General

Two New SAS Blogs

Aug
31

Well new for me anyway ;-)

Found two new SAS blogs in the interweb today, one when I was researching EG 4.3 doco from Susan Slaughter who has a great post titled “Top 10 Reasons to Use SAS Enterprise Guide”

And a blog from philihp which has some good SAS coding hints.

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SAS Forum – Sydney 2010 is full

Jul
20

Looks like it will be a great SAS Forum in Sydney next month, as it is a sell out with 3 weeks to go!

http://www.sas.com/offices/asiapacific/sp/news/releases/SFANZ2010.html?utm_medium=RSS&utm_source=AustraliaNZ_PressRelease

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SAS 9.3 and 9.4 and 9………

Jul
18

It is always interesting how quickly answers from Tech support move to fixed in the next release once a new release is out.

Some of the peopl I talk to regular are telling me they are sometimes getting fixed in SAS 9.3 in response to issues now.

I came across this note today on the SAS Support site:

http://support.sas.com/techsup/pcn/openvms93.html

Product Change Notifications from SAS

Statement of support for Windows on Itanium and Open VMS Itanium

April 2010 Due to changing market conditions, SAS 9.3 will drop support for Windows on Itanium (W64) and Open VMS Itanium (IVMS, VMI) operating systems. SAS will continue to assist customers in migrating to other operating systems. Note: SAS 9.2 will continue to support these operating systems.

Modified Technical Support

Upon release of SAS 9.4, Technical Support will be provided at Level B and will follow the schedule as outlined in the Technical Support Policies.”

So there you go SAS 9.3 and SAS 9.4!

But the good thing is that SAS are giving customers a good heads up on the future direction of the product and associated platform support and that is a good thing.

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Wish I owned an Octopus

Jul
16

Bob from IBM posted a comment a while ago I missed (sorry Bob) to my post about SAP/Teradata or SAS/Teradata/SAP mergers.

Well with SAP buying Sybase that gives them the database they needed.

They missed out on Analytics when you guys snapped SPSS.

So that leaves either a SAS/Teradata play (we could even through ESRI into it to make it spicy) or a SAS/SAP play.

Given the collaboration between SAS/Teradata via their in-database processing and Teradata’s sponsorship of SAS events (well in Australasia at least oh and while you are there scroll to the bottom and let me know what you think of the extra a in SaasInct, i’m not so sure i’m loving it) then a merger would technically be simple and there are not a lot of competing capability apart from Data Mining and Marketing Automation etc.

The SAS/SAP one is interesting cause it gives them a world leading Analytics capability, but competes with BO.  Then again buying multiple competing products never stopped Uncle Larry at Oracle.

The key is why would SAS offer themselves to SAP, as Dr Jim will obviously choose if and when he sells and also to whom.

The SAP/Teradata one would give SAP a form of Analytics, but with them buying Sybase (and paying so much) the value they would receive would be so much less than before.

And I still havent discounted HP buying some software capability to get into the game, but with the market convergence still happening then they are losing the ability to get enough pieces to compete I think.

One of the things I lost track of was the number of companies SAS has purchased since I left.  It wasn’t until I was doing some research around SAS solution for Risk that I started to see a whole raft of new companies and capability.  Need to find time to track them all down and blog them out of interest.

So anyway after all that no real answer or insight on who and what next, which I had that Octopus from the Soccer World Cup and then I could invest in shares and retire to blog full-time ;-)

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Are Tabs coming back to SAS WRS 4.3? (Elvis is in the building!)

Jun
09

One of the things we know our users will not like when we move to SAS 9.2 is the removal of the tabs in Web Report Studio 4.2.

They make it so easy to see whats available and we make a lot of use of sections / tabs in our reports to reduce the number of reports we have to maintain.

I heard a rumour that tabs are back in Web Report Studio 4.3 (due out Q34 2010), but havent found any screenshots on the web to confirm this.

If you know let me know and make my users happy.

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VM Ware Networking Options

VM Ware Networking Options
May
29

How does networking inside a virtual machine work?

Your VMware Fusion virtual machines talk to your network using a virtual network adapter. Inside your virtual machine, the guest operating system (Windows, Linux, etc.) believes that it is equipped with an ordinary (wired) Ethernet card. But Fusion patches this card to your Mac’s regular network connection, regardless of whether it is wireless or wired.

What choices do I have for how my virtual machine connects?

Using Fusion’s Virtual Machine menu, you can choose among bridged mode, NAT mode, and host-only mode. NAT mode is the default.

What do these choices mean, and how do I choose the right one for me?

We’ll examine each of these network modes in turn.

What is bridged mode?

Your home or office network is probably equipped with a router for talking to the Internet. Bridging is a network term that describes extending a network without using a router. When you place your virtual machine’s virtual network adapter into bridged mode, your local wired or wireless network is effectively extended to your virtual machine. Your virtual machine becomes a peer of all the other computers on that network.

Although your virtual machine will connect to your local network using the same hardware your Mac uses, the virtual machine will retain its own fully independent network identity. Mac OS’s networking features cannot tell the difference between your virtual machine and a PC on your local network; Mac OS interacts with them over the network in exactly the same way.

Many users’ Macs get their IP address from their wireless base station or router, using a piece of software built into those devices called a DHCP server. In bridged mode, if the operating system inside your virtual machine (Windows, Linux, etc.) is configured to request an IP address from a DHCP server, your virtual machine will get its IP address from the same DHCP server your Mac uses.

What is NAT mode?

NAT is a network technology that protects one network from another. For example, your router probably also acts as a firewall: it protects your Mac by preventing unknown computers on the Internet from connecting directly to it. The term “NAT” is an abbreviation for “Network Address Translation”; the protection afforded by a firewall works (in part) by the router representing your Mac on the Internet. Your router substitutes its own address for your Mac’s.

VMware Fusion’s NAT mode is the same technology, but one layer closer to you. NAT mode protects your virtual machine from the other computers around it by placing the virtual machine on an isolated virtual network. Whenever your virtual machine wants to communicate with your office network or the Internet, it does so through a software firewall. This firewall is a component of VMware Fusion that runs inside Mac OS.

Notice that, in this situation, your virtual machine is not on the same network as your Mac and your router. Compare this to the diagram of bridged mode, in which your virtual machine is a peer of your Mac and your router.

In NAT mode, your virtual machine will get its IP address from a DHCP server supplied by VMware Fusion that runs in Mac OS, just as the firewall does. But this IP address will only be used for relaying communication between your virtual machine and the software firewall; that firewall will represent your virtual machine for its network communication with the outside world. Another way to think about this: from the Internet’s perspective, your virtual machine is sharing your Mac’s IP address.

What is host-only mode?

In host-only mode, your virtual machine is not only protected from your local network and the Internet, but also locked out of them. The virtual machine’s network world is wholly within your Mac.

Just as in NAT mode, your virtual machine will get its IP address from a DHCP server supplied by VMware Fusion that runs in Mac OS.

How do I choose the right network mode for me?

The right network mode for your virtual machine depends on how you plan to use it. In an office or home-office environment, with network printers and file sharing, bridged mode is probably best, particularly because bridged mode allows your virtual machine to use Apple’s Bonjour technology for finding printers. Windows’s workgroup features need bridged mode; only in bridged mode will a Windows virtual machine’s Network Neighborhood show the other PCs on your local network.

NAT mode is ideal when you want your virtual machine to be protected from other computers on your local network, such as when you are using a public wireless connection. Because, in NAT mode, your virtual machine shares your Mac’s IP address for purposes of external communication, it’s especially ideal for use when you are using a paid wireless service, such as in a coffeehouse or hotel. The use of bridged mode would require you to pay twice: once for your Mac and once for your virtual machine.

Host-only mode is useful for environments where your Mac has no network connection at all, or when you wish your virtual machine to be completely isolated from the rest of the Internet.

That’s a lot of choices. How do I keep them all straight in my head?

Here’s a way to think about the network choices:

Mode Nickname
Bridged Home-office mode
NAT Starbucks mode
Host-only Airplane mode

Can I change from one mode to another?

Yes! But, unless you have configured your virtual machine to use fixed IP addresses, you must tell the operating system inside your virtual machine to release and renew its IP address. Renewing your IP address after you change network modes will automatically contact the correct DHCP server: the one on your local network if you changed to bridged mode, and the one provided by VMware Fusion if you changed to NAT or host-only mode.

To release and renew IP addresses within Windows, open a command prompt using Start -> Run -> cmd . Then, in the command-prompt window, give first this command:

ipconfig/release

then this command:

ipconfig/renew

Rebooting the virtual machine will also cause it to obtain a fresh IP address.

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SAS 9.2 Maintenance Release 3 is out

May
23

SAS have issued the 3rd maintenance release to the SAS 9.2 software.

You can find a list of bugs / issues / unplanned features that have been resolved here:

Issues Addressed in SAS 9.2 (TS2M3)


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The rise and fall of software companies – Whats your favourite browser?

May
10

Just reviewing my blog Stats on Google Analytics and saw these stats for the last month:

Browser
Visits
% visits
Internet Explorer
54.21%
Firefox
33.31%
Chrome
8.89%
Safari
2.03%
Opera
1.17%

I remember when I started to play around with doing website development over 14 years ago and at the time Netscape had massive market share.  In fact they had so much market share I used to code the sites specifically for Netscape and put some code in to catch all the Internet Explorer users and pass them to a warning page (now wasn’t that customer friendly behavior ;-) .

As you can see Netscape isn’t anywhere on the landscape of people who have stumbled across my blog.

Got me to thinking of what other software leaders have disappeared over this time.

Back then I was involved in delivering Accounting Software and was witnessing the death of products such as Chairman and Masterpiece, and the emergence of SAP, Peoplesoft and Oracle.  Interestingly JD Edwards is one of the few that made it through the transition (before they were swallowed by Oracle of course).

Then came the wave of Purchasing software (Ariba etc) and CRM software (Siebel).  Again all gone or swallowed by the big boys.

Next came BI Software, Business Objects, Cognos, Proclarity, Essbase, Hyperion.  Again all swallowed, but the brands survive (for now).

I had already witnessed the rise and fall of Lotus 123 and whatever the word equivalent was (must be getting old can’t remember its name, just remember it had a blue background and white text by default!).

And of course through all this SAS has survived, amazing for a privately owned company, but then again that’s probably the reason it has.

I wonder what the next 10 years will bring?

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Integrating SAS and Google – where to start?

May
06

When talking to users it was obvious that although we are providing a number of easy to use Web Report Studio reports, as we release more and more data and there applicable reports, easily finding the information they need becomes more and more of an issue.

We typically provide a small number of parameter driven WRS reports.  This reduces our development and maintenance efforts and also allows users to utilise a single report to answer multiple business questions.

In addition each report also has a number of Sections/Tabs (going to miss those when we upgrade to SAS 9.2) that provide different views of the data (i.e by location, by time, by product etc). We do this again to make it easy for users to quickly find the information they need.

But its not till you sit next to a new user that you see how they use (or don’t use) the information we provide.  In our case I see a lot of users struggle to workout which report and which tab they should use to answer their business question.

As a quick workaround we developed a sasInct! portlet that provides a drillable tree of business questions (need to add this to the website) and then used the sasInct WRS linkage tool to automatically open the relevant WRS report, on the relevant section/tab, with the relevant parameters predefined to answer the selected question.

But the next step we wanted to look at was using a Google search  appliance to index all our reports and metadata to take it one step closer.

A quick Google search on Google and SAS (that was weird) found a press release dated 2006 “SAS and Google Partner on BI Search Capabilities“.

Next I found a paper present to SAS Forum in 2007 but no copy of the paper was available so I emailed the author at SAS.

I got a very quick reply from Craig Rubendall @sas with a link to a presentation he co-presented at SAS Forum 2010. (Im always amazed at how accesable and helpful the SAS folk in Cary are, long may it continue)

The paper is at: Integrating the Power of SAS® with the Ease of Search across the Enterprise

He also provided links to download the SAS/Google Search Interface component for both  SAS Content 1.3 (SAS 9.1) and the SAS Content 1.4 (SAS 9.2)

So lots to read and then next step is to talk to our local Google reseller about options and pricing.  Ill post what I find out.

And of course if anybody has been through this already, feel free to get in touch, cause no doubt there will be some tricks for new players ;-)

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SAS Platform Administration Blog

May
05

Wendy gave me a tip off that Paul Holmes now has a blog over at Platformadmin.com, check it out.

It also looks like Paul has his SAS Metadata Security plugins up and for sale at Metacoda.com.

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