SAS Platform Upgrade and migration

Client: Financial Services

Technologies Utilized:
SAS Tools: SAS Management Console, SAS 9.2, SAS 9.4, SAS Enterprise Guide, SAS Information Map Studio, PC SAS, SAS OLAP Cube Studio, SAS Web Report Studio, SAS Stored Process,  SAS BI Dashboard, Platform LSF
Platform: Sun Solaris, Linux , Windows
Databases: Teradata, Oracle, Db2, Hadoop, Sybase

Project Narrative

A large financial company was having difficulties with its SAS infrastructure. The user-base and the LOBs that the platform supported had outgrown the platform itself, primarily because the existing platform was outdated and based on a single Solaris machine with no room for further expansion. To solve the problem, the company wanted a brand new SAS Grid Platform on SAS 9.4, which would provide high availability, capacity, scalability and efficiency. Along with the architecture and implementation of this technical solution, the company also needed a path to migrate its existing user-base over to the new platform. This path also had toprovide all of the preexisting functionalities from the old platform. Finally, the company required training for their user-base to ensurefull usability for their newly implemented functionality.

Client Challenges

The company had a distinct dearth of development talent employed in-house. The existing personnel lacked in overall SAS Architecture and administration experience. In sum, they were neither qualified nor prepared to build a true SAS Grid. The complete revamp of their system was put on an indefinite delay as a direct result.
Because of their lack of experience dealing with SAS, they came to Stratacent with the requirements of designing, architecting and implementing abrand new ecosystem based on Linux hardware and educating their employees on how to use it. This new environment would have multiple computer nodes as part of a Grid,rather thana single machine. The SAS processing was to be load balanced between the nodes to increase capacity and better manage the overall load on system,whilesimultaneously avoiding crashes.

Stratacent Solutions

Stratacent was able to intervene with highly proficient staffing solutions. The SAS system was designed with proper SAS architecture. This architecture was devised from the ground up, with the company’s interests kept in mind throughout. The latest SAS 9.4 products available were implemented in the new Grid architecture, bringing the system up to spec.
The Stratacent consultants built multi-level architecture with High availability and fault tolerance in mind. Different levels included:

  • Web (2 VMs with vertical clustering)
  • Metadata (3 VMs with metadata clustering)
  • Compute (4 physical nodes with Load balancing )

Beyond the architectural backend, our consultants also built essential processes to reduce maintenance issues. These new processes included powerful functions like the syncing of the metadata server with an Active directory to automatically create metadata profiles, the setup of backup and recovery solutions, configuring failovers, using Platform EGO for SAS services & platform services, migrating existing metadata into the new environment, and devising data migration/user migration paths. Our consultants also implemented monitoring and reporting solutions for the SAS platform and set up alerts based on storage, as well as CPU usages. All of which was put in placein order to facilitate more efficient system management for the employees.
A brand new metadata security solution was also implemented in the new environment, addressing long-held concernsin the minds of existing users. Security groups, ACTS,and folders were created with their Operating System groups for a robust, long-lasting solution to data/metadata security.
Our consultants acted as educators for the company’s employees. Stratacent helped them learn to properly utilize their new system and walked them through the path to migration on the new system, devising better solutions every step of the way toward the final goal.

Results

The final result was an enormous decrease of maintenance, an overall efficiency increase in SAS usage, and consequently a significant lowering of annual associatedcosts. The final SAS Platform was built to be robust. It functioned with minimal manual intervention and was highly fault tolerant.
The SAS Platform was developed to be scalable, with the ability to add more nodes if required in the future. This freed the platform team to bring more Line of Businesses onboard and create a truly expansive enterprise platform.
The new platform was also built to be highly available; nodes could be taken out of the grid for upgrades and troubleshooting, without affecting availability. The SAS Platform services were built into EGO in order for them to restart automatically upon failure or server reboots, essentially requiring no response at all if the physical servers or VMs were ever rebooted. This greatly reduced the dependency on any one individual to start SAS services upon failure.
Not only that, but with the new infrastructure in place and a newly educated workforce behind it, they were free to create and implement their own organizational solutions in the future. They were no longer dependent on outside contractors for their SAS Platform BI solutions or analysis.

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