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Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Application development

New SAS analytics software helps organizations analyze, visualize big data

A new in-memory business intelligence (BI) solution from SAS uses a highly visual interface to bring powerful analytics to a broader class of users than ever before. 
 
SAS Visual Analytics, the newest product in the SAS High-Performance Analytics family, provides a fast, simple and cost-effective path to business insight and better decisions.
 
With SAS Visual Analytics, organizations can apply the power of SAS Analytics to massive amounts of data; visually explore data at the speed of sight; and share fresh insights with everyone, everywhere, via the Web or iPad.
 
SAS Visual Analytics combines analytics, unique in-memory architecture, intuitive data exploration, Hadoop support and information-delivery options, including the iPad. The company claims it is the only in-memory engine designed specifically for business visualization of big data on inexpensive, nonproprietary hardware.
 
Beyond Business Intelligence
"SAS Visual Analytics helps business users to visually explore data on their own," said SAS CEO Jim Goodnight. "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 – the SAS LASR Analytic Server – 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," said Goodnight. "Add its publish-to-mobile capability and graphic visualization, and there’s nothing that compares to SAS Visual Analytics."
 
Big Data Support
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. SAS LASR Analytic Server has been tested on billions of rows of data and is extremely scalable, bypassing the known column limitations of many relational database management systems (RDBMS).
 
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 can solve many business problems. For example, a marketing campaign manager at a retailer with hundreds of stores and a thriving online sales channel needs faster, more sophisticated next-best-offer recommendations for customers. SAS Visual Analytics allows analysts to look at all data from online sales, stores, external demographic information and social media. Entire populations can be analyzed to determine the best offer or interaction rather than using a sample, moving quickly and directly to robust, precise recommendations. This information can then be distributed easily.
 
Banks and capital markets firms can also use the power of SAS Visual Analytics to help retail branch staff, commercial bankers and financial advisors cut through the clutter of big data to improve customer interactions and financial advice in a timely way.
 
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, enough disk space to store the entire Library of Congress six times.