Should You Move Your SAS Into the Cloud?

Paul Janssen
Janssen Consulting, Inc.


Some people should not move their SAS 9.4 into the cloud, and those who do, may run into difficulties. IT departments and consulting firms are learning cloud technology on the fly. Improper installations may cause SAS to run at one third of the speed it could run compared to on-premises. Furthermore, cloud technology can be expensive, and may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per year more for a very large install, compared to keeping your SAS on-premises. This paper was written for SAS programmers and IT departments alike. You want to move your SAS 9.4 installation into the cloud, and do it right… the first time! Choosing the most appropriate cloud compute instance type and model, and designing a proper cloud storage configuration can be challenging; done incorrectly, you will have a sub-standard or poorly performing SAS installation, resulting in a competitive disadvantage for your organization and frustrating your SAS users. This paper defines terms, explains the bread-and-butter components of cloud technology, talks about SAS and Amazon Web Services architecture, covers SAS resource requirements, and presents a methodology for putting your SAS into the cloud, when it makes sense to do so, while being mindful of performance caveats. SAS programmers will gain a better understanding of the IT technologies required to run SAS, and IT professionals will gain better insights regarding SAS performance requirements and how to handle the cloud situation. SAS has always lived and died on disk I/O throughput, and moving it into the cloud will not change that. If you do not get SAS I/O right, nothing else is going to work properly. This paper will emphasize ways to solve the I/O dilemma, so that a successful SAS cloud deployment is in the cards.