- Improved performance through increased support for in-memory and multi-threaded processing.
- Greater interoperability through the new DS2 object based language with micro kernel in-database processing. FedDSL to federate data access to multiple databases.
- Enhanced data management capabilities.
- Introduction of SAS Web Server so third party products are not needed (eg WebSphere).
- Greater robustness through ‘industrialization’ (clustering of metadata server for example).
- Greater security (256 bit encryption for data at rest).
- Big Data enhancements, and particularly the scoring accelerator for Hadoop.
- More cloud offerings – SAS in the cloud, SAS App Central and SAS App Works.
SAS is a very big product and the changes in 9.4 run to several pages of detail. Overall however the 9.4 release has targeted higher levels of performance (some of which are orders of magnitude improvement), more robust infrastructure with greater security and redundancy, support for in-database processing, improved big data processing and additions to the cloud based offerings. In many large organizations SAS is a computing environment in its own right with its own requirements for security, robustness and performance. 9.4 consolidates the position of SAS as a computing ecosystem.
While SAS is best known for its analytics tools, the solutions business accounts for 50% of new sales (last year in the UK at least), and the move to enhance the cloud based offerings anticipates the inevitable realization that the considerable infrastructure required to deploy a large SAS installation might be better hosted by someone else.