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Considerations for Updating to SAS 9.4 M8

Started ‎02-10-2023 by
Modified ‎02-10-2023 by
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SAS 9.4 M8 release is the latest release of SAS 9.4. The main purpose of the 9.4 M8 release is to address security vulnerabilities. In this post, I will look at some considerations for customers updating their deployment from an earlier maintenance release of SAS 9.4 to M8. I will look briefly at what has changed in M8, review the approaches to upgrading to M8, and look at changes to the System Evaluation application that is key in preparing for a move to M8.


What is new in M8


I am not going to go into details on all the changes in SAS 9.4 M8 in this post. Please checkout Margaret Crevar's SAS Communities Post for that detailed information. Some key aspects of the release are:


  • A number of operating systems versions are no longer supported
  • SAS private JRE is updated to Java 11
  • The HP-UX platform is no longer supported
  • The list of retired SAS products has expanded
  • Some SAS Solutions are not supported at the initial release
  • Many third-party components have been updated or replaced

Getting to SAS 9.4 M8


In a previous post, I looked at the various ways you can upgrade a SAS 9 deployment.  As a reminder, there are three main approaches (for the details check out the previous post). Each approach has its own pros and cons and each could be used to get to M8. Checkout the post for details.




In this post, we will focus on Update-in-Place, with a detour into Automated Migration. Update-in-Place is the process of modifying an existing SAS Deployment to apply maintenance or add and update SAS products. Update-in-place is only supported within a major SAS release. For example, you can use update-in-place to update SAS 9.4 deployment from earlier maintenance to 9.4 M8, however, you cannot use update-in-place to transition a 9.3 deployment to SAS 9.4. The update modifies the existing deployment rather than creating a new deployment.


System Evaluation and 9.4 M8


A key step in the update process is to run the System Evaluation application. System Evaluation is delivered with Content Assessment and is designed to help customers prepare for an update-in-place of SAS 9.4. System Evaluation examines a SAS Deployment it looks for possible issues that could adversely affect updating from one release of SAS 9.4 to another.


With the release of SAS 9.4 M8, this is a good time to take another look at System Evaluation. My colleague @ScottMcCauley looked in detail at System Evaluation in a previous post. This post is still very useful, and I would encourage you to read it. In this update, I will concentrate on specific items relating to System Evaluation and updating to SAS 9.4 M8.


To get the System Evaluation application download Content Assessment from


Content Assessment is updated each month. When updating to SAS 9.4 M8 make sure you use the System Evaluation application delivered with the Content Assessment 2023.01 or later.


System evaluation should be run before any update-in-place of a SAS 9.4 environment. It should be run


  • Using the SAS install account
  • On each machine in your deployment with a SAS Configuration Directory

Some common System evaluation findings in M8


Products Retired


Several products have been retired and are not available on SAS 9.4 M8. System Evaluation will identify these products. The System Evaluation report lists any retired products in the deployment and provides a link to the documentation on “Removing SAS Configuration”. You can use the SAS Deployment Manager to un-configure any retired products prior to the update. A best practice is to unconfigure retired SAS before you update to M8 and to uninstall them after you update. System Evaluation provides a link to the documentation on removing the configuration.



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Operating System Supported?


With SAS 9.4 M8 several operating system versions have been deprecated.


System Evaluation helps with this issue by providing information on the Operating System(OS) of the SAS 9.4 environment. In addition, on the System Evaluation Summary report under “Helpful Links” is a link to where you can check if your current Operating System release is supported for SAS 9.4 M8.


In some cases, to assist with this issue, System Evaluation may identify your specific current operating system and release.  In others, you may need to perform additional steps on your environment to get the details of what release of an Operating System you are running.




For example, the output above shows we are on the Linux OS but does not give the version of Linux or the release number. This is information you will need to determine if your current Operating System is supported.


How you identify the release of your Operating System varies by the type of OS. The best way to determine a Linux distribution name and release version information is by using the cat /etc/os-release command, which works on almost all Linux systems. (if you are on a different OS I recommend Googling “how to I identity the version of my <insert your os here> operating system?", you will find plenty of information on the internet)


cat /etc/os-release




 Once you have determined the release of your Operating System you use the link provided in the System Evaluation Summary report to determine if 9.4 M8 is supported on your OS release.


If your OS version supports SAS 9.4 M8 you can proceed with an update-in-place. If it does not, then you cannot perform an update on existing hardware. One option available would be to update the version of your OS, we will not look at this option in this post. Let’s look at what your options are if you want to use SAS tools to get to M8 without updating the OS of your current environment.


Getting to M8 if my current OS is not supported


It is a little more complicated to get to M8 if your current OS is not supported. Basically, you must use the automated migration tools (SAS Migration Utility and SAS Deployment Wizard) to migrate your environment to new hardware where 9.4 M8 is supported. But that is not all. If you are familiar with automated migration you will remember that when performing a migration, you must analyze and package your source environment with the SAS Migration Utility (SMU) that is delivered with your target SAS Software order. The version of the SMU delivered with M8 requires Java 11. As a result, in order to perform a migration directly to M8 your source environment must support Java 11. If your source environment does not support Java 11, you will need to migrate first to a SAS 9.4 M7 or earlier environment and then update that environment to M8. The diagram below summarizes the paths available to get to SAS 9.4 M8 if you are currently on an unsupported OS.  




To summarize this again if your 9.4 source environment is not on an OS supported by 9.4 M8 and:

  • supports Java 11 then you can migrate directly to M8 on a new environment on an OS where SAS 9.4 M8 is supported.
  • DOES NOT support Java 11, then you must migrate to an interim environment on SAS 9.4 M7 (or earlier) and then perform an update-in-place on this environment to get to 9.4 M8.


NOTE: deploying a new environment and promoting content is also an option for any 9.4 environments.


Updates to Configuration to Support a Successful UIP


As mentioned earlier the details of the System Evaluation are included in a previous post. It is worth mentioning that the Summary Report may also flag recommended configuration changes that you should make prior to an update. Based on prior experience these changes improve the success rate of the update process. You should make these changes before you update the environment.  




Final Words


SAS 9.4 M8 is an important release for SAS. It eliminates many of the security vulnerabilities that have crept into earlier releases and modernizes much of the third-party software that is part of SAS 9.4. Please remember to run System Evaluation before updating to SAS 9.4 M8. The tools will provide you with detailed information to assist with a successful Update-in-Place. Here are some additional resources:


System Evaluation Tool Helps with SAS 9 Upgrade-in-place Planning

System Evaluation Documentation

Check if your Operating System is supported

A review of the options available for upgrading a SAS 9 deployment

Removing SAS Configuration

SAS Guide to Software Updates

SAS Migration Utility Requirements

Issues addressed in 9.4 M8 (


Find more articles from SAS Global Enablement and Learning here.

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‎02-10-2023 04:18 PM
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