Getting Certified

As a (certified) SAS platform administrator I often get asked how best to prepare for the SAS Certified Platform Administrator 9 exam.

I don’t have a magic formula other than study and experience. My standard response is to direct people to the best place I know where you can find out more: that’s the SAS support page specifically about exam preparation.

From my own experience I’d recommend the following steps:

Continue reading “Getting Certified”

Password Encoding with SAS

Quick note from Paul: I’m really excited that’s very first guest post is from the well known blogger and author Tricia Aanderud. I suspect you already know Tricia, but just in case you don’t …

Tricia Aanderud, president of And Data, Inc., provides SAS® consulting services to corporations who need assistance understanding how to transform their data into meaningful charts, reports, and dashboards. Tricia has been an enthusiastic SAS user since 2002 and has presented papers at the SAS Global Forum and other industry conferences. She is the co-author of two SAS BI books, “Building Business Intelligence with SAS: Content Development Examples” and “The 50 Keys to Learning SAS Stored Processes”.

Now over to Tricia …

I frequently find myself querying the metadata to assist with understanding a new customer system or trying to navigate one of my demo systems. As a result, I find I have many utilities that I want to share with customers. However, since these connect to the metadata with an active password, I don’t want to share my password. Using the SAS PWENCODE procedure, I can encode my password in a SAS program and voilà! a way to share the code and shield the password.

Encoding the Password

The PWENCODE procedure allows you to encode passwords that are used in place of plaintext passwords in SAS programs.

The following figure shows the PWENCODE procedure in a simple way. My example password, Pa55w0rd!, is placed in quotes. You can use different encoding methods, which you can read more about in the SAS PWENCODE procedure documentation.

The encoded password appears in the Continue reading “Password Encoding with SAS”

SAS Management Console over SSH

I was asked recently how to get SAS® Management Console to remotely access a SAS metadata server using SSH tunnels. In the absence of a VPN connection to your network, SSH can be an alternative for SAS Management Console access to a remote SAS metadata server.

I am a huge fan of SSH (Secure Shell). I have been using it several times a day for many years now. It’s great. If you haven’t heard of SSH before, take a look at the Wikipedia page for Secure Shell. Here’s a quote from the page that provides a nice intro/summary:

Secure Shell (SSH) is a network protocol for secure data communication, remote shell services or command execution and other secure network services between two networked computers that it connects via a secure channel over an insecure network.

Here are a couple of methods for using SAS Management Console over SSH:

1. Remote execution of SAS Management Console with X11 forwarding to the client

This method can be used when you are accessing a SAS platform installation on Linux or UNIX and have SSH client software and X server software on your remote workstation. Mac or Linux workstations are great for this since they usually have all the required software pre-installed. Windows can also be used if you obtain SSH client and X server software. I personally use Putty as an SSH client when I am working on Windows and would defintely recommend it. I have no specific recommendations for an X server on Windows since it’s been a long time since I’ve done X on Windows.

Assuming, as a SAS platform administrator, you have remote SSH access to the SAS metadata server machine then you can use SSH from your workstation to execute the SAS Management Console remotely and forward the X display to your client workstation.

Here’s an example command to do this:

ssh -X /opt/sas93/SASManagementConsole/9.3/sasmc

Which means SSH connect, with X11 forwarding, to the machine and then execute the SAS Management Console (/opt/sas93/SASManagementConsole/9.3/sasmc) on that remote machine sending the X windows back to the client workstation.

2. Local execution of SAS Management Console with SSH tunneling

SSH also allows you to configure a tunnel – a local port on your workstation that that forwards traffic to a designated server and port in the remote network. This tunnel can be used to make a remote service appear to be a local service. We can use it to make a remote SAS metadata server port appear to be on the local workstation so that a local installation of the SAS Management Console can connect to it as if it had a local metadata server.

Here’s an example command to do this:

ssh -L

Which means SSH connect to the machine and establish a local machine port (8561) that forwards traffic to the remote host/port accessible via If you are not using public key authentication (recommended) then you will be prompted for a user id and password for the server. Once the connection is active, a local SAS Management Console can be started and will be able to access the remote SAS metadata server using a connection profile that connects to a metadata server on host/port localhost:8561. All traffic to this local port will be sent to the remote metadata server over the SSH tunnel.

Bear in mind that this only makes the metadata server port available on the local machine. So the local SAS Management Console instance can only access the metadata server. It doesn’t necessarily make the client fully functional as it may require additional connections to additional servers e.g. access to a SAS Object Spawner for a SAS Workspace Server session or a connection to the SAS Content Server. You could look into forwarding other ports and will also need to modify your local hosts file to redirect the remote host names found in metadata to the localhost interface. For anything more complex than pure metadata server access it would probably be easier and more robust to use a VPN connection (or remote access via something like X or RDP to remote network client workstations).