New SAS BI Solution Offers Visual Analytics Interface

A new in-memory business intelligence solution from SAS offers a highly visual interface to bring analytics to a broader class of users. SAS Visual Analytics is the newest product in the SAS high-performance analytics group.

With SAS Visual Analytics, organizations can:

  • Apply SAS Analytics to massive amounts of data.
  • Visually explore data at the speed of sight.
  • Share fresh insights with everyone, everywhere, via the Web or iPad.

SAS Visual Analytics combines in-memory architecture, intuitive data exploration, Hadoop support and information-delivery options, including the iPad. It is designed specifically for business visualization of big data on inexpensive, nonproprietary hardware.

“The speed of in-memory architecture offers tremendous benefit. Organizations can explore huge data volumes and get answers to critical questions in near-real time,” says Dan Vesset, program vice president of IDC's business analytics research.  “SAS Visual Analytics offers a double bonus: the speed of in-memory analytics plus self-service eliminates the traditional wait for IT-generated reports. Businesses today must base decisions on insight gleaned from data, and that process needs to be close to instantaneous.”

Beyond BI

“SAS Visual Analytics helps business users to visually explore data on their own,” says SAS CEOJimGoodnight. “But it goes well beyond traditional query and reporting. Running on low-cost, industry-standard blade servers, its high-performance in-memory architecture delivers answers in seconds or minutes instead of hours or days.”

“The core of SAS Visual Analytics is the SAS LASR Analytic Server, which speeds data exploration and visualization.

“This in-memory analytic engine will extend across our software product portfolio, seamlessly applying 35 years of SAS analytics innovation to big data assets,” says Goodnight.

A core component of SAS Visual Analytics, the SAS LASR Analytic Server, uses Hadoop (embedded Hadoop Distributed File System) as local storage at the server for fault tolerance.

The more data used in an analysis, the more accurate the results. This is especially attractive when accuracy is critical in problem solving across big data environments, including both structured and unstructured data.

SAS Visual Analytics includes:

  • SAS LASR Analytic Server—clients communicate with SAS LASR Analytic Server for calculations on the data resident in-memory, producing remarkably fast results.
  • The Hub—a central location to launch the various elements of SAS Visual Analytics.
  • Mobile—a tool for viewing reports, connecting to servers and downloading information on the go.
  • Explorer—an ad hoc data discovery and visualization tool to explore and analyze data.
  • Designer—used to createstandard and custom reports and dashboards.
  • Environment Administration—used by administrators to manage users, security and data.

Server components run on Red Hat or SUSE Linux, and the mobile client is available for the iPad from the iTunes App Store. Other mobile devices will be supported in the future.

While the high end is not limited, SAS LASR Analytic Server reference configurations begin with an eight-blade server with 96 processor cores, 768 gigabytes memory and 4.8 terabytes (TB) of disk storage. The upper end of the reference configurations is 96 blades with 1,152 cores, 9.2 TB memory and 57.6 TB of disk storage.

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