SAS® has long provided the market-leading analytics platform, adding SAS Viya alongside with their legacy SAS 9 technologies. SAS Viya delivers a high-speed in-memory platform, enabling Data Scientists to discover more than ever with SAS analytics. Given the long successful history of SAS 9 and SAS Grid, as well, using both technologies together makes perfect sense. For a quick overview:

  • SAS 9 Foundation – flagship legacy technology, supporting multiple users in server-based deployments.
  • SAS 9 Grid – enhances SAS 9 Foundation to execute jobs in parallel across multiple servers.
  • SAS Viya – enables SAS to leverage in-memory processing, parallelized across multiple instances.

This combined architecture can be deployed quickly in Microsoft® Azure to deliver a cohesive platform. Leveraging Azure’s ability to support automated deployments with Azure Resource Templates, we (Core Compete) have created deployment Quickstarts that support:

1) Either SAS 9 or SAS 9 Grid with SAS Viya 3.5
2) Either SMP (single server) or MPP (multiple parallel servers) for SAS Viya 3.5

The SAS 9 & Viya QuickStart for Azure takes a SAS provided license package for SAS 9, Viya and deploy a well-architected SAS platform into the customer’s Azure subscription. The deployment creates a virtual network and other required infrastructure. After the deployment process completes, you will have the necessary details for the endpoints and connection details to log in to the new SAS Ecosystem. By default, QuickStart deployments enable Transport Layer Security (TLS) for secure communication.

What Gets Set Up?

The QuickStart will setup the following environment on Microsoft Azure:

  • A Virtual Network (VNet) configured with public and private subnets. This provides the network infrastructure for your SAS 94 and SAS Viya deployments.
  • In the public subnet, a Linux bastion host acting as an Ansible Controller Host.
  • In the private subnet, a Remote Desktop instance acting as a Client Machine.
  • In the Application subnet (private subnet), Virtual Machines for:
    • SAS 9.4 – Metadata, Compute, and Mid-Tier Servers
    • SAS Grid – Metadata, Grid Controller, Grid Nodes, and Mid-Tier Servers
    • SAS Viya – Microservices, SPRE, Cloud Analytic Services (CAS) Controller, and CAS Workers Servers
  • Disks required for SAS Binaries, Configuration, and Data will be provisioned using Premium Disks in Azure.
  • Security groups for Virtual Machines and Subnets.
  • Accelerated Networking is enabled on all the network interfaces.
  • All the servers are placed in the same proximity placement group.

Figure 1: SAS 9 and SAS Viya 3.5 Architecture

Figure 2: SAS 9 Grid and SAS Viya 3.5 Architecture

What Is Needed to Get Started?

Although there is no cost to use the Quickstarts, you are responsible for setting of the Azure Cloud Services and acquiring the SAS Software licenses. You will need a SAS license (emailed from SAS for SAS 9 and SAS Viya) to launch this QuickStart. Your SAS account team can advise on the appropriate software licensing and sizing to meet the workload and performance needs. SAS software is typically licensed on maximum number of physical cores for the computational engine.

In Azure, instance sizes are based on virtual CPUs (vcpus) which equates to 2 vcpus per physical core. Depending on your SAS license, the number and size of the instance types could vary. We provide recommended instance types and sizes, based on physical cores, as a starting point for this deployment. You may choose to use larger instances as recommended by SAS sizing guidelines, but we recommend using the instance series noted in the Quickstarts.

At a high level, for SAS compute servers, we recommend using instance types that use the latest Intel® chips to have access to Intel-based math libraries that SAS relies on for performance. In addition, these instance types also support Accelerated Networking and Premium Storage features.

  • Esv3-series – Intel® Xeon® Platinum 8272CL (Cascade Lake), Intel® Xeon® 8171M 2.1 GHz (Skylake), or the Intel® Xeon® E5-2673 v4 2.3 GHz (Broadwell)

For optimum performance, it is recommend to use the same chipset across all compute nodes in a SAS Grid. You may need to work with your Azure team if using Esv3 instances to ensure a homogeneous microarchitecture.

  • Esv4-series – Intel® Xeon® Platinum 8272CL (Cascade Lake)

[Note: Intel sponsored the development of these Azure Quickstarts]

Where Can I Get More Information?

The Quickstarts are available from the Microsoft Azure Marketplace.

Or, you can choose one of the following options to launch the template:

Deploy SAS 9 and SAS Viya
Deploy SAS Grid and SAS Viya
Deploy SAS 9 and SAS Viya
Deploy SAS Grid and SAS Viya

As a SAS Platinum Partner, we provide more information on best practices for deploying SAS technologies in Microsoft Azure. Please see this SAS Communities post.

We’d love to hear from you if you have questions or interest in deploying SAS solutions in Azure.

Rohit Shetty (rohit.shetty@corecompete.com) – Europe/Asia

Diane Hatcher (diane.hatcher@corecompete.com) – Americas