Architecting, installing and maintaining your SAS environment

Purpose of SASApp

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Purpose of SASApp

I have been working with SAS version 9.4 for about a year and half. I find the manuals to be rough going.

 

My office is very simple. We have one physical server; everything available under our license is installed on that one physical box. We accepted the installation defaults and now have the two Application servers that come as defaults: the Metadata server and SasApp.

 

Do sophisticated SAS installations use the concept of a SAS Application Server to group SAS features and offer them to subgroups within their organizations? As an example, could a university build specific SAS App Servers for the History Department, the Economics Department, the Biology Department, etc…

                If true, would the university add or assign additional hardware to the different App Servers? Does this concept give us the ability to allocate hardware for one group but not another? Is that the reason for servers, and logical servers?

 

And why name something a SAS App Server if it isn’t really a server?


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‎03-07-2018 02:34 PM
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Re: Purpose of SASApp

Posted in reply to BrettOsiewicz

From an End User point of view the reason to have an application server is so you can use newer access methods like SAS/Studio and SAS Enterprise Guide to run SAS code.

 

The most common reason I have seen to have multiple "servers" is so you can have different configurations of SAS.  There are some settings that can only be set before SAS starts. In the old days you could just add those to the command you use to run your SAS program.  But with these application servers the end user cannot control that.  So you need to make a different server to give users access to SAS that has been started with different options.

 

The most common one I have seen is the ENCODING setting.  So you might want to have one server using WLATIN1 so your old programs work and another using UTF-8 so you can handle data with multi-byte character encodings.

 

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‎03-07-2018 02:34 PM
Super User
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Posts: 7,932

Re: Purpose of SASApp

Posted in reply to BrettOsiewicz

From an End User point of view the reason to have an application server is so you can use newer access methods like SAS/Studio and SAS Enterprise Guide to run SAS code.

 

The most common reason I have seen to have multiple "servers" is so you can have different configurations of SAS.  There are some settings that can only be set before SAS starts. In the old days you could just add those to the command you use to run your SAS program.  But with these application servers the end user cannot control that.  So you need to make a different server to give users access to SAS that has been started with different options.

 

The most common one I have seen is the ENCODING setting.  So you might want to have one server using WLATIN1 so your old programs work and another using UTF-8 so you can handle data with multi-byte character encodings.

 

Super User
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Re: Purpose of SASApp

[ Edited ]
Posted in reply to BrettOsiewicz

In our case, we run our data warehouse for different data sources, and have distinct groups of users who each may have access to only one source.

So we have two application servers (apart from SASApp, which is kept as installed for reference) that are accessible for different user groups and have their own set of libraries defined.

This corresponds to your idea of having separate servers for departments.

You can use the same path to split your setup over several physical servers, but keep in mind that SAS is licensed based on numbers of servers and cores. Having multiple (logical) application servers on a single physical machine is of course possible.

 

Edit: fixed a typo

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Re: Purpose of SASApp

Posted in reply to BrettOsiewicz

BrettOsiewicz wrote:

 

(...)

 

Do sophisticated SAS installations use the concept of a SAS Application Server to group SAS features and offer them to subgroups within their organizations? (...)

 

                If true, would the university add or assign additional hardware to the different App Servers? Does this concept give us the ability to allocate hardware for one group but not another? Is that the reason for servers, and logical servers?

 

And why name something a SAS App Server if it isn’t really a server?

 


Yes, those installations are called multi-tenant as opposed to 'dedicated' or single-tenant. The trade-off is usually between : sharing benefits extensively / reducing overall costs . There are many caveats from my own experience. For instance, the more you share, the more sophisticated your platform is then the more external costs you spend as regards IT management costs. Large & complex platforms are cheap per user (SAS licence-wise) but costly to build, document, change & manage so this must be well analysed beforehand. A litte squad of standard gnomes, each coming with his own annual fee (greedy people) can sometimes cost less pain & money all things considered than an all-purpose caterpillar able to sustain hundreds of different types of users ...

 

See these pages for further information :

 

https://support.sas.com/resources/papers/proceedings16/11684-2016.pdf

 

https://communities.sas.com/t5/SAS-Communities-Library/A-Practical-Approach-to-Managing-a-Multi-Tena...

 

 

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Re: Purpose of SASApp

Posted in reply to BrettOsiewicz

Another reason for having multiple App servers is to have separate Production, Test and Development environments. Ideally you would run these on separate servers, but sometimes your IT budget doesn't stretch that far so you run multiple App servers on the same physical / virtual server. This is what we do and it works pretty well and enables economical SAS licensing costs. 

New Contributor
Posts: 2

Re: Purpose of SASApp

Interesting.  When we deploy to our new physical box, I had planned on multiple Levs, but now I will definitely consider additional Application Servers as well.

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