SAS is a database. As opposed to Relational Databases, SAS is used primarily for batch processing of massive amounts of data. It can be found here. SAS is the largest privately held software company in the world.
SAS is made up of a number of modules with specialized procedures for analysis relating to various disciplines. The foundation of the software is the Base/SAS product. If one is interested in producing Graphical output, it would be necessary to purchase a license to SAS/Graph. Statistical tools are in SAS/Stat and Economic/time-series procedures are in SAS/ETS. There are other modules for Executive Information Systems (SAS/EIS), Operational Research (SAS/OR) and many more that could be mentioned.
SAS is fundamentally the premier data analysis software on the market today. It utilizes a specialized data set table proprietary to SAS, however the SAS System has modules to be able to read and write to many other data base products like Oracle and ODBC compliant products like MS-SQL Server or PROGRESS.
SAS is generally utilized by government organizations and large businesses. It is also found being used by many colleges and universities. The greatest use for research is hard to identify, but there has been a great focus of users in the pharmacological research field. It is also used for analysis and reporting of data in social science fields and engineering companies like electric utilities.
SAS licenses tend to be expensive and complicated, based on the number of users and the number of processors in the host computer. It runs on server environments and is licencable for workstation users on PCs or other common machines. It does not run on Macintosh machines, but a special product called JMP, and marketed by SAS Institute is available. It analyses market data or survey data and notable for it's ability to visualize 'data cloud' arrays.
Dr. Jim Goodnight and a few other individuals were the founders of the product and Mr. Goodnight is CEO of SAS Institute. The SAS Institute is located in Cary, North Carolina.
Television (60 minutes or 20/20 ) featured SAS in one of their programs.