SAS Visual Analytics

Analyze, visualize big data, using Hadoop.
This is a Press Release edited by on 2012.03.30

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

A new in-memory business intelligence (BI) solution from SAS Institute Inc. uses a visual interface to bring powerful analytics to a broader class of users.

SAS Visual Analytics, a new 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 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.

It combines an analytics in-memory architecture, intuitive data exploration, Hadoop support and information-delivery options, including the iPad. It is an in-memory engine designed 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," said Dan Vesset, program VP 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 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 - our innovative 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."

Enterprises that have seen early demonstrations of SAS Visual Analytics clearly see the business value of visual data exploration with fast results.

"I could immediately recognize in SAS Visual Analytics the potential benefit of incorporating the massive amount of information in our call detail records into our models, but also the value of scoring and targeting our customer base in real time with the most relevant offers," said Antoine Georges, VP of Analytics at Virgin Mobile USA, a Sprint prepaid company. "SAS Visual Analytics will let us quickly dig into our big data to uncover opportunities, and in time, to fully exploit them."

Big data without limits
A 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 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 attractive when accuracy is critical in problem solving across big data environments, including both structured and unstructured data. SAS Visual Analytics can solve 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.

Banks and capital markets firms can also use 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 - a data discovery and visualization tool to explore and analyze data.
  • Designer - used to create standard 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.

SAS LASR Analytic Server reference configurations begin with an eight-blade server with 96 processor cores, 768GB memory and 4.8TB of disk storage. The upper end of the reference configurations is 96 blades with 1,152 cores, 9.2TB memory and 57.6TB of disk storage, enough disk space to store the entire Library of Congress six times.