SAS Simplifies Big Data Management, Hadoop

SAS announced new features in its data management offering that simplify handling big data and the use of Hadoop for business users.

ORLANDO, Fla.--Hoping to satisfy a growing need among businesses inundated with data and struggling to deal with the deluge, SAS is making moves to simplify big data and the tools required to handle it, particularly Hadoop.

Organizations struggle to quickly gain value from all data, SAS said. But growing investments in Hadoop and other big-data technologies demand time and skills to integrate data, filter it and apply it to reports, analysis and more, Mike Frost, senior product manager for data integration product management, told eWEEK. SAS, which provides analytics solutions as well as data quality and data integration offerings, has updated its SAS Data Management solution to empower business users to fit data to their needs while accommodating IT data management practices, Frost said.

New role-based interfaces and integrated data stewardship in SAS Data Management significantly reduce the burden on IT of managing data assets. Time saved frees up specialized staff to work on other high-value projects. Further, with the new SAS Federation Server, users can combine data from multiple sources to create virtual business views of information that best fit immediate needs without moving or duplicating data.

SAS made these announcements at its Premier Business Leadership Series (PBLS) event here, a business conference presented by SAS that brings together more than 600 attendees from the public and private sectors to share ideas on critical business issues.

“Enabling business users to do analysis for themselves eliminates time-consuming manual processes required by IT,” said Jim Davis, SAS senior vice president and chief marketing officer, in a statement. ”When business users can quickly dig out value from data to make informed decisions, IT personnel have more time to devote to projects that require their unique skills.”

Essentially, SAS is taking big data and "making it look like every other form of data in your business,” Frost said.

Business users are more efficient when they can access trusted information when they need it, SAS officials said. SAS Data Management’s integrated data remediation, workflow management, monitoring and dashboarding–delivered within a single, role-based interface–let organizations customize the software to fit the needs of any user and any data challenge, the company said.

Business users have to answer tough questions, which often require information from multiple business units or data sources. SAS Federation Server enables users to quickly and easily pull up reliable information, create reports, generate answers and manipulate that data on the spot–without duplicating or transferring data. SAS does this by creating an abstraction data layer that both IT and business staff can use to quickly access data residing in multiple sources. And this virtual data layer avoids complexities associated with traditional data management.

For instance, if business users want an easily understood report that joins current sales forecast and marketing campaign data, rather than waiting for IT to spend days or weeks developing a complex integration process, SAS Federation Server can enable them to create a simple view that joins the two results while always showing the most up-to-date data using business-relevant data labels–all without duplicating the data, the company said.

Meanwhile, SAS Data Management extends the usefulness of features in Hadoop environments such as MapReduce, Hive, Pig and others by providing such essential capabilities as metadata management, data lineage and security. Users can push core data manipulation and exploration processing down into Hadoop through the consolidated SAS Data Management solution. This uses existing SAS skills among business and technical users instead of requiring specialized Hadoop proficiencies, Frost said.

Moreover, organizations that use SAS can now overcome a lack of trained Hadoop resources and drive business value with powerful big-data technology.