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Preparing for promotion, migration, and modernization of your SAS platform

Started ‎09-28-2020 by
Modified ‎09-28-2020 by
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There has been renewed focus recently on promotions, migrations and upgrades as more SAS customers move to the Flash-free seventh maintenance release of SAS 9.4, while others continue to modernize their legacy SAS 9 environments and/or embrace the cloud and move their on-premise platforms to Azure, AWS or GCP. As with any major changes to a SAS platform, preparation is key. A number of applications exist for assisting with preparing for migration, promotion or upgrade activities. The aim of this post is to make sense of the appropriate scenarios in which these applications should be used.

Terminology Recap

  • Migration is the process of moving everything from one environment to another.
  • Promotion refers to the exporting of selected content from a source environment and the importing of that content into a target environment.
  • Upgrading is the process of changing the deployed SAS software to a more recent version or maintenance release.
  • Modernization is the process of moving from a legacy SAS 9 platform to SAS Viya.

Planning SAS 9 promotion and migration

In planning promotion, migration or upgrade activities in SAS 9.1.3, 9.2 or 9.3 environments, understanding the deployment is important. Knowledge of the content that exists in the environment can prove useful when validating in the target environment to ensure all the content exists, is accessible, and functions as it should. There are a couple of ways of creating an inventory of content, but all of them essentially achieve the same goal. The Metadata Reports are my personal preference, as no additional setup or configuration changes are required in the source or target environments. The reports are a collection of five stored processes that extract detailed information from SAS metadata about the architecture, content, and users and groups in the environment.



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The SAS Migration Utility, or SMU, is used to perform migrations between SAS 9.x versions, but it also provides helpful information in the preparation of migration activities. It can be run in "analyze" mode to produce a report which enumarates existing content and assesses migration readiness.




Remember to use the right version of the SMU - that is, the version corresponding to your source environment from the utilities subfolder of your target environment's SAS Software Depot (e.g. if migrating from SAS 9.3 to SAS 9.4, use smu93 from [depot]/utilities in your SAS 9.4 depot).


When upgrading-in-place from an earlier release of SAS 9.4 to a more recent one, System Evaluation (which is part of the SAS 9 Content Assessment collection) can be used to identify potential issues in the environment which may become problematic during the upgrade process. This provides an opportunity for remediation before the upgrade commences so that when the time comes, the upgrade runs smoothly (and fits within your outage window!). Refer to Scott McCauley's earlier breakdown of System Evaluation for more information, and check out this demo to see it in action.

Modernization to Viya

SAS 9 Content Assessment also includes three other applications to assist when preparing for modernization from SAS 9 to SAS Viya.

  • SAS 9 Inventory. Provides a listing and count of all content in the source SAS 9.4 platform.
  • SAS 9 Profile. Profile performs an in-depth analysis of the content in a SAS 9 platform to provide insights into how the platform is used and how things fit together. For instance, it shows hierarchies of cubes, provides a breakdown of different libname engines used, as well as report elements, and more.
  • SAS 9 Code Check. Previously available separately as the Viya Readiness Assessment Utility, this application searches through .SAS files in a specified directory to look for code elements that may cause compatibility issues in SAS Viya, including deprecated SAS procedures as well as things like hard-coded paths that may cause issues in the target Viya environment.

For more information about SAS 9 Content Assessment, refer to this demo video.

When these applications are executed in the source environment, they each create datamarts and produce reports, which can be opened in SAS Visual Analytics to allow for visual exploration of the environment's characteristics.




Note that while the Code Check and Inventory reports can be opened in VA on Viya or VA 7.5 on SAS 9.4, the Profile report can currently only be opened in VA on Viya and needs to be exported (with the datamart) to a SAS Viya environment in order to view the report. Alternatively, the datamart tables (.sas7bdat) can be queried directly if desired.

Viya as the source

When the source environment is running SAS Viya 3.5, and the intention is move to another Viya 3.5 environment, the sas-admin CLI's inventory plug-in can be used to aid migration and promotion planning by creating an inventory of content in the way the Metadata Reporting Stored Processes do for SAS 9. Gerry Nelson has previously written about using the sas-admin CLI's inventory plugin when promoting content to another SAS Viya 3.5 environment.


Summing up, with a compatibility matrix:




Or, to look at it in perhaps a more useful way:


If your source environment is ... and you want to ... use these applications to prepare:
SAS 9.1.3, SAS 9.2 or SAS 9.3 Upgrade or promote to SAS 9.1.3, SAS 9.2, SAS 9.3 or SAS 9.4 (from SAS 9.2 or higher) Metadata Reporting Stored Processes
  Migrate to SAS 9.1.3, SAS 9.2, SAS 9.3 or SAS 9.4 (from SAS 9.2 or higher) SMU "analyze" (Analysis Report)
SAS 9.4 Promote to SAS 9.4 Metadata Reporting Stored Processes (or SAS 9 Inventory)
  Migrate to SAS 9.4 SMU "analyze" (Analysis Report)
  Promote to SAS Viya 3.x SAS 9 Inventory, SAS 9 Code Check (M5 or higher), SAS 9 Profile
  Upgrade-in-place to later maintenance release SAS 9 System Evaluation
SAS Viya 3.5 Promote to SAS Viya 3.5 or SAS Viya 4 sas-admin inventory (CLI)
  Migrate to SAS Viya 4 (more info coming soon) sas-admin inventory (CLI)

More Information

Refer to the official Migration and Promotion documentation for further information.


Thank you for reading. I hope the information provided in this post has been helpful. Please leave a comment below to ask questions or share your own experiences.

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‎09-28-2020 09:27 PM
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