SAS is planning to spend US$70 million on a cloud computing facility at its Cary, N.C. headquarters as it expands its on-demand offerings. SAS seems to be making a big bet on business intelligence software in the cloud, a concept that isn’t expected to get a lot of traction.
SAS is the largest independent business intelligence software company and remains privately held. It also flies under the radar a bit relative to its formerly publicly traded rivals, which have been gobbled up by the likes of IBM, SAP and Oracle.
In a statement, SAS chief Jim Goodnight detailed the company’s plans for a 38,000-square foot cloud computing facility.
- The facility will have two 10,000 square foot server farms with the first one completed in mid-2010. The second will be built when the first reaches 80 percent capacity.
- The facility will be built under Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for water and energy conservation.
But what’s really interesting is that SAS sees a hosted business intelligence market developing.
In a recent report, analysts Forrester said business intelligence will be one of the harder markets to move to an on-demand software model.The report put business intelligence in the "minimal success" category for the on-demand/cloud model.
"SaaS BI [software-as-a-service business-intelligence] is a relatively new category within SaaS, and numerous vendors have appeared on the market with solutions," the report said."There are a few offerings from established vendors like Business Objects (now part of SAP), but many of these vendors are smaller, potentially riskier."
However, the report noted that "the potential of SaaS BI is strong, particularly its potential to improve the end-user experience and access to analytics as well as its ability to enable collaborative or benchmarking-type reporting scenarios."