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Enterprise Session Monitor for SAS

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What is ESM

How it works and why it is useful

Enterprise Session Monitor for SAS™ has been designed and built from the ground up for the purpose of monitoring the SAS BI platform. It meters individual server-side processes for processor, memory and disk space usage, and lets users contrast the performance of their sessions against the overall performance of the server they are executing on – all via an intuitive, user-friendly web-based interface.

ESM enables developers to proactively profile and predict the performance of their programs, BI Reports and Stored Processes prior to releasing them to end-users. The functionality offered by ESM can also save developers a considerable amount of time and effort in diagnosing and solving common problems otherwise difficult to pinpoint, regarding both the performance of individual jobs and the stability of an environment as a whole.

Batch Window Analysis

Troubleshooting and Performance Optimisation

As well as streaming them in real-time, ESM stores the metrics it collects for later inspection, letting users and administrators retrospectively analyse the performance of jobs that run unattended during the overnight batch window. The profiles of individual jobs are searchable by Job Name or Completion Status and presented in an easy to read Gantt-style chart, making the root cause of multiple failures easier to spot. Any Warnings or Errors are flagged as they occur, and clicking on a warning or error instantly displays it in the wider context of the job Log.

ESM is invaluable for remedying deployments where stability and timely completion of the batch are critical. It provides unprecedented visibility of overnight system behaviour, reducing the time taken to diagnose a failure by an order of magnitude and giving administrators the time and information they need to stop it happening again.


Operating Cost Allocation and Reporting

As well as performance analysis, ESM uses the metrics it collects to perform process cost accounting, keeping a running total of how much CPU time has been spent by a recurring job or user sessions. ESM includes a powerful classification interface for performing retrospective cost assignment, and reporting functionality that can generate divisional usage reports for any given time period.

There are many benefits to operating a consolidated, multi-tenanted, organisation-wide SAS platform. By making it easy to work out the usage split between the tenants of such a platform, ESM lets organisations implement a usage-based cost model when offering SAS to its internal customers as a centrally managed service.

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Frequently Asked Questions about ESM

What versions of SAS is ESM compatible with?

ESM works  with client-server environments running SAS v8 and above. However, enhanced features such as metadata-based identification of user sessions are only available starting with SAS v9.1.3

ESM is compatible with SAS deployments running the following platforms:

Linux x86/x64 (kernel v2.6+)
Windows x64 (Server 2008R2+)
Solaris Sparc-32/64  (v7+), x86/x64 (v8+)
AIX ppc/ppc64 (v5.2+)
HPUX (11i)

How does ESM actually work? Does it parse log files?

ESM operates a server-agent architecture. Collection agents are deployed on each of the nodes being monitored, and a single instance of the server application runs on a designated machine. The server application lets agents report in with their metrics, writes them to a dedicated database, and serves the front-end thin client web interface to users.


The collection agents monitor each process in real time, similar to native OS process monitors such as top, prstat or  Task Manager. ESM does not depend on any logfiles to derive its performance data and requires no changes to existing logging configuration. ESM does however keep track of batch execution logs, allowing any warnings or errors to be plotted against the performance data in real time.

What are the performance overheads of using ESM?

The short answer: insignificant. In real world scenarios, ESM does not negatively impact performance. 

The long answer: because ESM only monitors selected processes, it uses considerably less resource than tools like top, prstat or Windows Task Manager. CPU consumption does however increase with the number of storage devices being monitored. Some real-world measurements for reference:

– on a 12-core system running a pair of Xeon X5650 processors, monitoring 25 storage devices and 80 processes in real time, an ESM agent uses around 11% of one CPU thread (around 0.5% of overall system load)

– on a quad-core machine monitoring only 2 storage devices and 15 processes, an agent uses around 0.4% of one CPU thread (less than 0.1% of the overall system load)

ESM does not realistically impact system performance. Generally speaking SAS BI is a disk-bound platform and most environments ESM monitors have enough CPU headroom to allow it to run without impacting any other processes. Even though ESM tracks the logfiles written to disk by batch programs, these are read as they are written, meaning that they are generally accessed via the filesystem cache rather than the physical storage devices themselves.

Are there any pre-requisites to installing ESM?

ESM Server runs on the following platforms:

– 64 bit Linux (RHEL4 or newer recommended)
– 64 bit Windows Server 2008 (R2 or newer)
Solaris 10 (x64 or SPARC, Update 7 or newer)

For storage, the ESM Server application requires a third-party database to be installed. The following databases are supported:

PostgreSQL 8.4 or newer
Oracle 11g or newer
MySQL 5.1 or newer

Finally, as a pre-requisite to the server installation, a copy of Oracle’s JDK must be available (minimum version 1.6.0_31)

The list of architectures supported by the ESM collection agents can be found in the first question of this FAQ.

How much does ESM cost?

ESM is licensed on an annual basis and cost is dependant on the size of the environment being monitored (specifically on the number of CPU cores). As with our other products, if our software doesn’t satisfy your requirements and you let us know within 60 days of purchase, we will refund 100% of the license cost.

We also offer substantial discounts to academic institutions, and non-profit charitable organisations are able to license ESM free of charge.

If you are interested in purchasing ESM, get in touch with us.

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