At last year’s annual SAS Institute European User Group annual meeting in Switzerland, the company announced its intentions to introduce Unix versions of the SAS System – popular amongst IBM mainframe users under MVS and DEC VAX users under VMS – by the end of 1987. In the event, the launch was held back to until users met for their 1988 get-together, which took place last month in Copenhagen. Conspicuously absent, however, was any mention of an Ultrix implementation for the VAX, which had been promised to users last year along with the Hewlett-Packard version now available. SAS System includes a base data management analysis and reporting tool, with presentation graphics and menu-building tools above. The move to Unix was prompted by the SAS Institute’s major re-write of the SAS system, converting it from a mixture of of PL/I and assembler language into C, which is part of the company’s new multi-vendor architecture strategy designed to speed up development of ports to new hardware. First fruits of the new architecture are SAS Version 6.03 on MS-DOS micros, and the Unix version to Hewlett Packard’s Motorola-based 9000 Series 300. A version for the Precision Architecture Series 800, using the Spectrum RISC chip, is also ready and should be released by the summer. SAS for Ultrix and for Sun workstations were also high on the list of users wants, according to head of Unix development Carl Zeigler: the Sun versions for both Motorola and SPARC-based systems are already advanced thanks to the similarities with the Hewlett technology. IBM’s AIX version of Unix is currently not being considered according to SAS President and founder Dr James Goodnight, and Zeigler confirmed that the company’s Unix development would be tied up with existing work for at least the next year. Meanwhile Hewlett-Packard will be using SAS as a further element in its aggressive push to win customers from DEC and IBM: it claims that the SAS system runs at double the speed of a comparable VAX configuration. The company claims it has installed software in 35,000 sites worldwide, and has a turnover of over $135m.
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