Microsoft quietly unwraps a big-data analytics platform based on R

Though commonly used for statistics, R 'looks like Cobol to sophisticated developers,' one analyst says

Microsoft this week took the next step following its acquisition of Revolution Analytics last year by unwrapping an advanced-analytics platform of its own based on the open source R programming language.

Dubbed Microsoft R Server, the platform works with Windows, Linux, Hadoop and Teradata software. It's now available on the Microsoft Developer Network and via Microsoft's DreamSpark educational program.

Last April Microsoft completed its acquisition of Revolution Analytics, provider of the Revolution R Enterprise (RRE) product on which R Server is now apparently based. Though Microsoft has renamed the software R Server in the Linux, Hadoop and Teradata versions, it's retaining the RRE name in the Windows version of the software.

Microsoft R Open, which the company calls an "enhanced distribution of R from Microsoft," is said to be a prerequisite for both R Server 2016 and RRE for Windows 2016.

Microsoft declined to comment with further detail.

In September, RRE made its debut on Azure; the following month, R support popped up in a preview of Microsoft SQL Server 2016.

The R Server platform supports a variety of big-data statistics, predictive modeling and machine-learning capabilities, all compatible with the R programming language, wrote Lee Stott, a technical evangelist for Microsoft UK, in a blog post on Wednesday.

Users can run R scripts in a high-performance, parallel architecture to explore, model and predict at scale, Stott added.

The R language has become increasingly popular for use in statistics and analytics. By acquiring Revolution, Microsoft sought to shore up its own advanced-analytics capabilities, said Nik Rouda, a senior analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group.

It's "not trivial" to perform advanced analytics in SQL, for example, so Microsoft "wanted R to be their entry point," Rouda said.

Now, its release of R Server is the next logical step in executing on that plan.

Microsoft's Machine Learning technology can use R "behind the scenes" for data preparation, statistics and machine learning, noted Mike Gualtieri, a principal analyst with Forrester Research.

"It's a good move for Microsoft, but I certainly hope they don't put all their data-science 'eggs' in the R basket," Gualtieri added.

"I know R is popular among data scientists, but I think most computer scientists would think that it is not a very elegant, efficient or performant programming language for any purpose," he said. "R looks like Cobol to sophisticated developers."

Instead, Python and other more modern programming languages are increasingly coming into favor, he said.

News of Microsoft's new platform was first uncovered Tuesday by ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsoft

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Noyes

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?