SAS® Viya® 2020. Vasilij’s analysis is a useful tool, but I needed a bit more to be able to feel like “I got it".

Making associations with things I already knew

Although there was a dramatic shift in the overall architecture, the tool for managing the latest release of SAS Viya is very similar to the tool used to manage SAS Viya 3.5. I was excited to see that SAS Environment Manager remained much the same. You can still use SAS Environment Manager to manage data, server configuration, content, and security. I am comforted in that.

This association thing was going well, so I decided to continue the process. The next similarity I noticed was in the configuration. I was pleased to know that SAS Viya still relied on a YAML file for configuration options. That told me that although things had changed, much had remained the same.

The final point I will touch on here is the commands used with Kubernetes. Now I know what you might be thinking, “Raymond those kubectl commands are the stumbling block for me!” I get what you are saying. It is another “language” for us to learn. For me, I’m already used to navigating commands in a Linux environment. In addition, the kubeclt command line is support by the Microsoft, Amazon and Google platforms. This is not something you might have to worry about as an administrator, but as an instructor this is wonderful news. SAS Viya is supported on those platforms and now I just have to learn one command line interface.

All of this gets me excited about administration of SAS Viya and what is happening with the software. I hope you share in my excitement. And I hope to meet you in one of our SAS Viya Administration courses soon.

Going from SAS 9 to SAS Viya and I can hardly contain myself was published on SAS Users.

7月 292020
 

Students in my classes often want to know about how to discover what's going on in their SAS environment. They get auditing questions from others in their organizations and don’t know how to find the answers. I honestly get a bit giddy when I can point them to SAS® software's Report Center, so it seems fitting to tout it now, as Friday is System Administrator Appreciation Day.

The Report Center, available since SAS 9.4M3, is a collection of stored processes that produce reports from data in the SAS Environment Manager Data Mart. These reports are a window into the performance and status of your SAS environment and its resources. They're samples of the types of reports you can produce using available metric data. You can also create your own reports to meet your individual requirements.

How Report Center works

The stored processes in the Report Center are created when you initialize SAS Environment Manager Extended Monitoring. However, the stored processes operate only on data that was stored in the SAS Environment Manager Data Mart by the APM or ACM ETL processes. Unless you initialize and enable one of those packages, no reports are produced.

The information in SAS Environment Manager Data Mart is the storage area for the Audit Performance Metrics (APM) and Agent Collected Metrics (ACM). APM scans the components in your SAS system for SAS server logs, SAS job logs, SAS Metadata and HTTP access logs; basically, everything SAS. The ACM collects information such as workload, CPU usage, and memory.

The current SAS Administration Fast Track course, which includes information about the Report Center, is taught on SAS 9.4M6. Before I decided to write this post, I searched and found others have provided information about the Report Center. There are several other blog posts and videos about it, so it surprises me how many I teach are unaware of the Report Center.

After generating reports in class, I have a whole new band of converts for the SAS Report Center. The great news is that it is never too late to initialize the Report Center in your SAS 9 environment.

Learn more about how to use the Report Center in the SAS Environment manager 2.5 User's Guide. Training for the SAS Report Center is found in the SAS® Platform Administration: Fast Track. Happy SysAdmin Day a couple of days early! I look forward to the opportunity to meet you in one of our upcoming classes!

TAKE THE CLASS | SAS® PLATFORM ADMINISTRATION: FAST TRACK

Report Center: SAS SysAdmin's secret weapon was published on SAS Users.

7月 282020
 

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?

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.

BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY | TRAINING FOR SAS PLATFORM ADMINISTRATOR

A day in the life of the SAS Platform Administrator was published on SAS Users.