Microsoft R Server available free to students with DreamSpark

January 12, 2016

(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

by Joseph Rickert

Over the last 6 years, thousands of students and faculty have downloaded Revolution R Enterprise (RRE) from Revolution Analytics for free, making it possible for them to do statistical modeling on large data sets with the same R language used by savvy statisticians and data scientists in business and industry. In addition to this individual scholar program (ISP), Revolution Analytics launched two initiatives in 2014 to provide academic institutions and non-profit public service companies with site licenses for the nominal annual licensing fee of $999. Both the Academic Institution Program (AIP) and Public Service program (PSP) enabled qualifying institutions to install RRE on servers and Hadoop clusters without restrictions. Now, seven months after Microsoft’s acquisition of Revolution Analytics, all three of these programs are being folded into Microsoft programs that will make it even easier for individual students and institutions to get started with the newest release of RRE, now known as Microsoft R Server.

On December 31, 2015 all three programs — ISP, AIP and PSP — came to an end. ISP participants may continue to use the software they have under the terms of the original license. Institutions currently participating in Revolution Analytics’ AIP and PSP programs will be contacted by Microsoft representatives to transition them to Microsoft programs.

Microsoft R Server is available for academic use under Microsoft’s DreamSpark programs. Students can download Microsoft R Server 2016 for free via DreamSpark for Students. Universities and other qualifying academic institutions will be able to obtain licenses for Microsoft R Server 2016 as part of Microsoft’s DreamSpark for academic institutions program. Academic institutions will have two choices for participating in the DreamSpark program. DreamSpark Standard is campus-wide and includes a subset of tools including Visual Studio Professional, Windows Server, and SQL Server and is available for an annual licensing fee of $99 (or $199 for 3 years). DreamSpark Premium is only for a single STEM-related department or school and contains premium titles including Windows 10 client, Visual Studio Enterprise, Visio, and Project. The annual licensing fee is $499.

Microsoft R Server 2016 runs on Windows and Linux operating systems, in Teradata databases and on a number of Hadoop platforms. The product names to look for on the DreamSpark web pages are:

  1. Microsoft R Server for Hadoop on Red Hat
  2. Microsoft R Server for Red Hat Linux
  3. Microsoft R Server for SUSE Linux
  4. Microsoft R Server for Teradata DB
  5. Revolution R Enterprise for Windows

Providing even more students with access to Microsoft R Server is pretty big deal. Microsoft R Server extends the reach of R into big data, distributed processing environments by providing a framework for manipulating large data sets on chunk at at time so that all of the data being analyzed does not have to simultaneously fit into memory. Moreover, the RevoScaleR package which ships only with Microsoft R Server provides a number of inherently parallel, distributed algorithms for statistical analysis and machine learning. These include a high performance implementations of Generalized Linear Models, K-means clustering, the Naïve Bayes classifier, decision trees, random forests and much more.


These algorithms automatically distribute computations across all of the available resources. Users need only specify a compute context that points to that data. When SQL Server 2016 becomes available midyear, students will be able to fit predictive models directly in a SQL database.

Microsoft DreamSpark: Download Microsoft R Server

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