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Get Started With SAS Viya 3.5 on IBM Power Systems

Follow these five steps to successfully deploy SAS Viya

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SAS Viya is a complex set of AI and analytics solutions that are supported on IBM Power Systems* servers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux*. SAS Viya requires a properly planned infrastructure to meet the needs of the data scientists, business analysts and application developers who will use its capabilities in their daily work activities. 

Regardless of the user role, the underlying infrastructure matters to ensure performance expectations and SLA requirements are met or exceeded. Although the general planning process is similar for deploying SAS Viya on any platform, key IBM POWER9* differentiators should be considered in order to ensure that an optimized infrastructure deployment is achieved. 

Successfully planning, preparing and deploying SAS Viya requires five key phases (Figure 1, below). 

1. Document End Users’ Needs

The first step is to understand your end users’ requirements. It’s important to know which SAS Viya capabilities will be used, who will use them and what data will be used. These are the fundamentals to determine the optimal infrastructure environment to support the users. Another important aspect is whether the SAS Viya environment needs to integrate with an existing SAS 9.4 environment. As part of Step 1, clearly understanding the users’ performance expectations and SLA criteria is critical before continuing with the next steps. The client requirements for analytics workloads and usage will influence the decision for which POWER9 deployment option and hardware configuration is best to deploy. 

2. Request a Sizing

In Step 2, the sizing process is critical for assessing the requirements, identifying the viable deployment options and ensuring the hardware environment is properly sized for the client’s specific SAS workload. The sizing process involves experts within SAS and IBM. Key inputs are needed from the client to start the sizing process. Figure 2 (below) shows the types of input that should be gathered and what server deployment and configuration factors are influenced by that input. After the key inputs are known, engage the SAS Account Team to request a workload sizing from the SAS Enterprise Excellence Center (EEC) sizing team.

The output of the sizing process will be details describing possible POWER* deployment options and minimum POWER9 server specifications for the SAS Viya nodes that are required to support the client’s specific workload requirements. This information can then be used in Step 3.

3. Plan Your Deployment

The third step encompasses the planning of the complete software and hardware infrastructure environment. The SAS Viya deployment guide, published by SAS Institute, describes Viya deployment modes, system requirements and installation steps. It’s an excellent resource for preparing important software prerequisites (e.g., Ansible*) and for the actual SAS Viya software deployment. 

Another valuable resource is the IBM Power Systems for SAS Viya 3.5 Deployment Guide, which describes additional unique deployment options available only with Power Systems servers, minimum POWER9 hardware configurations for each deployment option and tuning best practices specific to POWER9 servers. 

Pay particular attention to the POWER9 deployment options and hardware configurations that align with the sizing recommendation to fully understand the benefits and further refine the best option. When looking at the entire infrastructure, consider the networking, storage and data center requirements, as well as the POWER9 servers. 

4. Acquire Appropriate IT Infrastructure

In Step 4, a final decision should be made on the number and type of POWER9 servers to order, along with other infrastructure assets. Several unique deployment options for POWER9 can leverage unused computing resources on an existing Power* enterprise-class system. 

In this case, the focus will be on activating and preparing the existing system for use with new Red Hat Enterprise Linux partitions for SAS Viya. Once an order is placed and the equipment arrives, the servers should beset up, configured, and networked based on the chosen deployment option. 

5. Install SAS Viya

The fifth and final step is to install the SAS Viya software. The pre-installation steps in SAS’s deployment guide should be followed. 

The POWER9 servers or partitions where SAS Viya will be installed should be installed with Red Hat Enterprise Linux for IBM Power LE (POWER9) 7.6. Ansible is used for installing SAS Viya and thus must be installed before Viya can be installed. The same guide provides all of the installation steps as well as post-installation steps and directions on verifying the new SAS Viya software environment is functioning properly

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