Handy SAS Usage Note for Troubleshooting UNIX Authentication

Whilst troubleshooting why LDAP based users couldn’t authenticate against a SAS Metadata Server configured for host authentication, I found this handy resource: SAS Usage Note 39891: Using PROC PERMTEST to diagnose UNIX host authentication issues in SAS® 9.2. The server in question already had correctly functioning LDAP host authentication via PAM, it was just that the SAS Metadata Server wasn’t able to authenticate the LDAP users. The usage note helped me fix the problem by leading me to the SASFoundation/SAS9.2/utilities/bin/sasauth.conf file where I found it had methods=pw instead of methods=pam (must have chosen the wrong options at install time). I actually didn’t need to run PROC PERMTEST this time but the usage note contains clear instructions on how to when required. Interestingly PROC PERMTEST doesn’t seem to appear in the Base SAS® 9.2 Procedures Guide.

SAS Metadata Backup on Windows 2008 R2 64-bit

I was trying to run a manual SAS Metadata Server backup (OMABAKUP) on Windows 2008 R2 64 bit today. It failed! I run metadata backups many many times so I was sure all the normal prerequisites were in place but this was the first time I had run one on Windows 2008 R2 64 bit … hmm … I remembered seeing a SAS usage note about metadata backups on Windows 2008 a week or so back. A quick search found SAS Usage Note 38869: What credentials are needed when running a SAS® Metadata Server backup in batch on Windows 2008. It described the error I saw in the SAS log perfectly!

The resolution was to Run as administrator. Even though I was logged in to Windows as an Administrator I still had to explicitly run the SAS program in an administrative context (it’s a Windows security thing). As mentioned in the usage note, this is also documented in the SAS® 9.2 Intelligence Platform: System Administration Guide, Second Edition, Chapter 11 Using the %OMABAKUP Macro to Perform Backups and Restores, in the section Ensuring Appropriate User Credentials.

So I had a SAS usage note describing the problem and the solution. The trouble was I couldn’t quite get the instructions in the SAS usage note to work for me. When I right click over the Command Prompt window (or a PowerShell window for that matter) I don’t get a Run as administrator item. What did work for me though was to right mouse click over the Command Prompt item in the Windows Start Menu, and click the Run as administrator menu item – here’s a quick screenshot to clarify.

That opens a Command Prompt window running in an administrative context so I could then change to the metadata server directory and run the backup:

cd C:\SAS\EBIEDIEG\Lev1\SASMeta\MetadataServer
MetadataServer.bat -backup

… a quick check of the SAS log shows everything worked as expected this time.

SAS 9.2 Mid Tier Support for Windows 2008 R2

To date I had avoided Windows 2008 R2 because, until recently, it was not supported for the SAS 9.2 Mid Tier. I had read in SAS Installation Note 36616: SAS® 9.1.3 Service Pack 4 and SAS® 9.2 support for Microsoft Windows Server 2008 that support for 2008 R2 was coming with the release of the version 4.3 mid-tier apps. Now that release has happened I checked back with the usage note to see if it had been updated and was pleased to see the following:

“The subsequent delivery, SAS 9.2 (TS2M3), Revision 10w46, is now available. This delivery includes the remainder of the 4.3 release, which is the SAS Content Server and SAS Web-based clients (for example, SAS Web Report Studio and SAS Information Delivery Portal).”

Something I also noticed at the bottom of SAS Note 36616 was a link to SAS Installation Note 40501: Java 6 Update 14 or later is required when you install SAS® 9.2 in the Microsoft Windows 7 or Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 operating environments. That note points out that for Windows 2008 R2 you also have to use Java 6 (rather than Java 5) and provides the following information on when Java 6 support started:

“Prior to SAS 9.2, Rev. 09w51, JRE 1.6 was not supported. In order to use JRE 1.6, you need to install SAS 9.2 09w51 or later.”

There is an explanation of the meaning of the revision number in SAS Installation Note 35627: Determining your SAS® 9.2 release. SAS 9.2 Revision 10w46 as mentioned in 36616 is more recent (being 2010 week 46) than SAS 9.2 Revision 09w51 mentioned in 40501 (which is 2009 week 51).

So it looks like I can try out Windows 2008 R2 now – as long as I also remember to use Java 6 and get SAS 9.2 Revision 10w46 or later. As a bonus I now understand SAS 9.2 revision numbers. :)