Why migrate away from SAS?

The businesses that have been using SAS for a long time at least once thought about the possibility to migrate away. SAS Platform is an extremely powerful solution that provides for a wide range of functionality.  In many cases, the SAS-based systems don’t utilize that functionality by 100%. Yet the business owners still pay the full price.

The business face the question either they have to pay for the functionality they don’t use or they have an alternative. In reality, migration from SAS to any target is not so challenging for the business. What you need is a full understanding of the process, a reliable migration plan, and a good team.

The key reasons to migrate include:

Expensive license costs

The high cost of SAS software is one of its major minuses. You have to prolong the licenses regularly to access the SAS functionality.

The business budgets and priorities constantly change so one day you may want to cut your expenses or utilize your funds on another spending pattern. That is why, oftentimes, users decide on migration when their licenses are about to expire.

Lack of qualified specialists

The experts in SAS are fairly difficult not even to hire but to find.

This is one of the reasons why businesses choose to migrate to more popular and well-known solutions — when your dedicated SAS expert leaves the company the knowledge goes with them.

Lack of support

Reportedly, SAS developers cannot always keep up with business demands.

For some companies that is a problem, especially when they don’t have enough SAS experts amongst the team.

To decide whether to migrate from SAS you have to know the following:

  • Our developers can migrate SAS to any system with similar functionality.
  • SAS programming language allows for creating flexible and dynamic code and we take it into consideration when choosing the target system.
  • To perform the migration effectively the developers have to access to SAS environment on your side.
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Typical challenges of migration from SAS

Generally speaking, all migration or modernization projects have in common a similar workflow, technical approach, and vision. With over 18 years of experience with database migrations, our team established a proven 12-step migration process, which is also relevant for SAS migrations.

Our certified Business Intelligence and Big Data experts know all the workarounds and proven solutions that you may need when recreating your SAS applications under the new architecture.

However, some of the challenges are specific for SAS migration projects. They include:


SAS system provides for a good performance and it is difficult to compete. Thus, the main challenge of every migration is to provide for equal performance and to avoid performance downfalls.

Nevertheless, equal performance is achievable. In fact, it depends on the well-considered future state architecture.

Differences between source and target architectures

Almost 80% of all migration challenges come out of differences in source and target architectures.

Some of these challenges occur to every migration case, some of them depend on the peculiarities of the target system. However, the thoughtful architecture, well-planned process, and proper testing allow for anticipating any issues.

Current architecture vs your future architecture

Our architects analyze your existing solution and design a new system with comparable functionality.  The generalized migration architecture diagram looks as follows:

For the real cases, the choice of the toolset and technologies completely depends on the functionality and peculiarities of the SAS solution. Our developers base upon our best practices and work to cover the unique needs of your business solution.

Below, we provide a real-life example of architecture diagrams from one of the projects we completed for our customers. Particularly, we moved the data from their SAS-based system to Microsoft SQL Server.

And for the code of their source system, we utilized Microsoft SQL Server stored procedures. For some of those we needed to use Python and R code.

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Learn more about migration from SAS

Blog posts

Challenges migrating SAS solutions to SQL Server - Missing Values versus NULL
December 10, 2019 Bill Ramos

Managers for a well-known accounting and tax-preparation company contacted DB Best looking for an alternative solution to a big problem. They were long term customers of SAS but were n...

Migrating an On-Premises SAS System to Microsoft Azure HDInsight
October 22, 2019 Katerina Yukhno

A global retailer in the beauty industry contacted DB Best looking for the right modernization path for their SAS based BI solution. They were hitting the boundaries of SAS with their ...

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