Visualize SAS xpt Data in Tableau

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SASxpt ODBC Driver

The SASxpt ODBC Driver is a powerful tool that allows you to connect with live data from SAS xpt (XPORT) file data, directly from any applications that support ODBC connectivity.

Access SAS xpt (XPORT) files like you would a database - read, write, and update through a standard ODBC Driver interface.



The CData ODBC driver for SAS xpt enables you integrate SAS xpt data into Tableau dashboards.

The CData ODBC Driver for SAS xpt enables you to access live SAS xpt data in business intelligence tools like Tableau. In this article, you will integrate SAS xpt data into a dashboard that reflects changes to SAS xpt data in real time.

The CData ODBC drivers offer unmatched performance for interacting with live SAS xpt data in Tableau due to optimized data processing built into the driver. When you issue complex SQL queries from Tableau to SAS xpt, the driver pushes supported SQL operations, like filters and aggregations, directly to SAS xpt and utilizes the embedded SQL engine to process unsupported operations (often SQL functions and JOIN operations) client-side. With built-in dynamic metadata querying, you can visualize and analyze SAS xpt data using native Tableau data types.

Connect to SAS xpt as an ODBC Data Source

If you have not already, first specify connection properties in an ODBC DSN (data source name). This is the last step of the driver installation. You can use the Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator to create and configure ODBC DSNs.

Connecting to Local SASXpt Files

You can connect to local SASXpt file by setting the URI to a folder containing SASXpt files.

Connecting to S3 data source

You can connect to Amazon S3 source to read SASXpt files. Set the following properties to connect:

  • URI: Set this to the folder within your bucket that you would like to connect to.
  • AWSAccessKey: Set this to your AWS account access key.
  • AWSSecretKey: Set this to your AWS account secret key.
  • TemporaryLocalFolder: Set this to the path, or URI, to the folder that is used to temporarily download SASXpt file(s).

Connecting to Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2

You can connect to ADLS Gen2 to read SASXpt files. Set the following properties to connect:

  • URI: Set this to the name of the file system and the name of the folder which contacts your SASXpt files.
  • AzureAccount: Set this to the name of the Azure Data Lake storage account.
  • AzureAccessKey: Set this to our Azure DataLakeStore Gen 2 storage account access key.
  • TemporaryLocalFolder: Set this to the path, or URI, to the folder that is used to temporarily download SASXpt file(s).

When you configure the DSN, you may also want to set the Max Rows connection property. This will limit the number of rows returned, which is especially helpful for improving performance when designing reports and visualizations.

Add SAS xpt Data to a Dashboard

  1. Click Connect to Data -> More Servers -> Other Databases (ODBC).
    Select the CData Data Source Name (for example: CData SASXpt Source).
  2. In the Database menu, select CData.
  3. In the Table box, enter a table name or click New Custom SQL to enter an SQL query. This article retrieves the SampleTable_1 table.
  4. Drag the table onto the join area. At this point, you can include multiple tables, leveraging the built-in SQL engine to process complex data requests.
  5. In the Connection menu, select the Live option, so that you skip loading a copy of the data into Tableau and instead work on real-time data. The optimized data processing native to CData ODBC drivers enables unmatched performance in live connectivity.
  6. Click the tab for your worksheet. Columns are listed as Dimensions and Measures, depending on the data type. The CData driver discovers data types automatically, allowing you to leverage the powerful data processing and visualization features of Tableau.
  7. Drop the Id column in the Dimensions pane onto the dashboard. When you select dimensions, Tableau builds a query to the driver. The results are grouped based on that dimension. In Tableau, the raw query is automatically modified as you select dimensions and measures.
  8. Drag the Column1 column in the Measures field onto the Detail and Color buttons. Tableau executes the following query:

    SELECT Id, SUM(Column1) FROM SampleTable_1 GROUP BY Id

    When you select a measure, Tableau executes a command to the driver to calculate a summary function, such as SUM, AVG, etc., on the grouped values. The SQL engine (embedded within the driver) is leveraged to process the aggregation of the data, where needed, providing a seamless experience in Tableau, regardless of the data source.

    To change the summary function, open the Column1 menu and select the summary you want in the Measure command.

  9. You can create other charts using dimensions and measures to build SQL queries visually:

With the CData ODBC Driver for SAS xpt, you get live connectivity to your SAS xpt data, allowing you to build real-time charts, graphs, and more.