SASLab project finished successfully

With the completion of the SAS Lab project in January 2015, ZHAW Datalab now owns a uniquely easy-to-use service to provide Data Science students with access to educational servers running SAS software.

With the completion of the SAS Lab project in January 2015, ZHAW Datalab now owns a uniquely easy-to-use service to provide Data Science students with access to educational servers running SAS software.

Trainers know the problem: Besides providing exciting-yet-feasible tasks for hands-on lab sessions in analytics, they have to care for the lab infrastructure. Each semester, respective hardware- and software installations of sophisticated tools like SAS Data Integration Studio have to be checked, updated and made accessible to a new bunch of students. This process used to be a huge time waster as well as a major source of error.

Within SAS Lab, we created a cloneable OpenStack virtual machine (VM) image with SAS 9.4 software on Windows 7 (read here how we brought Windows to OpenStack) based on a "single user - single machine" paradigm. We then wrapped the cloning of VMs for each student as well as the access to the VMs with the "iisiBox" web service (currently only reachable within the ZHAW intranet). It makes setting up a new course (for trainers) or accessing the personal lab environment (for students) virtually a no-brainer.

We estimate that iisiBox and the results of the SAS Lab project will save ca. 1 week of administrative work per course and year!

iisiBox is currently in prototype use within ZHAW School of Engineering. Feel free to contact us if you want to use it in your organization, too.