Microsoft quietly launches R Server for Big Data analytics


Microsoft has launched a new advanced analytics platform based on the R programming language, less than a year after it acquired Revolution Analytics, the company that was previously the leading commercial provider of software and services for R.

The new platform is called Microsoft R Server, and is compatible with Windows, Linux, Hadoop and Teradata software. It can be obtained via Microsoft’s DreamSpark educational program or alternatively, from the Microsoft Developer Network.

The news was brought to our attention by ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, who revealed there are no less than five products in the new Microsoft R Server family:

  • Microsoft R Server for Hadoop on Red Hat
  • Microsoft R Server for Teradata DB
  • Microsoft R Server for Red Hat Linux
  • Microsoft R Server for SuSE Linux
  • RRE for Windows

Microsoft acquired Revolution Analytics, which developed Revolution R Enterprise (RRE), back in April 2015, and it seems it’s decided to retain the old name for the Windows version of the revamped platform. The company has declined to comment any further on R Server, but did provide the following description on its blog:

“Microsoft R Server is a fast and cost-effective enterprise-class big data advanced analytics platform supporting a variety of big data statistics, predictive modeling and machine learning capabilities. Microsoft R Server includes Open Source R and is fully compatible with R scripts, functions and CRAN packages, and offers a variety of analytics capabilities including exploratory data analysis, model building and model deployment.”

Microsoft has also posted a blog about “Microsoft R Open” which it says is an “enhanced distribution of R from Microsoft” and will be a prerequisite for both Microsoft R Server 2016 and RRE 2016.

The development follows Microsoft’s announcement last year that it intends to build support for R directly into SQL Server 2016. In addition, Microsoft also said it would integrate Revolution R’s distribution with its Azure HDInsight and Azure Machine Learning services. It also said it would continue to support R’s open-source development, along with commercial distributions for platforms including Hadoop, Linux and Teradata.

ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley believes that the new lineup of R Server products are just revamped versions of these commercial distributions of Revolution R, though Microsoft is yet to confirm this.

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