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New SAS Visual Analytics Helps Users Analyze, Visualize Big Data

In-memory solution offers high performance, deep insights.

Note: TDWI’s editors carefully choose vendor-issued press releases about new or upgraded products and services. We have edited and/or condensed this release to highlight key features but make no claims as to the accuracy of the vendor's statements.

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 quickly
  • Share fresh insights with everyone, everywhere, via the Web or an iPad

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

“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 is the SAS LASR Analytic Server, which accelerates data exploration and visualization. The in-memory analytic engine extends across SAS’ software product portfolio. It also features a publish-to-mobile capability and graphic visualization.

Big Data without Limits

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.

SAS Visual Analytics includes:

  • SAS LASR Analytic Server: Clients communicate with SAS LASR Analytic Server for calculations on the data resident in-memory, producing 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: A tool for creating standard and custom reports and dashboards
  • Environment Administration: Helps administrators 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.

Although the high end is not limited, SAS LASR Analytic Server reference configurations begin with an eight-blade server with 96 processor cores, 768 gigabytes of 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 of memory, and 57.6 TB of disk storage, enough disk space to store the entire Library of Congress six times.

For more information on SAS Visual Analytics, visit

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