SAS On-Demand on Virtual Box

There was supposed to be a new SAS On-Demand in June so I put off downloading the latest version to prepare for my fall courses. When I went to download SAS Enterprise Guide, however, I saw that the upgrade had been postponed until July. Not sure what that will entail but since I had recently installed Virtual Box on my Mac and I was curious to see if the latest version would install on a virtual machine, I went ahead and downloaded it anyway.

This installed SAS Enterprise Guide 6.1 . It took about 20 minutes to download. Not sure if that was just due to slow download speed on my part – we have seven people staying here at the moment, and between desktops, laptops, iPhones and iPads it easily adds up to over 20 devices that could be hitting the wireless, so, who knows.

Once I had downloaded the SAS Enterprise Guide download manager and tried to run it, I received an error message that I needed Microsoft .Net framework 4.1 .

So …. I downloaded and installed that, which took negligible time, re-started my computer, re-started the SAS install and it finished in a few minutes.

Opening up and connecting took very little time, however, once I started trying to do anything it took forever. The first thing I wanted to do was simply open a dataset from the SASHELP library that comes with every version of SAS Enterprise Guide I’ve ever seen. This took a while, as did a simple thing like doing a cross-tabulation and a few statistics like a chi-square. I wondered if I was just impatient, so when I clicked on the input data tab to go back and look at the raw data, I timed it. It  took over 15 seconds just to open the data set.

At this point, I was out of patience so I just closed it and decided to try again later.

The good news:

You can install SAS On-Demand with SAS Enterprise Guide on Virtual Box and it will run analyses.

The installation process is relatively simple and painless.

It’s still free.

I like the new look with a log window that breaks down notes, errors and warnings. I think it will make it easier for people just learning SAS.


The bad news:

It’s slow. That may be a Virtual Box thing, a temporary Internet speed problem or that the computer gods hate me. I suspect it isn’t completely unintentional on the part of SAS Inc. since if it was equally good as the paid version you wouldn’t have much incentive to pay. There is also the fact that the average infant has more patience than me.

Person with more patience than me

According to their documentation, you can only have one installation of SAS Enterprise Guide 6.1 on a machine. So, say you are a professor and you have SAS installed because your department pays for it. However, you want your students to use it and you don’t want to require them to pay for it because student is a low-paying occupation. If you want to test out what your students will experience using SAS On-Demand you need to install it on a different computer. That’s not a huge problem since there are very few differences between the on-demand version and desktop versions, but personally I like to be able to test things out, make movies of what the students need to do for them to watch before/after class and to just test out EXACTLY what students will be doing.

It doesn’t run on Windows XP, Windows Vista or any 32-bit operating system. Until recently, almost all of the Windows machines we had were 32-bit because we mostly use them for testing and we try to test at the lowest common denominator.Now, to run it on boot camp I’m going to have to erase everything and re-install the operating system. Again, since I just use that for testing also, it’s only a minor inconvenience and an upgrade was long overdue anyway.


I would have liked if it ran well on Virtual Box because it would have saved me re-starting in Windows whenever I wanted  to use SAS and then re-starting in Mac OS when I was done.

guinea pig in wood shavings

I would have liked a self-cleaning guinea pig cage, too, and I don’t have that, either.


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  1. Hi Ann,

    I am also outrun by some children it terms of patience. I installed mine, needed to link it to the university database, and got an error box saying I have little memory for running it and the database was nowhere to be found. I figured it was just my lack of IT expertise and came online to search for reasons for using SAS; found you. I thought SAS was just an SPSS with more functions, but can’t pass the installation bit. But after my experience ad your text, well, my suggestion is using SPSS (or statistica; does that still exist???). You will need less patient and it is beautiful for the purposes you have. Still know nothing about other potentials of SAS… Very funny text. Thanks for sharing.

  2. PS I now have no other software beyond SAS (I am sort of in the low pay occupation business), used to use SPSS and statistica before, but excel always helps me for very simple purposes (e.g., descriptive stats). Hope this helps. Good luck with your endeavor.

  3. There is something called SAS studio now and you can run it on the web – no installation necessary. It’s free for students and researchers. You might want to check that out.

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