Tuesday 30 August 2011

NOTE: Upgrading to SAS 9.3

Paul Homes of Metacoda in Australia (suppliers of the Metacoda Security Plug-Ins for SAS) recently published a very well written blog article on SAS 9.3, the installation thereof. Amongst all of the other good information and advice from Paul, I was particularly struck by his recommendations about the install. I've quoted them below.
Whilst SAS installations/migrations are getting more straightforward, I’d still recommend getting SAS Professional Services or one of the SAS partners to help – being businesses that install, migrate and configure SAS software on a daily basis they are very efficient and have extensive support resources at their disposal. I can’t imagine how it could be cost effective for SAS customers to acquire those skills when it’s something they might only do once or twice every few years.
Paul's comments surprised me, but after I'd given them a little more thought I concluded that I was inclined to agree. SAS UK (and many other local SAS offices) has a specialised team of installers, and many partners (such as Amadeus in the UK) offer a specialised install service. So, I certainly can't disagree with Paul's assertion that SAS and their partners do installs on a daily basis and can thus do a better job than most clients.

I'd offer some further advice though. Be sure that your chosen installers:
  1. have a clear and detailed architectural plan to work from (either supplied by you, or created by your installers and handed-over to you), and
  2. provide you with a clear and detailed report on i) the steps they took during the install, ii) the key options they selected during the install, and iii) deviations from the original architectural plan (with reasons for doing so).
I've seen several clients where they've out-sourced an install and then found themselves with a system of unknown provenance that they are unable to replicate for new development, test and/or production environments.

The typical SAS 9 install (if there is such a thing) is a far more complex beast than was version 8. SAS 9 deployments incorporate a lot of different technologies from a number of suppliers. The benefit of this is a SAS system that can deliver its insights in a far broader and deeper fashion than ever before; the cost of this is the increased complexity. Be prepared to out-source the install, but also make sure you're able to maintain the environment yourself after your installer has packed-up and left your site.