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Suggestions for small footprint, demonstration hardware infrastructure (MPP) for Visual Analytics environment.

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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5

Suggestions for small footprint, demonstration hardware infrastructure (MPP) for Visual Analytics environment.

I am interested in building a Visual Analytics instance in our virtually hosted, development lab environemnt for demonstration purposes.

I was wondering if SAS had any experience they could share from others attempting to build similar, modestly sized demonstration environments for SAS VA.

I was interested in any suggestions around a minimal MPP type footprint that would be sufficient to host SAS VA since the recommended MPP device specs are likely not going to be achievable (read can't be cost justified!) in our current demo lab environment.

I would expect that a relatively modest device configuration can be used to build an infrastructure environment suited for limited demonstration pouposes.  Note that the underlying demo lab server infrastructure would be all virtualized so any experience running SAS VA on virtualized infrastructure would be welcome.

Thanks in advance and any feedback related to this topic is welcome.

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 85

Re: Suggestions for small footprint, demonstration hardware infrastructure (MPP) for Visual Analytics environment.

Hi, just to remain you, there seems to be limited or no support from SAS for virtually running environment as they prefer to offer their support for physical set up only.

I strongly recommend you to be in touch with SAS support before starting your infra set up.

- satlr

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5

Re: Suggestions for small footprint, demonstration hardware infrastructure (MPP) for Visual Analytics environment.

Thanks for your feedback...Yes... we are well aware that officially only physical host environment are supported....This SAS VA environment is only intended to be used for training and limited development activity, which is the underlying mission of our development lab environment.  Virtualized hosts provides a level of flexibility in a development environment that is very attractive.  We have a number of other application environments hosted there that the "official", vendor supported hosting recommendation is for physical hardware infrastructure that serve the lab's mission just fine.  At the same time, most of the vendors we've dealt with have been willing to offer "opinions" on how to make their products run in this sort of environment, when there was not stated product support for same.

On a more philosophical note, virtual hosting is not going away and all indications are that it is fast becoming the norm.  In that sense, I think the time is fast approaching for all vendors to support that sort of hosting option at some point.

SAS Employee
Posts: 2

Re: Suggestions for small footprint, demonstration hardware infrastructure (MPP) for Visual Analytics environment.

You may just want to "borrow" a VM Host for a period of time. We run a large number of VMs which are suitable for many things. However, for SAS VA we are taking the approach that they are more equivalent to a VM Host than a VM guest. The SAS VA minimum spec is 256GB RAM and 16 cores. You could try it in less, and the Cores*8=# of GB RAM rule of thumb would still apply.

We did a SAS VA Demo server of a single 16 core 256GB RAM with a 250GB SSD drive and ran out of disk space and have more disks on order (900GB more disk, though SAS had originally spec'd a 600GB drive for us and SSD is something we did in a pinch with an available server, and not something that anyone recommended for SAS VA). This is primarily for the SAS Work area that some complex jobs were running. In Demo we are at about 50% of memory in use and very low CPU with a chunk of data loaded and a dozen users. The Web server overhead appears to be about 30GB steady state, though at first I thought it bumped up to about 50GB RAM but haven't seen that since. You could give it a try on lower CPU/RAM machine/VM Host equivalent in an "unsupported" configuration if that helps to get your feet wet, but depending on use and memory requirements you'll want to get bigger faster.

We are building much bigger clusters of 4 and 6 servers for test and production and going to 20core/320GB memory and 900GB starting disk on each node.

P.S. We were also evicted from our VM environment for running 15X the disk IO of the next busiest VM guest. We have gone physical for our SAS BI environments.

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5

Re: Suggestions for small footprint, demonstration hardware infrastructure (MPP) for Visual Analytics environment.

Thanks Jonathan for your insights/experience....Can sympathize with your having been kicked out of lab hosting because of your  "efficient" use of said resource!

Can well understand the need to have physical infrastructure if you're intending to do anything meaningful with SAS VA.

SAS Employee
Posts: 30

Re: Suggestions for small footprint, demonstration hardware infrastructure (MPP) for Visual Analytics environment.

SAS has supported virtualized environments for a while http://support.sas.com/techsup/pcn/virtualization.html though with that said we supported virtualized non distributed at VA 6.2 and distributed at VA 6.3

Running virtualized will only be supported on the same physical hardware specifications.

Since you asked from a SAS perspective I need to state that only configurations that meet the minimum hardware specs are support for either physical or virtualized.

I assume that the reason why you want to go distributed is because non distributed isn't suffice?

An unsupported distributed config would be 4 machines of less than 16 cores... like 4 8 cores or 4 4 cores. Note these are physical cores.

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5

Re: Suggestions for small footprint, demonstration hardware infrastructure (MPP) for Visual Analytics environment.

Justin,  Thanks for the feedback and pointing out SAS statement of support for virtualization.  Understand the environment under discussion is intended solely for demonstration purposes so we are prepared to take some liberties with it and understand there are trade-offs.  In that vein, we are looking for any experience running SAS VA on marginally less than ideal host configurations.   4 8-core machines happens to one option we are considering.  We fully understand that would be sub-optimal and that there would be limitations imposed by such a configuration.....Is there anything in SAS VA that would specifically prevent the environment from coming up? 

SAS Employee
Posts: 30

Re: Suggestions for small footprint, demonstration hardware infrastructure (MPP) for Visual Analytics environment.

As I am replying with my SAS hat on. Smiley Happy The same support statement that I wrote above regarding support is still in effect.

No none that I know off.

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5

Re: Suggestions for small footprint, demonstration hardware infrastructure (MPP) for Visual Analytics environment.

Excellent....That's the answer I would have hoped for so thanks for providing the SAS perspective!...:smileycool:

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