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Guidelines for the SAS Platform Installation and Deployment Process

11/05/2015 by Nick Welke Support

The SAS deployment process consists of multiple phases, especially for specific solutions of SAS such as the Financial Crime Suite or any of the enterprise solutions. This post provides high-level tips to streamline your the actual SAS 9 installation process.

You Must Have the Your SAS Software Order

You can get SAS Software Depot in multiple ways. The most effective is the electronic software download (ESD) approach. SAS sends an email to the SAS Installation Representative to kick off the process.

 

You should read this email in its entirety. Confirm that the SAS environment components are listed and you should especially confirm your technical support ID number matches.

At the bottom of the email, there are instructions for downloading the SAS Software Depot into your environment.

You want this directory in a centrally accessible location, such as a network share. All machines with SAS installed, including end-users computers, must able to access this directory.

SAS Software Depot Directory Structure

Quick Tip: Name the SAS software order directory with crucial information about the order to keep things organized. Use the six character code listed in the subject line of the software order email in the name of the directory so you can find it easier later.

Plan the SAS Installation Using Deployment Plan Files

SAS plan files make the installation process so much easier because they standardize how software is set up for different types of servers and client-tier machines. Standardized plan files are provided within the deployment process itself, or a custom plan file can be developed. You should use a customized plan file for complex solutions because it guarantees you install the proper software. This method is especially useful when multiple server tiers exist.

Only representatives of SAS can build custom plan files. Once you have obtained a plan file for your SAS software order, you can do a planned deployment instead of installing individual components. Keep your plan files centrally stored, when you have multiple solutions within a SAS ecosystem. By default, SAS looks for plan files within the individual SAS software depot itself.

Guidelines for SAS Deployment Plan Files

Here are a few tips to make your deployment easier to manage.

Don’t forget the SAS/ACCESS Engines

Access engines are easy to forget during the installation. SAS requires a licensed access engine to connect to a respective third party database. If you have access to the SAS planning application, the most natural place to find the access engines is within the Select Individual Products package on the Select Offering tab. If the deployment process does not have the SAS/ACCESS engine for your data tier architecture, connectivity is impossible. In that case, you must manually install the access engine as a separate step – who wants to do more work than necessary?

Quick Tip: Make sure the SAS Software Order explicitly lists the SAS/ACCESS engine of interest for your solution. Otherwise, the access engine fails to connect because it is technically not licensed.

Understand Your Server-Tier Definitions

Whether SAS is installed on one or many server machines, having a correct plan file makes it clear what software is installed and configured on each machine. How each logical SAS context server is architected depends on your environment and the IT requirements defined during the assessment phase before the SAS deployment.

  • Metadata – Logically exists no matter what (in almost all cases). Can be physically separated on a different physical machine to isolate the metadata server. Beginning in SAS 9.4 you can cluster the metadata server.
  • Compute – This is where most of the action happens in SAS. Thick client applications submit SAS code to the compute tier server to do the work. The metadata server regulates if a user can connect to the SAS environment and what that user can do. Thick-client applications connect to the metadata server to retrieve contextual server information as defined within your SAS solution and environment.
  • Middle Tier – Web applications run on the middle tier. SAS 9.4 also brings clustered middle-tier support.
  • Metadata Server Node – Used to install and configure additional nodes for the metadata server.
  • Middle Tier Node – Used to install and configure additional nodes for the middle tier.

Understand Your Client-Tier Definitions

You should define each user persona and identify their needed SAS software. Complete this step within the same plan file as the server-tier definitions or within a separate plan file. Additional machines must be defined within the SAS planning application to accomplish this. Be sure to set the machine purpose, so the planning application distributes software automatically for you.

SAS Planning Application Machine Purpose

These are typical client-tier machine definitions Zencos defines for customers:

  • Clients Full: Contains every tool available for client-tier machines. This is typically for a developer persona.
  • Clients Platform Administrator: Contains SAS Management Console.
  • Clients Analyst: Contains tools like SAS Enterprise Guide.
  • Clients Consumer: Contains necessary tools, such as SAS Add-in for Microsoft Office.

With these client-tier definitions, it becomes much easier to standardize and train others to install SAS on user PCs.

You can get more details here: SAS deployment plan files.

Quick Tips for Installing SAS on Linux

Here are some special considerations for installing SAS on a Linux distribution.

Ubuntu Needs Additional Packages

Some Linux distributions do not come with all required libraries for the SAS deployment process to work correctly. For Ubuntu or potentially other distributions, add these packages to your environment as listed below. Don’t forget to switch the shell to bash.

sudo apt-get updatesudo apt-get install dkms ia32-libs xauth x11-apps libstdc++5 libxp6 libnuma-dbg unzip libjpeg62sudo rm /bin/sh && sudo ln -s /bin/bash /bin/sh

Set Security Limits

Linux is particular and requires some tuning options for SAS to function correctly. Adjust open file limits and processing units using the commands below. You should A system administrator is required for this step.

sudo vi /etc/security/limits.conf

Add the following to the bottom of the limits.conf file if your system administrator agrees.

*soft    nproc100000*hard    nproc100000*soft    nofile350000*hard    nofile350000*-stack10240

Install SAS and Then Configure the Installation

The SAS deployment process can be broken down into two separate phases: install and configure. The install phase lays down SAS application binaries while the configure phase sets up server definitions, middle-tier web applications, and other solution-specifics based on the software installed.

In single-machine server installations, especially for standard solutions such as SAS Visual Analytics, you can perform both the install and config in one pass. However, in complex solutions, you should complete the SAS deployment in two passes: one for the install and another for the configuration. This method gives you a critical checkpoint to confirm basic connectivity to necessary components (if needed). You can also address any issues so you can prevent errors or warnings in the configuration phase.

Remember that even warnings during the configuration phase of the SAS deployment process can be harmful. It is always a good feeling to see nothing but green check marks at the end of the SAS deployment process. See the screenshot below – notice the checkboxes that distinguish between install and configure.

SAS Deployment Install and Configure

For more specifics on installing SAS 9, you can refer to the SAS 9.4 Intelligence Platform: Installation and Configuration Guide.

Testing and Validating Your New SAS Platform Installation

Every SAS installer should validate the environment before turning it over to business users. Here are some of the minimum test you should perform:

  • Test connectivity to external databases. Be sure to confirm the required permissions.
  • Validate all context servers within the SAS Management Console. Within SMC > Server Manager, right-click every context server and then click Validate.
  • Access every web application and confirm you can log in and complete some essential functions.
  • Test the core functionality within the specific SAS solutions. For example, in SAS Enterprise Case Management, create a simple test case, subject, and incident.

Be sure to read through the INSTRUCTIONS.HTML file provided at the end of the SAS deployment process. It n is located within the [SAS CONFIG]/Lev1/Documents.

The usual disclaimer applies, every environment and SAS solution is different. It would be impossible to cover every single click during the SAS installation. The primary goal with this post is to cover the most common areas an experienced SAS installer would need to know.