SAS looks to simplify data analysis tools with upgrade

SAS Institute Inc. last week detailed plans for an upgrade of its flagship data analysis tools that includes a series of new features aimed at improving the software's ease of use and manageability.

At its European users conference in Paris, SAS said the upcoming SAS Version 9 will add Java-based user interfaces that are being designed to simplify the software. SAS also plans to add new analysis functionality and multithreading technology designed to reduce the amount of server resources required by the applications.

Pieces of SAS Version 9 will be released this summer, and the new user interfaces are due to start rolling out by September, said Don Hatcher, vice president of technology strategy at SAS. The interfaces will offer role-based views for end users in different parts of a company, Hatcher said.

Also during the summer, SAS plans to ship a Java-based management console that will allow IT workers to distribute upgrades of the software from a central point instead of having to separately install them on individual PCs.

Eddie Bauer Inc. is a longtime user of SAS tools. Harry Egler, vice president of customer relationship management at the Redmond, Wash.-based retailer, said he's especially interested in Version 9's multithreading technology. It should let the company run queries across more than one processor on a server to maintain performance as analysis workloads increase, Egler said.