SAS Takes Major Steps Toward Moving Analytics Platform to the Cloud

SAS Institute introduced its Viya platform, which will make it easier to deploy SAS analytics applications to cloud computing environments.

SAS Analytics Cloud 2

LAS VEGAS—SAS Institute took some major steps toward moving its data analytics apps to the cloud this week at its SAS Global Forum.

The Cary, N.C., analytics vendor announced SAS Viya, a microservice-based platform for running SAS analytics tools that will become the foundation for all SAS applications in the future.

Viya is not the cloud, but SAS dubbed it "cloud-ready." SAS or Web partners can host Viya, which also can leverage compute or storage in clouds, such as Amazon Web Services for Bursting. Viya can also be programmed with open tools, such as Cloud Foundry and Python, officials here said.

"Bursting" is a cloud computing technique in which large applications run in corporate data centers or private clouds, but can "burst" to a public cloud in a hybrid configuration when additional processing capacity is required.

While SAS, with its roots in the mainframe world, is taking some of its first steps toward a cloud-based architecture, some SAS customers have been using SAS in the cloud for a while.

Mohammed Chaara, director of Lenovo’s Customer Insight Center, has been running several SAS products in the Amazon cloud under a "bring your own license" arrangement for three years.

Chaara's group tracks products in the field for support calls, repairs and customer sentiment via call center recordings and social media posts. He's managing a Hadoop cluster with 160 AWS cores, "crunching numbers 24/7," he said, with SAS Visual Analytics, SAS Sentiment Analysis and Enterprise Miner.

After building up the usage over the first two years, he said, "we have matured in practice. We know what to expect and are now looking at ways to optimize resources, manage costs and prioritize efforts."

Analytics services to be included in Viya when it launches in the third quarter include SAS Visual Analytics, SAS Visual Statistics, SAS Visual Investigator and SAS Visual Data Mining and Machine Learning.

Along with Viya, SAS will create a new microservice-based management console for it, dubbed Environment Manager, which will unify the SAS Management Console, SAS Deployment Manager and other tools into a single interface, officials said.

SAS made other announcements around its marketing solution, including a new product called Customer Intelligence 360. It has two core modules: SAS 360 Discover, for gaining insights on customers through Web or mobile behaviors; and SAS 360 Engage, for creating and optimizing marketing campaigns.

SAS also announced SAS Analytics for IoT, a set of tools for analyzing sensor data generated by devices connected via the Internet of things.

The company has been active in helping cities leverage sensor data for creating more sustainable environments. It joined the Envision America program last fall as part of that effort. The group's executive director, Amy Aussieker, was at the Global Forum to discuss how data is making "smart cities" projects more viable.

"This is a city-led program. We didn't want tech companies coming in and telling cities how to be smart," she said. "But we first needed the data to inform us of [energy, water, automobile] usage, and SAS is helping enable that.”

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. He has an extensive background in the technology field. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture, at TechTarget. Before that, he was the director, Editorial Operations, at Ziff Davis Enterprise. While at Ziff Davis Media, he was a writer and editor at eWEEK. No investment advice is offered in his blog. All duties are disclaimed. Scot works for a private investment firm, which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this blog, and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made.

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture,...