Susan Slaughter

Adventures in SAS Installations

In Enterprise Guide, Everything, SAS on October 25, 2010 at 11:26 am

Installing SAS 9.2 TS2M3 on four computers running two operating systems took six days and one tracking number.  Not bad, not bad at all considering my experiences with other recent releases.

When Enterprise Guide 4.3 was released at the end of August, I was eager to try out the new features for programmers.  The only problem was that in order to run EG 4.3, I needed to reinstall SAS.  (SAS 9.2 TS2M3 is recommended for people running EG 4.3 as explained by Chris Hemedinger.)  I’ve installed SAS countless times over the years, and generally speaking it hasn’t been any more complicated than following the install wizard’s instructions to insert each disk in a seemingly random (or at least inscrutable) order.

However, when I attempted to install SAS 9.2 TS1M0 in May 2008 it took a full two months–and that was with the active help of SAS Technical Support.  In defense of SAS, I should mention that the problems I experienced in 2008 were related to the fact that I had been running a beta version of SAS 9.2.  Betas often conflict with their own production versions, so this was not remarkable.  What was rather surprising was the fact that uninstalling the beta version didn’t fix the problem, and the problem was that the install wizard refused even to open.  It took the good people of SAS Technical Support two months to find the magic option that would convince Windows to launch the installer.   This created a desperate situation forcing me to reinstall the beta version so that critical deadlines could be met.

Installing SAS 9.2 TS2M0 in May 2009 proved even more difficult, again taking two months, this time with intense help from SAS Technical Support.  And this time I wasn’t alone as I eventually  heard from other SAS users.  One common problem involved missing Java components that caused certain features in EG not to work, but the bigger, more general problem was that the installation process was so confusing that many people installed SAS wrong without having a clue that they had done anything wrong.

This time around I was determined to install SAS on my own—if possible.

Computer No. One

The first computer I tried was a laptop with a previous version of SAS installed on it.  I popped in the first DVD and was informed that the Deployment Manager could not start because SAS was already running.  The Deployment Manager was objecting to processes like the SAS Object Spawner that had been set up to start automatically on this computer. The obvious thing to do was to open the Windows Task Manager and kill those processes.  But since I wasn’t the person who had set up those processes, I wasn’t entirely comfortable doing that.  So I called SAS Technical Support where the helpful person told me to open the Windows Task Manager and kill those processes.  He then walked me through the initial steps which seemed pretty logical, and then I continued the installation on my own.  This installation took two days, but only because of the lag involved in contacting Technical Support and waiting for a response.

Computer No. Two

The second computer was running Windows 7 64-bit and already had SAS 9.2 TS2M3 installed on it, but it did not have EG 4.3. I mentioned this to the person at Technical Support, and he said that I ought to be able to use my DVDs with the Windows 32-bit software to install EG 4.3 because EG 4.3 runs as 32-bit software even on 64-bit operating systems.  With that bit of encouragement, I popped my DVD into the second computer and waited…and waited…and waited.  I was sure something was wrong…but I waited.  Finally the Deployment Manager came back and announced that it had one thing to install on that computer: EG 4.3.  Computers are famous for doing what you tell them to do, not what you want, but here was the Deployment Manager seemingly reading my mind. Total time for installation: about fifteen minutes of waiting, and five minutes to install the software.

Computer No. Three

The third computer was the only “virgin” that did not have SAS software previously installed.  You might have expected that to make this installation easier than the others.  However, the first thing the SAS install wizard did was say that it needed to update some Windows stuff and then reboot.  It did indeed reboot the computer, but it failed to restart the install wizard. I sat in front of the computer for about fifteen minutes expecting it to restart the install wizard as soon as it was ready.  When I finally realized it was never going to do that, then I manually restarted the installation process which proceeded smoothly enough on SAS’s end.  Unfortunately, the disk copying software on the computer objected strenuously to the DVDs from SAS Institute.  Problems reading the disks were enormously frustrating and doubled the amount of time needed to install the software, but it was still completed in a few hours.

Computer No. Four

The fourth computer was an older laptop with an old version of SAS installed on it.  I popped in the first DVD, but the computer could not read it.  This drive reads other DVDs without problem, but there was something about that particular DVD that just didn’t work.  Since it was impossible to install SAS from the DVDs, the work around was to create a SAS software depot on an external hard drive, and then install from the external drive.  This was time consuming as it required finding a suitable drive and them making the depot. Once the depot was created, the installation went normally.  However, while I was out of the room, my helper chose the default install.  When the installation was done, I discovered that EG had not been installed.  By default, the install wizard will update the SAS products that you already have installed.  This seems like a reasonable thing for SAS to do, but in this case I specifically wanted EG 4.3 to be installed and that didn’t happen.  I had to start over and reinstall SAS using a custom install.  Due to the various hardware and software problems, this install process took two days.

Conclusions

I ran into some problems, but this release is a winner.  If you haven’t already installed SAS 9.2 TS2M3 and EG 4.3, you’ll probably want to check it out.

Just be aware that by default the installer will update only the products you have currently installed.  So if you want to add something that you haven’t installed before—perhaps EG 4.3 or the ODS Graphics Editor—then you’ll need to choose the custom install and select those products.

  1. Congratulations! That’s a lot of SAS computing power you’ve got going there. Perhaps the next adventure will be to hook them all together in a grid computing environment.

  2. I have performed a manual installation from the depot on several computers.

    First deleting the older version and then installing SAS 9.2 TS2M3 ith EG 3. This seems to work fine on Windows XP, Vista and 7.

    • I’m glad to hear that the SAS 9.2 TS2M3 installation process is going well for other people too.

      The only reason I had a problem with my first installation was because of the Object Spawner etc. that had been set up to launch automatically, and even then the solution was simple. I just needed someone to confirm that it was ok to end those processes.

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