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It's the Server Stupid

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Introduction

This document is an initial cut at some introductory points for the panel discussion as well as some initial questions we can prime the pump with.

Eventually each page will likely become one or more slides in a PowerPoint doc. Doing this in Word so we can collaborate and use track changes.

Panelists

Brief bio of each panelist. Each person can put in their own.

  • Angela Hall has been programming in SAS since 1995 and after only 10 years was given the assignment to start working with the SAS v9 BI equipment. As a Senior Consultant at Zencos Consulting, a SAS Alliance Gold Member, she is involved in creating and implementing BI Solutions across an array of industries and sectors. She is the author of SAS BI-ogsource (http://sas-bi.blogspot.com) an acclaimed Blog for tips & tricks on SAS BI Software and was an early adopter/tester for the Add-in to MS Office with Powerpoint.
  • Don Henderson is the Owner and Principal of Henderson Consulting Services, a SAS Affiliate Partner. Don has used SAS software for over 31 years, designing and developing business applications with a focus on data warehouse, business intelligence and analytic applications. He has used SAS/IntrNet software for over 10 years (since its initial release) and was one of the primary architects in the initial development and release of SAS/IntrNet software and was one of the original developers for the SAS/IntrNet Application Dispatcher. Don has also been actively using the SAS 9 BI architecture for a variety of SAS clients.
  • Joe Kelley has been writing SAS programs for longer than he cares to remember, but will acknowledge that his first manual was for SAS 76. He is Senior Consultant at the University of Georgia's Enterprise IT Services, where he works with SAS and other statistical software, as well as Oracle. He has worked in numerous operating systems and environments.
  • John Leveille is the Vice-President of d-Wise Technologies, Inc., a SAS Alliance member company. Formerly a member of SAS R&D, John contributed to the development of SAS/IntrNet, SAS Stored Processes, and other SAS web technologies. John founded d-Wise along with Chris Olinger in 2002 and specializes in SAS Data Integration, Warehousing, Business Intelligence and SAS Solution implementations such as SAS Drug Development.
  • Phil Miller is a long time SAS User (going back to pre SAS 72 days) who is a Professor of Biostatistics at Washington University [1]. The Division supports a number of NIH supported data coordinating centers. SAS is heavily used in data management, including using SAS/IntrNet to support distributed data entry [2]. He was the first recipient of the SAS User Feedback Award given each year at SUGI and attended all of the SUGI annual conferences.

Disclaimer

This is only somewhat tongue in cheek.

The views/opinions expressed by the panelists do not necessarily reflect the views of their organization.

In fact, they may not even reflect their own personal view/opinions or experiences.

The panelists will be taking positions that may be contrary to their beliefs in order to make for a more engaging, interesting and entertaining discussion.

Only the panelists know what they truly believe (and sometimes that is even at question).

This slide is also known as the SAS Consultant Protection Act.

The Servers

A partial list of servers (thanks to Angela for the initial list which Don expanded upon).

Discussion will concentrate on the SAS 9 BI server architecture, but any/all questions are encourages and welcome.

  • We may just not answer them J

Need to make review the list and make sure we have not left out any important servers (either current or past).

SAS Servers that provide Compute and/or Data Services

SAS 9 BI Servers - New in SAS 9

  • Metadata Server
  • Object Spawner
  • OLAP Server
  • Stored Process Server
  • Workspace Server

SAS Servers We Know and Love

  • Connect Server
  • Integration Technologies Server
  • Application Dispatcher
  • SPDS
  • Share
  • ODBC/JDBC

Aplication Specific Servers

  • Forecast Server
  • Enterprise Miner Server
  • and so on, and so on.

Mid-Tier Servers

  • Java Web Server (no IIS)
  • Servlet Containers
  • DAV Server
  • Xythos Server

Other

  • External Databases (e.g., SQL, Oracle, DB2, Postgress, etc.)

Not sure this one fits.

Client Components

Just a small list of potential clients that can access one or more SAS servers.

  • Web Browser
  • Enterprise Guide
  • Web Report Studio
  • Data Integration Studio
  • Microsoft Office (e.g., Excel, Word, PowerPoint)
  • SAS
  • Custom Applications, e.g.,
    • Java
    • .NET
    • Web Services
  • SAS Proprietary Clients, e.g.,
    • Enterprise Miner
    • Forecast Studio
  • Others??????

Sample Questions/Topics we can talk thru

We should agree on a set of questions that we can use to prime the pump.

One issue for us to address is whether we want to assume that once we involve the audience that they will have enough questions that we can actively discuss/debate.

Don's assumption is that yes we can assume that, but that we might want to have few questions in our back pocket that we can discuss. Since Joe/Phil are, I believe, less literate with the SAS 9 server architecture, perhaps they can start a list going of such questions.

In the menatime, the following subsections are some thoughts on questions we might want to use to kick off the session.

How do the SAS 9 BI servers interact?

Not sure this can be addressed without a specific question, but maybe we can show a diagram and talk thru it to set up the next question.

Use a skit that pulls in audience members to represent a STP, a WRS report, etc. Call them Disney themed reports, “How many Mickey images are hidden in the Magic Kingdom?” “What’s the busiest time of year at Walt Disney World Theme Parks?”

What Happens when I submit a request from a client for a Stored Process?

Need to separate this into two parts:

  • Generic flow of things that happen regardless of client
  • Client specific details (e.g. WRS, FS have specific places in the BIP tree)

We should think about having each of us play one or more roles and have some prop that we throw to/at each other when there is a hand-off

Points to make sure to include:

  • Must go thru Metadata Server:
    • Therefore no access to individuals without an ID in the Metadata Server
  • Caching of list of STPs

How is the Stored Process Server different/better than the SAS/IntrNet Application Server?

I admit that I have a biased opinion here (but it is not as one-sided as most folks think). Regardless I think this is a question that many users (especially IntrNet users will have).

  • STP Server has more infrastructure services (e.g., built in security via MS)
  • AppDisp can be much faster (less overhead)
  • STP Server can support multiple clients
  • AppDisp supports fewer clients:
    • Browser
    • Any client that can invoke a URL (do we want to mention Excel Web Queries here????)
  • STP limited to only .sas programs vs .sas, .source, scl and compiled macro

What the heck is a workspace server?

Don has to admit that he is very fuzzy about this one and believes that it is what the following client products use when they need to access SAS functionality remotely:

  • Enterprise Guide
  • DI Studio
  • Applications developed with AppDev Studio

John The workspace server is a technology that was first release in SAS 8.2. It is the SAS server component of Integration Technologies. It exists in SAS 9 for a lot of reasons. One reason is because the Stored Process Server was not a 100% compatible replacement for the workspace server. Also, several client/server products and solutions were relying on the workspace server. If you are a big fan of SAS/IntrNet and/or Stored Processes then you would probably regard workspace server as a more rudimentary compute server ... possibly a stepping stone to the Stored Process server. If you are not a fan of these technologies then you would probably regard the workspace server as "all the programmer ever needed in a compute server." Regardless they are both here now, and I don't know of any plans to deprecate the workspace server.

What about web services?

This question is a set-up for Alan. He can either ask it from the audience, or we can raise it and he can step to the mike to talk about them.

Some things we could discuss:

  • Coming in 9.2? We probably need to do a little due diligence on this. Perhaps Dan Jahn of R&D can give us some insights.
  • Can roll your own now - could perhaps make reference to the web service than Alan and Don wrote that wraps the SAS/IntrNet Application Dispatcher or the SAS 9 Stored Process Server.

Security? Answer me these questions three?

How does the Metadata Server use various security authorization/protocols to access all the SAS Power to Know?

This could be represented in the skit as a cardboard ‘wall’ – or better yet the Monty Python troll ‘None shall pass – Answer me these questions three … LDAP, Local, Active Directory are ye?’.