Our company is working on getting a SAS license, is this component "SAS Access to Oracle" really necessary?
We are an Oracle shop on Windows XP, MS drivers should allow for all types of ODBC connection and I suppose you can connect to different types of databases (Oracle, MS SQL, Access, Essbase....) without any issue.
Are there users here that did not purchase this module? Anyone knows what you would gain for getting this data access component? I am new to this tool any help would be appreciated.
First off, you'll need SAS/Access to Oracle or SAS/Access to ODBC, but one way or another you'll need some sort of SAS/Access software. You're right that ODBC would allow connection to a variety of databases besides Oracle.
I'm not an expert on SAS/Access stuff, but last I asked someone who was, here's what he told me about the differences between SAS/Access to ODBC and SAS/Access for the specific DBMS:
1. SAS/Access to a specific DBMS (e.g. Oracle) will be 4-10 times faster than ODBC.
2. ODBC will not allow you to use bulkload. Not sure what bulkload is, but it sounds like something that could be nice.
Thanks, Richard. The problem is these data access modules are sold separate and they are expensive. Unlike Base SAS, SAS/STAT, or SAS/GRAPH I cannot seem to find these data access components and their purposes on the SAS website.
Vendor says these are the SAS version of drivers for data access, more stable and allow pass through queries to be run on the database server hence more efficient. However, I wonder how the tool performs with native Microsoft drivers via ODBC connection. Please provide feedback if your SAS package does not include any additional data access modules.
Comparing SAS/Access to Oracle and SAS/Access to ODBC, notice that both support the SAS/Access LIBNAME statement and the Pass-Through facility. The former (LIBNAME statement) allows you to connect to your database from SAS and look at those DBMS tables as if they were SAS data sets (i.e. native SAS data). Essentially, SAS/Access functions like a translator, converting Oracle conventions to SAS conventions just in time for whatever analysis needs to be done.
The Pass-Through Facility allows you to potentially have some or all of the data anlysis performed on the database rather than forcing SAS to do it. This tends to be EXTREMELY nice when possible -- why force every data point to be sent over the network for SAS to process when SQL in the database can handle quite a bit? More on Pass-Through is here:
Okay, so what if you didn't get SAS/Access to ODBC or SAS/Access to Oracle? Well, to do processing in SAS you'd probably have to set up a process where you extracts the data from Oracle into a flat file (i.e. raw data file), store/transmit the raw data file to a location where SAS can access it, read the raw data file using SAS, then do your analysis on the resulting SAS data set. This sort of thing is done in many, many organizations... but it's not much fun. You have to re-export and import each time you want the SAS data to be updated. You have to write and maintain the SAS code to read the raw data file. You have to use database resources to export the file and SAS resources to read it in. If you only need to do this a few times a year, not such a big deal. If need to access the most recent DBMS data on a frequent basis, that's where a SAS/Access product could considerably improve your life! I'm not aware of any drivers from other software products that would allow you to move data directly into SAS. They may exist, I just haven't heard of any.
One final point: your SAS software sales rep will work with you to make sure you have the right products and that you're happy with the software. If you find out you really don't need a particular component, they will work with you to make things right. We're much more interested in creating a relationship to help solve your business problems over the long-term than making a buck selling you something you don't need!