Calling all beginners! Your guide to SAS analytics architecture

SAS analytics architecture

SAS analytics is a command-driven statistical software used to collect and analyse data.  At this point, we have an idea of what SAS can do. It draws up visual depictions of large data groups  for analysis. Furthermore, the analytics platform can access raw files from an external database, manage and analyse data to generate useful insights. However, we have yet to stop and consider how the various SAS platforms work the way they do.

Given the critical role of SAS analytics platforms, it is important that the architecture can meet the demands of the task at hand. With that in mind, we are going to take a deep dive into how SAS analytics works. 

Every single platform has its own architectural design because of differences in function and performance. However, there are some fundamentals that remain the same across the entire suite of analytics platforms.

Key features of SAS analytics

Before diving into the ins and outs of SAS architecture, it’s worth taking a look at some of the key features of any SAS platform. Besides accessing raw data, SAS platforms manage data, using tools for entry, editing, retrieval, conversion, and formatting. 

Beyond editing data, SAS analytics analyses data using different techniques, like forecasting, multivariate, descriptive, and statistical analysis. Some SAS platforms even offer advanced analytics to help improve business practices. Finally, there is the ability to create reports using detailed graphs. 

Given several roles in data collection and analysis, the architecture must be designed in a way to meet demand.

The three pillars of SAS analytics architecture

SAS analytics architecture can access a large volume of data efficiently, while at the same time, providing real-time information to users. To meet this demand, the platform follows a three-tier architecture. It consists of a client tier, middle tier, and back tier. 

The platform works in this way because the system can distribute functions and work equally, based on the resources that are suitable for the job. 

What is the client tier?

The client tier is the first stage where the application is installed on the machine. The tier consists of a web browser and other components necessary to view the SAS platform and its contents, along with making the SAS application firewall friendly. This is because of the way the portal has been set up. Users can interact with SAS applications through a web browser. In some cases, they can even interact with the content using Microsoft Excel and Adobe Acrobat Reader.

What is the middle tier?

The middle tier offers a central access point because it contains all enterprise data. Since the tier contains all valid enterprise information, processing components regulate operations in this tier. 

This means there are centralised points of access, which generate several benefits for SAS consultants. Some of these benefits include the ability to administer portals, manage code changes, and even enforce security rules. This tier contains several hosts that are pivotal for its function, like SAS Information Delivery Portal Web Application, web servers, and the Selvet Engine

Furthermore, since the middle tier is divided into different components, it allows for the separation of display logic from business logic.

What is the back tier?

Finally, the back tier is where the system runs data and processing servers. The back tier is an enterprise directory server designed to maintain metadata about content located throughout the organisation’s infrastructure. 

Due to its functions, the back tier contains two servers—the IOM server and the Enterprise Directory Server. The Directory Server stores metadata about the data or content (metadata is the information that describes the content). The metadata contains information on the content and where it is stored. Furthermore, the back tier can run on machines like web servers, meaning it does not translate into additional hardware platforms. 

Using SAS platforms 

SAS platforms are powerful pieces of architecture designed to optimise the collection and analysis of data. While each platform is different, designed to meet the demands of each platform, all SAS products follow the same basic architecture divided into three different tiers. 

SAS analytics platforms are constantly evolving, as it adapts to new technologies. It is safe to say, however, that we are not going to see a significant deviation in its fundamental architecture in the near future. 

Visit Selerity to know more about SAS analytics platforms and how they operate.

Nishan Stephen

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