Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of Local Tech Wire and business editor of WRAL.com.

CARY, N.C. – SAS is adding 100 jobs and unveiling a new flavor of products this morning at its world headquarters in Cary with an emphasis on “cloud computing.”

Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Jim Goodnight plans to announce 100 additional jobs to man its new Analytics Lab for State and Local Government.

N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue is expected to be on hand for the announcement.

SAS is opening a 38,000 square foot computing center its focused on “cloud” development and services.

Goodnight’s announcement reflects SAS’ continual embrace of new technology and opportunities. The ‘cloud” is the hottest buzz word in the high-tech world, matching the frenzy among “apps” for consumers.

By utilizing cloud technology, information technology users can scale network bandwidth, PC and server capacity on demand rather than invest in new equipment, software and personnel.

The use of virtualization, which enables multiple operating systems to run on the same piece of hardware simultaneously, also improves IT functionality and can produce savings.

As the world has rushed to embrace the cloud, so has SAS. The company’s 5 percent growth this year, driven in large part by new deals despite the tough economy, is bottom-line proof that SAS capitalizes over and over on its R&D investments and vision to see new opportunities. (Read more from SAS Chief Marketing Officer Jim Davis here and Goodnight here.)

The company has evolved to offer software-as-a-service rather than shrink-wrapped products. Now comes the cloud.

And the emphasis on the government sector is a smart play, too.

Giving the continuing budget woes and global economic woes, governments everywhere are going to look to maximize manpower and budgets. SAS’ government sector will now try to pitch local bureaucrats on the advantages of running such products as fraud prevention through a cloud that can perhaps save them money in multiple ways. ((Read about a project in Italy here.)

The importance of the addition of 100 jobs at SAS is important as well. Any new jobs are good in these days of near-10 percent unemployment.

But the bigger victory for SAS is its embrace of the cloud and its targeting of the government sector for more growth.

Goodnight and company have come a long way from the sharing of a fax machine in launching the business 30 years ago,

Funny, that shared fax has now led to a shared cloud environment.

What’s next?

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