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Use the CData ODBC Driver for SQL Analysis Services in SAS for Real-Time Reporting and Analytics

Connect to real-time SQL Analysis Services data in SAS for reporting, analytics, and visualizations using the CData ODBC Driver for SQL Analysis Services.

SAS is a software suite developed for advanced analytics, multivariate analysis, business intelligence, data management, and predictive analytics. When you pair SAS with the CData ODBC Driver for SQL Analysis Services, you gain database-like access to live SQL Analysis Services data from SAS, expanding your reporting and analytics capabilities. This articles walks through creating a library for SQL Analysis Services in SAS and creating a simple report based on real-time SQL Analysis Services data.

The CData ODBC Driver offers unmatched performance for interacting with live SQL Analysis Services data in SAS due to optimized data processing built into the driver. When you issue complex SQL queries from SAS to SQL Analysis Services, the driver pushes supported SQL operations, like filters and aggregations, directly to SQL Analysis Services 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 easily visualize and analyze SQL Analysis Services data in SAS.

Connect to SQL Analysis Services as an ODBC Data Source

Information for connecting to SQL Analysis Services follows, along with different instructions for configuring a DSN in Windows and Linux environments (the ODBC Driver for SQL Analysis Services must be installed on the machine hosting the SAS System).

To connect, provide authentication and set the Url property to a valid SQL Server Analysis Services endpoint. You can connect to SQL Server Analysis Services instances hosted over HTTP with XMLA access. See the Microsoft documentation to configure HTTP access to SQL Server Analysis Services.

To secure connections and authenticate, set the corresponding connection properties, below. The data provider supports the major authentication schemes, including HTTP and Windows, as well as SSL/TLS.

  • HTTP Authentication

    Set AuthScheme to "Basic" or "Digest" and set User and Password. Specify other authentication values in CustomHeaders.

  • Windows (NTLM)

    Set the Windows User and Password and set AuthScheme to "NTLM".

  • Kerberos and Kerberos Delegation

    To authenticate with Kerberos, set AuthScheme to NEGOTIATE. To use Kerberos delegation, set AuthScheme to KERBEROSDELEGATION. If needed, provide the User, Password, and KerberosSPN. By default, the data provider attempts to communicate with the SPN at the specified Url.

  • SSL/TLS:

    By default, the data provider attempts to negotiate SSL/TLS by checking the server's certificate against the system's trusted certificate store. To specify another certificate, see the SSLServerCert property for the available formats.

You can then access any cube as a relational table: When you connect the data provider retrieves SSAS metadata and dynamically updates the table schemas. Instead of retrieving metadata every connection, you can set the CacheLocation property to automatically cache to a simple file-based store.

See the Getting Started section of the CData documentation, under Retrieving Analysis Services Data, to execute SQL-92 queries to the cubes.

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.

Windows

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.

Linux

If you are installing the CData ODBC Driver for SQL Analysis Services in a Linux environment, the driver installation predefines a system DSN. You can modify the DSN by editing the system data sources file (/etc/odbc.ini) and defining the required connection properties.

/etc/odbc.ini

[CData SSAS Sys] Driver = CData ODBC Driver for SQL Analysis Services Description = My Description User = myuseraccount Password = mypassword URL = http://localhost/OLAP/msmdpump.dll

For specific information on using these configuration files, please refer to the help documentation (installed and found online).

Create a SQL Analysis Services Library in SAS

Connect to SQL Analysis Services in SAS by adding a library based on the CData ODBC Driver for SQL Analysis Services.

  1. Open SAS and expand Libraries in the Explorer pane.
  2. In the Active Libraries window, right-click and select New.
  3. Name your library (odbclib), select ODBC as the Engine, and click to Enable at startup (if you want the library to persist between sessions).
  4. Set Data Source to the DSN you previously configured and click OK.

Create a View from a SQL Analysis Services Query

SAS natively supports querying data either using a low-code, point-and-click Query tool or programmatically with PROC SQL and a custom SQL query. When you create a View in SAS, the defining query is executed each time the view is queried. This means that you always query live SQL Analysis Services data for reports, charts, and analytics.

Using the Query Tool

  1. In SAS, click Tools -> Query
  2. Select the table sources and the table(s) you wish to pull data from. Then, click OK.
  3. Select columns and right-click to add filtering, ordering, grouping, etc.
  4. Create a local view to contain the query results by right-clicking the SQL Query Tool window, selecting Show Query, and clicking Create View. Name the View and click OK.

Using PROC SQL

  1. In SAS, navigate to the Editor window.
  2. Use PROC SQL to query the data and create a local view.
    NOTE: This procedure creates a view in the Work library. You can optionally specify a library in the create view statement.
    proc sql;
      create view adventure_works_view as
      select 
        fiscal_year, 
        sales_amount 
      from 
        odbclib.adventure_works 
      where 
        Fiscal_Year = 'FY 2008';
    quit;
    
  3. Click Run -> Submit to execute the query and create a local view.

Report On or Visualize SQL Analysis Services Data in SAS

With a local view created, you can report, visualize, or otherwise analyze SQL Analysis Services data using the powerful SAS features. Print a simple report using PROC PRINT and create a basic graph based on the data using PROC GCHART.

Print an HTML Report

  1. In SAS, navigate to the Editor window.
  2. Use PROC PRINT to print an HTML report for the SQL Analysis Services Adventure_Works data.
    proc print data=adventure_works;
      title "SQL Analysis Services Adventure_Works Data";
    run;
    

Print a Chart

  1. In SAS, navigate to the Editor window.
  2. Use PROC GCHART to create a chart for the Adventure_Works data.
    proc gchart data=adventure_works;
      pie fiscal_year / sumvar=sales_amount
          value=arrow
          percent=arrow
          noheading
          percent=inside plabel=(height=12pt)
          slice=inside value=none
          name='Adventure_WorksChart';
    run;