Sunday, June 10, 2012

Converting SAS scripts into Oracle PL/SQL. Why Bother?

I am converting large quantity of existing SAS scripts into Oracle. So far, all the SAS scripts can be implemented into Oracle PL/SQL (mostly SQL). Given the same input data, SAS and Oracle produce the exactly same result most of the time. In very limited number of cases, there are very small discrepancies in SAS and Oracle results. One of such example is calculating percentiles. However, these discrepancies are very small and explainable.

Why the conversion of existing SAS scripts into Oracle PL/SQL?  The following are the reasons.
1. Production data existing in Oracle DB all the time. It is better to run analytics processes within the database without data movement and enjoy all those benefits offered by DB, e.g., security, manageability, scalability, indexes, materialized views,table partitions, SQL, etc.
2. To democratize data analytics. Only limited number of people know how to use SAS( many of them have at least master degrees). However, there are far more SQL programmers/analysts who are querying data on daily basis. To us, data analytics is simply a more advanced way of querying data, nothing more, nothing less. It is natural to  take advantage of analytics power using SQL.


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