Back when I was attending the SAS Inside Intelligence analyst day they briefed us under embargo about their new Viya platform. This was announced today from SAS Global Forum. Ultimately all the SAS products will be moving to the SAS Viya platform and the platform is designed to ensure that all SAS products have some common characteristics:
- All HTML5, responsive user interfaces supporting both point-and-click/drag and drop interactions and an interactive programming interface across the products on the platform. This is intended to allow some to program and some to work more visually while sharing key underlying components. SAS has also invested in making the interfaces more usable in terms of providing improved visual feedback and interactive suggestions as users work with data for example.
- Support for Python, Lua and Java not just SAS’ own programming language. In addition REST APIs will be available for the services delivered by the products on the platform so that these can be integrated more easily and accessed from a wide variety of environments. This is based on a micro-services architecture designed to make it easy to take small pieces of functionality and leverage them.
- Multi-platform and cloud-centric to try and remove some of the impedance created as companies mix and match different computing platforms. This is true especially of the deployment capabilities with a much greater focus on SDKs, APIs and deployment more generally. Viya products will provide support for deployment in-Hadoop, in-database, in-stream and in-memory.
- SAS is committed to delivering a wide range of new analytic and machine learning (and cognitive) algorithms on this platform as well as making it easier to integrate their algorithms with others’. Many of the new algorithms should be available as services in the cloud, allowing them to be easily integrated not just leveraged inside SAS tools.
More to come on this but I think this is a good direction for SAS. The years of development behind SAS products give them some heft but can also make them “lumpy” and result in layers of technology added on top of each other. Viya will let them re-set a robust and powerful set of capabilities on a modern and more open platform.