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what are your ideal tools for sas enterprise administration on wintel?

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what are your ideal tools for sas enterprise administration on wintel?

I'd suppose SMC and ARM, but is this enough for an administrator? I noted that Chuck mentioned in another thread that sas is a data-centric language, but I am perturbed that my organisation does not have a clear idea what to do with data management (no, we do not have sas metadata server too).

I wonder how you guys (administrators, not programmers) picked up the skills. I am now talking with some folks about courses, but it appears theres only one module for administration (sas management console), and little else on other mundane issues that an administrator might be concerned with: such as benchmarking, troubleshooting, sizing your hardware, user and access management, performance monitoring and management, systems and application architecture design considerations, and data management

I am now using some of the tools from sysinternals (that has been acquired by microsoft), which I found quite useful for understanding what is happening on the box (besides perfmon.msc and syslogs), but theres alot of room for improvement (where administration and troubleshooting goes)

Message was edited by: Joshua Message was edited by: Joshua
Occasional Contributor
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Re: what are your ideal tools for sas enterprise administration on wintel?

A few SAS Administrators I know rave about this course as a great platform administration course:

http://www.sas.com/apps/wtraining2/coursedetails.jsp?ctry=us&course_code=PAFAST

But it is a Metadata Server centric course.
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Re: what are your ideal tools for sas enterprise administration on wintel?

> benchmarking, troubleshooting, sizing your
> hardware, user and access management, performance
> monitoring and management, systems and application
> architecture design considerations, and data
> management

Benchmarking has two biases:
1) benchmarking the hardware for comparison to other hardware
2) benchmarking the application, also called baselining, for sizing purposes.

Sizing is a Capacity Planning thing, and is a whole field of study unto itself. I have been a Capacity Planner for 9 years now, as of April 1. Check out The Computer Measurement Group (CMG).

Most larger organizations have Windows system administrators with their MS... certification(s); and Network Administrators with their Cisco, Novell and MS certifications; and Systems Architects with their B.S. and M.S. degrees, certifications, and years of experience of having been a sys admin and/or maybe a developer; Capacity Planners with years of experience having done a lot of different things with IT; Data Architects and DBA's. All of these are separate disciplines and separate positions. Each has their own set of tools that they use.

Data Architects are generally focused on databases and generally have an Entity Relationship Management tool (ERM). DBA's have tools that are specific to the RDMS's that they service, and then a 3rd party monitoring tool (like foglight). Performance monitoring of the system can be with MOM, BMC Performance Assurance (Best1), Tivoli, HP Measureware (Glance+, or whatever it is called now), TeamQuest, Compuware and many others. Nobody does capacity planning right, so we all use SAS in conjuction with performance data and other business data sources. Architectural tools range from Visio to expensive Dataflow diagramming tools that are integrated with other graphical systems representation tools. Many shops rely on the vendors and/or consultants to do most of their design work for them.

One of the best tools is "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. Probably 2/3 of what we do is political in nature. We have to continually sell management on what the right thing to do is. We have to work with users, and other departments. It is often not enough to just present a technically and financially sound case for acquiring equipment, software and/or people (help).

" ... and the beat goes on ... " Message was edited by: Chuck
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Re: what are your ideal tools for sas enterprise administration on wintel?

I agree with you on that. Capacity planning is an art in itself, and a competent planner might be able to take all things into consideration after spending some time in different stations and scopes (sys admin, dba, sys engineering, security, etc). Having worked with both weblogic and oracle, I'd typically fall back on past experiences to guage hardware sizing, and slowly scale up based on intutitve tools (MRTG to look at memory usage, elapsed time for average transactions, etc).

It becomes more difficult with SAS because *a) its not apparent from typical resource monitoring tools (e.g. perfmon.msc, MRTG, Rational Robot)that an application is underperforming or is constrained by hardware (I've read the sugi paper 277-26, 276-26 and the other paper for server 2003), and there arent many clear benchmark units (e.g. elapsed time per transaction given per unit of data). Even for data management, I've been peering through quite a few white papers on I/O optimisation, and some specifically on wintel (not sas related). I'd like to depend on the vendor but they arent very forthcoming, and I am personally disappointed with the quality of deliverables (granted that they are also understaffed, overworked and covering too many product suites).

At the end of the day, I'd love a vendor or consultant to come in, take a look (maybe ARM, maybe something else), and say "alright, you should have 4 x 3GHz cpu and 4TB of disk space, 16 GB of physical memory, using /pae if you want to accomplish this much work for this many users" but its not going to happen. Hence, I feel as though I am slowly postulating trends and requirements by looking at SAS as a black box, and making assumptions that I cant validate. Thats very dissatisfying for an administrator who wants to ensure his hardware and systems architecture is best suited to the application suites running on it.

Interestingly, I concur that a huge part of this is getting support from other stakeholders. Each IT procurement or deployment is there to meet a business need, but if stakeholders dont see the benefits, they have no reason to pay for training or additional memory. Message was edited by: Joshua
SAS Employee
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Re: what are your ideal tools for sas enterprise administration on wintel?

Have you thought about engaging your local SAS Professional Services & Delivery team? SAS PSD offer Architecture Assessment services which provide expert advice to help you optimise your use of SAS by improving the effectiveness of your enterprise architecture. This will enable you to improve the efficiency of your IT processes, manage your IT costs and provide mission-critical analytical services. Seems to be the right answer to your comment " I'd love a vendor or consultant to come in, take a look ... and say "alright ..."
SAS Employee
Posts: 149

Re: what are your ideal tools for sas enterprise administration on wintel?

Hi Joshua,

We are going to roll out an EG administration course for EG 4.2 some time next year. If you're using EG 4.1, there are already a series of e-Lectures available on this topic. There's some discussion in the EG 4.1 lectures on using a Metadata repository, though not everything is predicated on this.

First lecture:
https://support.sas.com/edu/schedules.html?id=417&ctry=US

All five lectures can be found under SAS Platform Administration at:
https://support.sas.com/edu/elearning.html?ctry=us&productType=electure

The course and e-Lectures really focus on the software, not the hardware. In terms of hardware specs and monitoring, I'd definitely contact SAS and see what their thoughts are. Your sales rep would be a good starting point and could give you an idea of what resources are available.
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