SAS launches first cloud app with pay-as-you-go pricing

SAS Institute Inc. is making one of its top software applications available on a pay-as-you-go basis for the first time with today’s announcement that its Viya analytics platform is now available on the Microsoft Azure Marketplace.

The announcement represents an evolution in thinking at the 46-year-old maker of statistics and analytics software. Although the company has listed applications on various public cloud platforms for some time, this is the first that users can provision immediately without contacting the company to negotiate a license fee or make a monthly payment. “This is an opportunity to make analytics to everyone, everywhere in a flexible way with self-service,” said Alice McClure, director of artificial intelligence and analytics at SAS.

Like many traditional enterprise software vendors, SAS has wrestled with the transition to making its products available on demand without charging up-front and often expensive license fees. Enterprise software has been “built for a high-touch sales process,” said SAS Chief Information Officer Jay Upchurch. “The cloud marketplace for many of those companies is intimidating. This gets enterprise capability delivered to the individual. That’s very different from what we have traditionally done.”

SAS is a private company that self-reported revenue of $3.2 billion in 2021 as it prepares for an anticipated 2024 public offering. It claims 88 of the 2021 Fortune 100 or their affiliates are customers.

Cloud mission

The move is intended to telegraph that “we are on a cloud mission,” Upchurch said. Viya has been substantially rewritten using cloud native constructs like software containers and microservices. “We will continue to deliver more offers into this space in both the traditional enterprise and pay-as-you-go model,” he said. While Microsoft Corp. is the company’s principal cloud partner, SAS also expects to offer its products on other infrastructure-as-a-service platforms, McClure said.

Unlike many of SAS’ products, which are aimed at data scientists and use cases heavy on statistics, Viya is also targeted at business analysts and end users. Its capabilities include data analytics, visual statistics, data mining, machine learning model development, integrated workflows, information governance and econometrics. It supports both programming and low- or no-code options in a single visual interface and can be used with SAS’ proprietary development language as well as Python and R.

“SAS users who may not be an Azure subscriber currently are looking for flexible ways to get started,” McClure said. “This is all about getting Viya in the hands of users.”

The software is priced at 55 cents per hour based on utilized virtual CPU clusters. SAS opted for a lower-cost community rather than dedicated support option. “Our SAS community is massive,” Upchurch said. “It is a wonderful place to get great information. That said, we’ll continue to support our customers as we go.”

Photo: SAS Institute

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