RStudio Connect is best suited for medium and large data science teams. If you are looking for a setup with powerful integration capabilities, look no further. But if you just want to host your Shiny apps, Connect might be overkill.
Cost ranges from $14,995 (single server, 20 named users) to $64,995 per year (unlimited servers, 500 named users), with no monthly payment option. You can top up this price with extras, e.g. RStudio Server Pro or Workbench, and Package Manager. You can combine all of these under the RStudio Team bundle.
These licensing fees do not include operating expenses related to bare metal or public cloud server costs and personnel responsible for managing the servers. Server costs can vary depending on setup, specifications, and provider, which will add to the total cost of ownership.
The recommended system requirements are 4+ CPUs, 8+ GB of RAM, 100+ GB of disk storage. For reference, the cost of a virtual machine with these specifications on DigitaOcean is between $480/year (Basic) and $960 (CPU optimized).
In general, the larger the team, the more capable server you'll need to handle the workload. In the end, server costs can easily be multiples of this minimum cost with larger teams, backups, mounted volumes, etc. Having multiple servers for development, staging, and production environments, or a high availability setup can also factor into higher licenseing and operation costs.
Skill level and support
RStudio Connect can host Shiny apps, R markdown documents, Plumber APIs, Jupyter Notebooks, Streamlit, Dash, and many more. Shiny apps can be deployed with a click of a button right from the RStudio IDE or through remote Git repository integration. For a fully integrated setup, you might have to consider RStudio Server Pro.
As a user, no DevOps skills (setting up and running infrastructure) are required, but as an admin/maintainer you will have full responsibility of configuring and managing the server(s) that RStudio Connect is running on. Besides RStudio Connect itself, you have to install the desired version of R, Python, system dependencies, packages etc.
Support is available from RStudio, its certified partners, and the community.
Scale and performance
You control everything, the active hours are unlimited, and the number of apps that you can deploy is also unlimited. I.e. it is only limited by server capabilities that you can upgrade as needed.
RStudio Connect can integrate with different 3rd party products and authentication providers for user authentication. Providers for single sign-on (SSO) include OKTA, Azure Active Directory, Google OpenID, Kerberos, and many more.
Authenticated users are assigned roles (administrator, publisher, viewer, anonymous). Roles control the default capabilities, whereas permissions to access and manage content are set by the content owner. Permissons include anonymous, viewer, collaborator, publisher. Managing permissions is also possible by user groups.
Anonymous users are not required to authenticate, only authenticated users will count towards the number of named users that the pricing is based on.
Never forget that it is your responsibility to ensure that the Shiny code does not expose anything sensitive!
You have to configure transport layer security (TLS) certificates and HTTP to HTTPS redirects for your RStudio Connect domain or subdomain. RStudio Connect comes with a set of security and auditing features.
Because you have full control over the servers you are running RStudio Connect on, you are free to host it in any data region if you are governed by data residency laws.
You have full control over the server address, you can use the domain or subdomain of you choosing.
- Operating System patching is up to you or the server maintainers.
- RStudio Connect comes with pro drivers for various database backends to help with data persistence.
- The version of R might differ from what you are using locally, leading to some discrepancies between the development and deployment environments. This can be mitigated by integrating with RStudio Server Pro and logging in remotely.
- You and your team can use any of the R and Python tools, although the full set of these tools is only available in the Standard plan.
RStudio Connect is the enterprise-level publishing solution for medium and large teams with powerful capabilities and integration possibilities. Lincese fees are enterprise level too, i.e. not cheap. Plus it is up to you and your team to configure and manage your servers. This gives you full control and presents endless possibilities.
If you are looking for a full-meal deal for your data science team, RStudio Connect might be the best solution out there. If you are only looking for a way to host your Shiny apps, you might find other options cheaper and easier to maintain.
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Information presented here refers best available information on 2021-07-14. Prices in USD. RStudio and Shiny are trademarks of RStudio, PBC.