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SAS is one of the old guards in the data analytics space. Its first tools were developed at North Carolina State University in the late 1960s and commercially launched in 1976. Throughout the last fifty years, it has maintained a strong lead in analytics tools for the enterprise, with an extensive lineup of more than two-hundred analytics and data processing components. 

It has launched its first cloud analytics software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering of Viya on Azure. This marks a significant milestone for the company to help enterprises transition their analytics processes to the cloud. 

“This is SAS’ first wave of making its powerful, trusted analytics platform available in a pay-as-you-go deployment model through the Microsoft Azure Marketplace,” said Alice McClure, director of artificial intelligence and analytics at SAS . “The strategy behind this offering is to provide an easy way for new customers to purchase and try SAS.” 

Data analytics for everyone

SAS Viya includes machine learning (ML), visual analytics, data mining and model management components. The platform offers extensive capabilities across data preparation, statistics, augmented analytics, model deployment and management, artificial intelligence (AI) and ML, optimization, econometrics and more. 

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Built-in tools help users to interpret, understand and share analytics results. It allows users to solve business problems by combining multiple approaches with drag-and-drop or programming tools in various languages. Users across the organization can collaborate with others on a single unified platform.

Easing the installation process 

The new Azure offering includes the same analytics capabilities available in other cloud or on-premises deployment types. SAS also offers hosted deployment of SAS Viya via the SAS Cloud. 

A big goal was to ease the deployment process compared to other deployment models.

“The user does not need to have extensive IT knowledge or expertise in cloud infrastructure to execute the deployment process,“ McClure explained. 

McClure said they intend to make similar offerings on other public cloud marketplaces in the future, but have no official launch date for these other offerings. 

Beginning to end in the cloud

Terri Sage, CTO at 1010data, a provider of analytical intelligence to the financial, retail and consumer markets, told VentureBeat, “SAS’s new Azure Viya offering is significant, as it is truly one of the first beginning-to-end cloud and data center analytics services.” 

It helps enterprises flesh out the entire dataops pipeline in a single platform with support for automated data management, model management, data preparation, blending, analytics, machine learning and drag-and-drop services. 

She expects the new offering to allow organizations to develop essential data analytic applications for sharing and solving business problems without the need for a large team of IT resources to build, deploy, operationalize and maintain these applications.   

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