Bi Vendors Sas Vs Sap Computer Science Essay

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An analysis and comparison between SAS with SAP architecture is done. Analysis was done based on architecture layers, users of the products, benefits tools used and usage of major architecture layers. Comparison was done based on the purpose, architecture, layers, support industry, benefits, databases and applications it supports. We have found that both systems are built on an independent characteristics manner which excels in what they were build for. Tailored to user specific requirements are needed to get the best potential out of both systems. Both systems are also building for industry specific usage which may not fit effectively in other industries. If implemented correctly both systems will be a success.

Keywords: SAP, SAS, architecture, layer, benefit, users, comparison, business intelligence.

INTRODUCTION

Business intelligence (BI) is a broad category of application programs and technologies for gathering, storing, analyzing, and providing access to data to help enterprise users make better business decisions. The BI market is driven by pervasiveness, consolidation and analytics. Although the BI market could be considered relatively mature, there is considerable scope for further growth. Between 2007 and 2012 the BI market is set to expand by a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 12% to 13%. This is significantly higher than the growth rate in most of the other enterprise application markets over the same period. The conclusion is reinforced further by the Technology Trends 2006 survey that indicates lower BI adoption rates and a larger volume of medium-term investment in the market compared to most of the other enterprise applications. [23] There are many Business Intelligence vendors such as: Actuate, Business Objects, Cognos, Hyperion, Information Builders, Microsoft, MicroStrategy, Oracle, SAP, and SAS. We will be looking at SAS and SAP in this paper.

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SAS is an integrated system of software products provided by SAS Institute Inc. that enables programmers to perform data entry, retrieval, management, and mining, report writing and graphics, statistical analysis, business planning, forecasting, and decision support, operations research and project management, quality improvement, applications development, data warehousing (extract, transform, load), platform independent and remote computing. In addition, SAS has many business solutions that enable large-scale software solutions for areas such as IT management, human resource management, financial management, business intelligence, customer relationship management and more.

SAS is 10th largest software company in world which is used by more organizations than any software product except for standard PC packages. It works in multiple different computing environments (Windows, MAC, IBM mainframe). It is a programming environment & language for data manipulation & analysis. SAS is used for data preparation when Excel runs out of steam when input data is not row by column. It is also being used when needs complex rearrangement and also when there are too many observations and/or variables. SAS is also being used for batch and repetitive data processing as well as "one-off" analyses and also for sophisticated statistical and other analyses. [22]

SAP is one of the top Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software in the world. It is the brainchild of five IBM engineers who broke off from IBM and founded SAP AG in 1992. It drives efficiency and value to the bottom line of large, mid-size and now smaller organizations by redefining how business should be done. SAP solutions deliver real-time visibility across the entire enterprise and are not limited to top management, control engineers or the IT team. It can be used by every individual in the organization. [24] It is capable of integrating multiple business applications, with each application representing a specific business area.  These applications update and process transactions in real time mode.  It has the ability to be configured to meets the needs of the business. SAP is categorized into 3 core functional areas which are logistics, financial and human resources. [25]

SAP the acronym stands for Systems, Applications and Products in Data Processing but SAP the ERP system stands for increased efficiency, streamlining the supply-chain network and overhauling the entire business process of the organization. Companies that adopt SAP can look forward to a total makeover before they are done. The transparency that follows enables faster information processing and making decisions with ease and no fear of risk. SAP, having evolved for over 3 decades is agile enough to adapt to most industries. SAP is not offered in modules any more but available as various solutions tailored to each industry. [24]

SAS ARCHICTECTURE

Figure 1: SAS Architecture

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Figure 1 above shows the layers of the SAS architecture. It is divided into six layers. From the lowest to the highest, the layers are the physical layer, the phy layer, the link layer, the port layer, the transport layer, and the application layer. Only the application layer is not contained in the SAS port. [6]

SAS physical layer defines the lowest-level details of interconnect in two parts: the electrical and physical characteristics and the passive interconnect. It attaches two phy layers together. It interconnects passively which has internal cables and external cables connectors. It electrical characteristics include SATA, SAS, READY LED signal, and preemphasis and equalization. [5][7]

SAS phy layer is responsible for insertion of primitives for Clock skew management, does a 8b/10b data encoding, where it converts 8-bit bytes into 10-bit data characters for transmission on the wire, generate Phy reset sequence, and generate the OOB (Out of Band) signalling, and primitives for speed negotiation. [3]

SAS link layer does insertion and deletion of primitives for clock-speed disparity matching, does primitive encoding, scrambling where it reduces EMI (electronic magnetic interference). It also establishes and tears down native connections between SAS targets and initiators. Other than native connections, the layer also establishes and tears down tunnelled connections between SAS initiators and SATA targets connected to SAS expanders. It established a connection between a SAS initiator phy and a SAS target phy. It consists of three types of connections which include SSP (Serial SCSI protocol), SMP (Serial management protocol), and STP (Serial ATA Tunneling protocol). [1]

In a SSP link layer, the Phys exchanges SSP frames and each frame will results in an ACK or NAK primitive. The layer has credit-based flow control. To send a frame, permission must be granted with RRDY primitives. It functions in a full duplex way. The SSP frames are able to be sent in both directions simultaneously as each of the directions has their own independent credit.

In a STP link layer, once a STP connection is opened, the STP initiator and STP target will communicate with each other. It allows extra latency to be introduced as dwords flow through the expanders. It is half duplex as the frame will usually goes one way while the R_IP primitives will go the other way.

In a SMP link layer, only an initiator can open an SMP connection. Target is not allowed to open an initiator. In an SMP connection, there are two SMP frames that are being transferred. The first is where the initiator transmits one SMP_REQUEST frame to target, while the other is the target transmits one SMP_RESPONSE frame to initiator. SMP are half duplex as the frames are not able to send frames in both directions at the same time. [2]

SAS port layer combines multiple Phys with the same addresses into wider ports.

Transport Layer supports three protocols which Serial SCSI Protocol (SSP), Serial ATA Tunneled Protocol (STP), and Serial Management Protocol (SMP). The SSP transport layer supports SAS devices, STP transport layer supports SATA devices attached to SAS expanders, and SMP transport layer provides for the configuration of SAS expanders.

In ATA application layer, the ATA hosts will send ATA commands to the ATA devices. There are two different ATA device types: ATA and ATAPI (ATA Packet Interface). The ATA include disk drives, and flash cards. ATAPI accept SCSI commands via the ATA PACKET command. CDs, DVDs, and tape drives are example of ATAPI devices. [4]

SMP transport layer consists of SMP Request and SMP Response frame. Management application layer is better known as SMP Application layer. [4]

Figure 2: Architecture of the SAS Intelligence Platform

The SAS Intelligence Platform is intended for accessing large amounts of data efficiently while at the same time providing a huge number of users' timely intelligence. The platform uses an n-tier architecture that allows users to distribute functionality across computer resources so that the work performed is suited best.

The architecture can be easily scaled to meet the demands of workload. The tiers can be installed across a large amount of machines with different operating systems in a large company. The tiers can also be installed on a single machine to meet the requirements of the small enterprises, prototyping or demonstrations.

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The architecture consists of four tiers:

Data Sources

SAS Servers

Middle Tier

Clients

Data sources works as storage where the enterprise data can be stored in it. If your data is stored in third-part database management systems, SAS tables or ERP system tables, all of the existing data assets could be used. The SAS Intelligence Platform comprises the following options for data storage:

SAS data sets, which are similar to relational database tables.

SAS SPD Engine tables, which can be read or written by multiple threads.

SAS SPD Server, which is available as a separate product.

SAS OLAP cubes.

Other than that, SAS also offer products that allow accessibility of data in the existing third-part DBMSs and ERP systems. The SAS/ACCESS interfaces offer direct access to DBMSs such as:

Oracle

DB2

Teradata

ODBC

Microsoft SQL Server

Sybase

The SAS Data Surveyor products offer direct access to ERP systems are:

SAS Data Surveyor for SAP enables consolidation and management of enterprise data from different SAP R/3 data sources.

SAS Data Surveyor for Composite-Accessed Data Sources allows the usage of SAS with Composite Software to access and manipulate Oracle applications, PeopleSoft, Salesforce.com, and Siebel enterprise metadata.

SAS Servers do SAS processing on enterprise data. A few types of SAS servers are free to handle different types of workload and processing intensities. Multiple client requests for information can be met without postponement as the software allocates processing loads among server resources. The SAS server use the SAS Integrated Object Model (IOM), which is a set of distributed object interfaces that allow the SAS software features obtainable by client applications when SAS is carried out on the server. Each servers uses different set of IOM interfaces and each serve as a different reason. The main servers in the SAS Intelligence Platform comprise the SAS Metadata Server, the SAS OLAP Server, the SAS Workspace Server, the SAS Pooled Workspace Server, the SAS Stored Process Server, and the SAS Table Server.

Via a web browser, the middle tier allows users to access intelligence data and functionality. It provides web-based interfaces for creating reports and distributes information, while at the same time distribute analysis and processing requests to the SAS server. The tier offers an environment for business intelligence Web applications such as SAS Web Report Studio and the SAS Information Delivery Portal to be executable. These products run on a Web application server and connect with users by sending data to and receiving data from the user's Web browser. The tier applications depended on servers on the SAS server tier to do SAS processing, which include data query and analysis.

The tier includes the following third-party software and SAS software elements:

A Web application server

The Java Development Kit 5

SAS Web applications, which include SAS Web Report Studio, the SAS Information Delivery Portal, SAS BI Portlets, the SAS BI Dashboard, SAS Help Viewer for the Web, and other SAS products and solutions.

The SAS Web Infrastructure Platform, which includes the SAS Content Server and other infrastructure applications and services.

SAS Shared Service

A java remote method invocation (RMI) server, which allows access to SAS Foundation Services and associated extension services.

Though easy-to-use interfaces, the client tier offer users with desktop access to intelligence data and functionality. For simple information consumers, reporting and analysis duties can be performed with just a web browser while for more advanced design and analysis chores, the SAS client software is installed on users' desktops.

The SAS clients offer access to content, appropriate query, and reporting interfaces, and business intelligence functionality for all the information users in the enterprise.

The software includes Windows applications, Java applications, and a Web browser. The clients below are Windows applications and run on Microsoft Windows systems:

SAS Add-In for Microsoft Office

SAS Enterprise Guide

JMP (Java application)

SAS Enterprise Miner

SAS Data Integration Studio

SAS Information Map Studio

SAS Management Console

SAS OLAP Cube Studio

The applications that require only a Web browser are:

SAS Information Delivery Portal

SAS BI Dashboard

SAS Web OLAP Viewer

SAS Web Report Studio

SAS Help Viewer for the Web

2.1 SAS Benefits

One of the advantages of the SAS architecture is it allows the mixing and matching of both SAS and SATA hard drives. [8]

Another advantage of SAS architecture is that it will direct large storage capacities in comparatively crowded fields by taking advantage of the 2.5-inch (SSF) drive form factor. By increasing the spindle counts, it increases the performance in striped RAID configurations across either SAS or SATA drives. As SAS is the first standard specification that provide an interconnect mechanism for both SCSI and SATA, this means that SAS meets both enterprise and midrange/near line storage requirements at a fairly low costs. With a little costs needed for implementation, it provide users and integrators with flexible storage architectures. With the interchangeable drive and cable connectors, it allows users to plug-and-play between both SAS and SAS targets (hard disk drives, DVD drives, etc). Other than that, the architecture will direct large storage capacities in comparatively dense field with its captivating 2.5-inch (SSF) drive form factor. The bandwidth requirements are not only through its serial architecture. It is also by aggregation schemes that rationally attach a few connections together. With it, this model gives users a few choices for system OEMs and integrators when exchanging powers, pin count, and bandwidth required. [9]

2.2 SAS Industry

SAS supports the following industries:

Basis (includes ABAP/4 programming language)

Asset Management

Controlling

Financial Accounting

Human Resource

Industry Specific Solutions

Plant Maintenance

Production Planning

Project System

Quality Management,

Sales and Distribution

Materials Management

Business Workflow

SAP ARCHITECTURE

SAP latest architecture is the R/3, 'r' stands for real-time and '3' stands for an additional third layer for web application server. In the SAP R/3, multi-tier architecture is being brought in with SAP kernel, SAP Instances, Systems, and Landscapes [10]. SAP allows customized architecture and in here we would be discussing the major elements of SAP R/3 architecture. SAP offers industry specific solutions for financial services, public services, manufacturing, and service industry. The business application components consist of [11]:

The ERP backbone

Business Intelligence

Supply Chain Management

Customer Relationship Management

SAP developed an extended ERP solution called the Business Information Warehouse (BW) and Advance Planner and Optimizer (APO) for logistics and production planning. This would release the main SAP R/3 server for overload [11]. SAP BW architecture contains six components as in figure 3.

Figure 3: SAP BW architecture [10]

SAP has a build in scheduling system and this is because data warehousing requires bath processing for loading, and transforming data, creating and maintaining aggregates, creating and maintaining database indexes, exporting information to other systems and creating batch reports [10]. These processes require detailed planning to avoid conflicts, errors by running too many jobs at once and taking care of dependencies between jobs. SAP BW takes care of such scheduling by single processing or process chains for complex networks of jobs. Meta Data is one of the most important parts of data warehousing and in figure 4 its shows SAP R/3 Meta data manager architecture which handles all meta data information.

Figure 4: Meta data services architecture [10]

ETL service layer of SAP BW serves as a staging area as well for intermediate data storage for quality assurance purpose. SAP BW ETL is restricted to database management system that's supported by mySAP technology and Sybase only. In figure 5 we can see the ETL architecture as well as the overview of SAP R/3 architecture.

Figure 5: ETL Services architecture [10]

Next we go into the analysis and access services layer where it provide analysis services and structured and unstructured information stored in SAP business information warehouse. Figure 6 gives an overview of the components of the analysis and access services layer. Information provider interface is being introduced to generalize access to data available in SAP BW. This layer includes InfoCubes, ODS objects, master data tables, and InfoSets physically available on the same system. OLAP engine does the filtering, runtime calculations, currency conversions, and authorization checks are provided by the OLAP engine. Meta Data Repository will generate/update queries execution programs and finally execute the quires by running generated program. OLAP BAPI provides an open interface for accessing any information available thru the OLAP engine. OLAP BAPI also provides analysis from XML files.

Figure 6: Analysis and access services architecture [10]

Figure 7: Presentation services architecture [10]

Presentation services include all components required to present information available on the SAP BW server. The presentation layer also supports web environment. Each individual navigational step (drills down, drill across, add or remove filters) in the analysis process provides multiple queries view. Following are the query elements:

A reusable structure is used to collect key figures or characters that are being stored in Meta Data Repository for reuse in multiple queries.

A calculated key figure is a formula consisting of basic, restricted, or other calculated key figures that are on InfoProvider. The calculated key figures are being stored in Meta Data Repository.

A restricted key figure is a key figure with an associated filter on certain characters values stored in Meta Data Repository for reuse.

A variable is a parameter of a query. Query variable are determine at execution time by SAP BW.

An exception assigns an alert level from 1 to 9. It could be view from the alert monitor and be used to automatically trigger a workflow.

Figure 8: Queries and navigation [10]

Figure 8 shows, queries are independent from devices or presentation tools. It is also being used in the Web environment (refer to figure 10), mobile devices, for batch and exceptions reporting in the reporting agent.

Figure 9: the corporate information factory [1]

Figure 9 shows how the whole system would look from a higher viewing angle. Figure 10 shows how the web application layer works. Web application play a vital role in today's technology and it provides huge scalability as well as mobility and SAP BW Web application layer are independent with a server of its own to perform calculations. This avoids work overloading on the servers.

Figure 10: SAP Web application server architecture [10]

3.1 SAP Benefit

The benefit of SAP R/3 architecture is it allows independent work to be done on individual server to avoid work overloads. These allow scalability as well as work to be performed in a shorter time period for better performance. Such technology is also very good for data integration and also distribution of maintenance work. If one cube is needed for maintenance the rest of the system could run smoothly due to its independence. All request made by a client would be processed by the application server are then transferred to database server which carries out the entire task like store, retrieval and modification. The results are then send back to the application server for processing and passed to the presentation server to be presented to the user. This would immensely improve performance as well as integration of frequently used modules allows queries to be made easier. Key modules are made real time to allow better visualization. Large organization could install this ERP which works independently from division to divisions and provide consolidation at a higher level in real time. Distributed IT system allow managing business workflows even at divisional level and makes application extremely user specific and friendly. It also supports integration with other product that is not from SAP. This makes maintenance job easier and lower in cost.

3.2 SAP Industry

SAP supports the following industries [15]:

Aerospace and defense

Automotive

Banking

Chemicals

Consumer Products

Defense and Security

Engineering, Constructions and Operations

Healthcare

High Tech

Higher Education and Research

Industrial Machinery and Components

Insurance

Life Science

Media (Broadcasting, Entertainment, Newspaper, Magazine, Publication)

Mill Products

Mining

Oil and Gas

Professional Services

Public Sector

Retail

Telecommunications

Transport and Logistics

Utilities

Wholesale Distribution

SAS VS SAP

Organizations are dealing with increasingly complex issues, dynamic changes, and a systemic need for evidence-based decisions across a growing range of decision makers. As the BI vendor landscape gets competitive, CIOs and IT managers are under tremendous pressure to choose the right products, services, and technologies that enable them to transform data into a competitive advantage which enabling strategic decisions that optimize performance. [21]

SAS provides a flexible business analytics framework and helps organizations realize their business analytics objectives. SAS business analytics delivers competitive insights that are often hidden in data, enabling organizations to reach evidence-based decisions and confidently to solve complex business problems, manage performance to achieve measurable business objectives, drive sustainable growth through innovation, anticipate and manage change. [21]

With open, heterogeneous solutions in the areas of business intelligence, information management, governance, risk and compliance, and enterprise performance management, SAP BusinessObjects portfolio enables organizations to close the gap between business strategy and execution. SAP BusinesObjects provide solution across all verticals and we will continue to invest in the product portfolio to meet the business needs of the enterprises. SAP BusinessObjects governance, risk, and compliance solutions promote corporate accountability by unifying corporate strategy, control initiatives, opportunity discovery, and loss mitigation across the extended enterprise. SAP BusinessObjects enterprise performance management solutions play a key role in helping customers capitalize on the value of corporate data, enabling them to become more agile and competitive by providing organizational alignment, visibility, and greater confidence. [21]The table below show the comparison between SAS and SAP R/3.

Area

SAP R/3

SAS

Purpose

Meets the needs of a customer from the small grocer with 3 users to the multi-billion dollar companies The software is highly customizable using SAP's proprietary programming language, ABAP/4. R/3 is scalable and highly suited for many types and sizes of organizations

Offer unprecedented customer choice by allowing a single infrastructure to support both enterprise class Serial Attached SCSI drives and Serial ATA drives for cost-sensitive applications.

Architecture

Presentation Server(GUI)

Application Server

Database Server

Data Sources

SAS Servers

Middle Tier

Clients

Layer

ETL Service Layer - is restricted to database management system that's supported by mySAP technology and Sybase only.

Analysis Services Layer - where it provides analysis services and structured and unstructured information stored in SAP business information warehouse.

Presentation Layer - is supports web environment. Each individual navigational step (drills down, drill across, add or remove filters) in the analysis process provides multiple queries view.

SAS Physical Layer - it defines the lowest-level details of interconnect in two parts: the electrical and physical characteristics and the passive interconnect.

SAS PHY Layer - is responsible for insertion of primitives for Clock skew management, does a 8b/10b data encoding, where it converts 8-bit bytes into 10-bit data characters for transmission on the wire, generate Phy reset sequence, and generate the OOB (Out of Band) signalling, and primitives for speed negotiation.

SAS Link Layer - it insertion and deletion of primitives for clock-speed disparity matching, does primitive encoding, scrambling where it reduces EMI (electronic magnetic interference).

SAS Port Layer - it combines multiple Phys with the same addresses into wider ports.

Transport Layer - it three protocols which Serial SCSI Protocol (SSP), Serial ATA Tunnelled Protocol (STP), and Serial Management Protocol (SMP).

ATA Application layer - the ATA hosts will send ATA commands to the ATA devices. There are two different ATA device types: ATA and ATAPI (ATA Packet Interface).

Support Industry

Basis (includes ABAP/4 programming language), Asset Management, Controlling, Financial Accounting, Human Resources, Industry Specific Solutions, Plant Maintenance, Production Planning, Project System, Quality Management, Sales and Distribution, Materials Management, Business Workflow

Aerospace and defence , Automotive, Banking, Chemicals, Consumer Products, Defence and Security, Engineering, Constructions and Operations, Healthcare, High Tech, Higher Education and Research, Industrial Machinery and Components, Insurance, Life Science, Media (Broadcasting, Entertainment, Newspaper, Magazine, Publication),Mill Products, Mining, Oil and Gas, Professional Services, Public Sector, Retail, Telecommunications, Transport and Logistics, Utilities, Wholesale Distribution

Benefits

It allows independent work to be done on individual server to avoid work overloads.

It allows scalability as well as work to be performed in a shorter time period for better performance.

Provides real-time information, reducing the possibility of redundancy errors Ability to plan separately from budgeting and compare on-line.

Ability to create reports from available data fields and produce graphs on-line.

It designed for all types of business which provides a complete business solution across all business functions.

Customers can customize business modules to realize best business practices

R/3 allows the interplay and portability of applications, data and user interfaces.

It allows the mixing and matching of both SAS and SATA hard drives.

It will direct large storage capacities in comparatively crowded fields by taking advantage of the 2.5-inch (SSF) drive form factor.

By increasing the spindle counts, it increases the performance in striped RAID configurations across either SAS or SATA drives.

SAS meets both enterprise and midrange/near line storage requirements at a fairly low cost.

It allows users to plug-and-play between both SAS and SAS targets (hard disk drives, DVD drives, etc).

Databases

Oracle

Adabas D

Informix

DB2 for UNIX

DB2/400

Microsoft's SQL Server 6.0

Oracle

DB2

Teradata

ODBC

Microsoft SQL Server

Sybase

Applications

SAS Add-In for Microsoft Office

SAS Enterprise Guide

JMP (Java application)

SAS Enterprise Miner

SAS Data Integration Studio

SAS Information Map Studio

SAS Management Console

SAS OLAP Cube Studio

SAS Information Delivery Portal

SAS BI Dashboard

SAS Web OLAP Viewer

SAS Web Report Studio

SAS Help Viewer for the Web

SAP Business Suite

SAP Customer Relationship Management

SAP ERP

SAP Product Lifecycle Management

SAP Supply Chain Management

SAP Supplier Relationship Management

SAP Manufacturing

SAP Service and Asset Management

SAP Business Objects analytic solutions

SAP Business Objects business intelligence solutions

SAP Business Objects GRC solutions

SAP Business Objects EPM solutions

SAP Crystal solutions

SAP solutions for auto-ID and item serialization

SAP solutions for enterprise information management

SAP solutions for sustainability

Solution extensions

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, after analyzing and comparing both SAS and SAP, we found that they both support multi-database system. Both of SAS and SAP supports almost all the major database vendors. Besides, SAP has more application compared to SAS. Therefore, it is more established software which targets larger market segment. Apart from that, SAP is a larger company with its own programming language which is ABAP/4 to support its system. SAP also allows interconnection with SAS products. Not only that, both SAS and SAP are found to support high performance. Both of them are very competitive software in their respective fields as both of them are experts in business intelligence. Both SAS and SAP contributed a lot to the industries they support. From all the analysis, we can conclude that BI is a well researched field and there is not much room to grow or new research to make business even better. The only research is done in increase accuracy as well as performance.