by Richard Kittler, Microsoft R Server PM, Microsoft Advanced Analytics
In January, Microsoft announced the re-branding of Revolution R Enterprise as Microsoft R Server, and the release of Microsoft R Server 2016 (aka 8.0). Highlights of what’s new in version 8.0 include an updated R engine (R 3.2.2), new fuzzy matching algorithms, the ability to write to databases via ODBC, and a streamlined install experience.
This latest release is now available as virtual machines (VMs) in Azure’s world-wide cloud infrastructure via the Azure Marketplace. The VMs can be found in the Marketplace here, or by searching for “R Server” in the Marketplace or Azure Portal. Note that although the new OpenLogic CentOS Linux VM is branded as “Microsoft R Server”, the Windows VM will remain tagged as “RRE for Windows” until later in the year.
Use of VMs can be a practical means of trying out the software, gaining flex capacity, and reducing the burden of system administration. Through the R Server VMs, users can run computations on data sets up to 1 terabyte on cloud-based Windows and Linux multi-CPU instances from 4 to 32 vCPUs (virtual CPUs), accessing data copied from an Azure data store, including blob storage, Azure Data Lake Store, or SQL Server, or accessed directly through an ODBC connection. Utility pricing for both the Windows and Linux versions starts at $1.50 per 4-cores per hour with no long-term commitments.
The Windows VM can be accessed with Windows Remote Desktop and includes Microsoft’s Visual Studio-based IDE for R developers. Access to the Linux VM is via SSH with R access through the RGui. Alternatively, customers have the option of bringing their own license for a favorite IDE such as RStudio, RStudio Server, or StatET. Both the Windows and Linux offerings include DeployR Open web services.
A 30-day free trial is available with no software charge, though standard Azure cloud usage charges apply. However, if you are new to Azure then you also have the benefit of a 30-day Azure free trial which will cover the cost of the underlying VM during your R Server free trial! Support is available through the monitored Azure Machine Learning Forum or through a paid Azure Support plan. Lastly, if you are new to R Server (fka RRE) then you may wish to take a look at this free intro to RRE course on DataCamp.
- These new VMs supersede those for RRE 7.4.1 under the Revolution brand. Revolution’s Marketplace offers have been retired.
- Although for development only, the latest release of Microsoft R Server is also available as part the Azure Data Science VM on Windows.
- To learn more about R Server, see the Microsoft R Server page on MSDN.
Azure Marketplace: Microsoft R Server