R gets commercial support just in time for big-data boom

For under $800 per year, Revolution Analytics can answer all your R-related questions

To help organizations get a better handle on the R statistical programming language, which is enjoying a surge in use as a big-data analysis tool, Revolution Analytics has introduced a new support package.

"A lot of companies have put so much investment into collecting data they didn't collect before. The next step after capturing big data is to analyze it," said David Smith, Revolution Analytics' chief community officer and head of the new open source solutions group, explaining why organizations may want to take a closer look at the R language.

"R is the lingua franca of data science," Smith said. The AdviseR support package cost US$795 per year, per user.

An open source programming language for conducting statistical analysis and for rendering data-based graphics, R has surged in popularity of late. Revolution Analytics estimated that the language is now used in over 70 percent of all data mining projects. R is particularly widely used in the industries of finance, pharmaceuticals, media and marketing, where it can be used to help guide data-driven business decisions.

Revolution Analytics already offers a commercial grade R distribution, called Revolution R Enterprise (RRE). RRE is tailored for specific duties, such as big data-styled analysis and high performance computing. With the AdviseR package, "We're supporting support to everyone who is using R," Smith said.

R versions 3 and 3.1 are supported in this package. The R base packages are supported as well as many of the most widely used third-party add-on packages.

Revolution Analytics designed the service for organizations that might have used R internally until now, but are seeking to incorporate the language into full-scale production usage.

The package offers live technical support for R, available from Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm in the subscriber's local time zone. The service is available globally -- Revolution Analytics has engineers in the U.S., the U.K. and Singapore.

The telephone support line can help with technical issues such as installing and running R, working with data sources, troubleshooting performance issues, identifying errors and clarifying how features and functions work.

Smith predicted that the service would get a lot of inquiries on around issues that could stem from installing R. "Like a lot of open source software, you will be jumping into the deep end when you start with R," Smith said. Figuring out how to ingest internal data sets may be another area in which the company could provide some assistance.

While R is not a difficult language to learn, "it's not a graphical user interface. You are actually working with code when you work with R," Smith said.

The service can also help users connect their copies R to other, more graphically oriented business analysis tools, such as Tableau, Alteryx Analytics, RStudio and Qlikview.

The AdviseR package also offers unlimited access to both a user forum and an online knowledge base maintained by Revolution Analytics. The company will also offer monthly Web seminars from R experts.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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