SAS and H-P Close the Curtains

Michael Kinsley wrote:

It used to be, there was truth and there was falsehood. Now there is spin and there are gaffes. Spin is often thought to be synonymous with falsehood or lying, but more accurately it is indifference to the truth. A politician engaged in spin is saying what he or she wishes were true, and sometimes, by coincidence, it is. Meanwhile, a gaffe, it has been said, is when a politician tells the truth — or more precisely, when he or she accidentally reveals something truthful about what is going on in his or her head. A gaffe is what happens when the spin breaks down.

Hence, a Kinsley gaffe means “accidentally telling the truth”.

Back in April, an H-P engineer committed a Kinsley gaffe by publishing a white paper that describes in some detail issues encountered by SAS and H-P on implementations of SAS Visual Analytics.  I blogged about this at the time here.

Some choice bits:

— “Needed pre-planning does not occur and the result is weeks to months of frantic activity to address those issues which should and could have been addressed earlier and in a more orderly fashion.”

— “(Data and management networks) are typically overlooked and are the cause of most issues and delays encountered during implementation.”

— “Since a switch with 100s to 1000s of ports is required to achieve the consolidation of network traffic, list price can start at about US$500,000 and be into the millions of dollars.”

And my personal favorite:

— “The potential exists, with even as few as 4 servers, for a Data Storm to occur.”

If you’re wondering what a Data Storm is, let’s just say that its not a good thing.

Since I published the blog post, SAS has withdrawn the paper from its website.   This is not too surprising, since every other paper on “SAS and Big Data” is also hidden from view.   Fortunately, I downloaded a copy of the paper for my records.   H-P can claim copyright, so I can’t upload the whole thing, but I’ve attached a few screen shots below so you can see that this paper is real.

You might wonder why SAS feels compelled to keep its “Big Data” stories under wraps.  Keep in mind that we’re not talking about software design or any other intellectual property that warrants protection; in this case, the vendors don’t want you to know the truth about implementation because it conflicts with the hype.  As the paper’s author puts it, “this sounds very scary and expensive.”  “Very scary” and “expensive” don’t mix with “buy this product now.”

If you’re evaluating SAS Visual Analytics ask your SAS rep for a copy of Paper 466-2013.  And ask if they’ve done anything about those Data Storms.




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