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Parquet Support in SAS Compute Server

Started ‎05-05-2022 by
Modified ‎06-01-2022 by
Views 9,941

The Parquet file format has become a standard in the data cloud ecosystem. It’s the new CSV file. Many modern data platforms support it natively. The Parquet file format has many advantages that we presented a while back when CAS first supported it in SAS Viya 3.5. Now is the time to support it in SAS Viya Compute Server.


Viya 2021.2.6 is the first version that introduces support for the Parquet LIBNAME engine. Following the same principles as the ORC LIBNAME engine, it allows a user to easily read and write Parquet data sets using a simple SAS library.


The first iteration provides Parquet support only for “OS Directories” (directories accessible from the SAS Compute Server) files, but this engine is expected to grow quickly as upcoming stable releases will bring new capabilities and extend its support to other platforms. Let’s have a first look at the Parquet LIBNAME engine.




How to assign a Parquet library? You just need to add the parquet engine keyword to your libname instruction that points to a directory. Then you will be able to start reading and writing Parquet files from/to that directory.


libname pqt parquet "/gelcontent/data/parquet" ;


This libname statement also supports options to control how to handle different extensions as well as Parquet files available as directories (exactly like the ORC engine) for reading. On the other hand, SAS creates a Parquet data set only as a single file.


libname pqt parquet "/gelcontent/data/parquet" directories_as_data=yes file_name_extension=_none_ ;


By default, the engine supports "parq", "pq" and "parquet" as extensions, and SAS uses "parquet" when writing new files. The file_name_extension option allows to customize it. You can then easily create a Parquet table:


data pqt.prdsale ;
   set sashelp.prdsale ;
run ;


One of the great benefits of Parquet is the compression rate. Here is what we can obtain from using Parquet files instead of SAS data sets (done on a sample data set):


Type Size Compression from SAS Data Set
SAS Data Set 142 MB  
Compressed SAS Data Set 93 MB 34.5%
Parquet 11 MB 92.3%


You can also manipulate Parquet files like you would do for SAS data sets:


data pqt.prdsale_computed ;
   set pqt.prdsale ;
   diff=actual-predict ;
run ;


Reading third-party files


Another advantage of Parquet is its universality. Many tools can now read and write Parquet files. Starting now, SAS will be able to read Parquet files generated by other tools:


libname pqt parquet "/gelcontent/data/parquet" directories_as_data=yes ;

/* userdata3.parquet is a single parquet file */
proc freq data=pqt.userdata3 ;
   tables gender ;
run ;

/* userdata.parquet is a directory of parquet partitions */
proc freq data=pqt."userdata.parquet"n ;
   tables gender ;
run ;


Data Types Support


In this first version, only the primary data types are currently supported. Logical data types which extend Parquet native data types are not yet supported. If you happen to read a Parquet file that has unsupported data types, the column(s) will be dropped and you might see this message in the log:


78   proc freq data=pqt.userdata3 ;
NOTE: 1 columns are dropped as their data types are not supported.
79   run ;
NOTE: There were 1000 observations read from the data set PQT.userdata3.
NOTE: The PROCEDURE FREQ printed pages 3-130.
NOTE: PROCEDURE FREQ used (Total process time):
      real time           6.58 seconds
      cpu time            6.66 seconds


Future enhancements


In addition to data types support efforts, the Parquet LIBNAME engine is expected to be supported on popular Cloud Providers’ object storage implementation (GCS, S3, ADLS). 


Thanks for reading.


Find more articles from SAS Global Enablement and Learning here.


As of this past spring, we support Parquet logical types with the exception of the list and the map types.

Is there any plans to bring Parquet LIBNAME engine to SAS 9.4?

Version history
Last update:
‎06-01-2022 01:38 PM
Updated by:


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