Microsoft Rebrands, Updates R Portfolio - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Data Management // Big Data Analytics
News
1/13/2016
09:05 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Microsoft Rebrands, Updates R Portfolio

Microsoft acquired Revolution Analytics and its distribution of the open source R statistical modeling language almost a year ago. Today the company showed that R continues to be a cornerstone of its advanced analytics strategy. Here are details on the updates.

10 Best Tech Companies To Work For In 2016
10 Best Tech Companies To Work For In 2016
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

When a giant company acquires a smaller one, there's always a question about whether the new owner is fully committed to the vision that drove the smaller company's early success. Microsoft sought to answer that question Tuesday with a series of announcements around last year's acquisition of Revolution Analytics.

Revolution Analytics was a software and services provider distributing the widely-used open source statistical modeling language R. Microsoft's acquisition of the company announced in January 2015 was seen as both a an effort to fill a hole in its advanced analytics toolbox and also a nod to the growing importance of open source projects.

Microsoft announced in Jan. 12 blog post that a number of updates that more deeply align R with its existing portfolio of products.

[Looking for more on Microsoft's big data and analytics strategy? Read Microsoft Azure Data Lake Offers Enhanced Analytics Tools.]

The announcements include some rebranding, some additional support capabilities added to the newly-rebranded versions of products, and the addition of Microsoft R Server Developer Edition to the Microsoft Data Science Virtual Machine.

Plus, Microsoft is offering certain versions of the newly branded tools for free to students and individuals. 

Microsoft's Vision for R

"When we made the acquisition of Revolution Analytics last year the vision behind that was to make R an enterprise-ready open source language for statistical modeling and programming," Herain Oberoi told InformationWeek in an interview. Oberoi is Microsoft's director of product management for advanced analytics.

"We saw it was already established as the de facto standard language by the statistical modeling community," he said. "At the time of the acquisition we articulated we wanted to propagate R across the Microsoft product portfolio also invest in supporting the R community itself and help to grow in that community."

(Image: Microsoft Visitor Center via Microsoft)

(Image: Microsoft Visitor Center via Microsoft)

Microsoft's announcements this week go towards fulfilling those goals.

First, Microsoft is rebranding Revolution R Enterprise as Microsoft R Server and making it available for Hadoop, Linux, and Teradata platforms. These new versions add Microsoft's enterprise security, scalability, and global features to the server software.

Second, Microsoft is offering Microsoft R Server Developer Edition, which provides all the features of the commercial version. It's available as a free download (sign-in required).

"We have focused on and will continue to focus on the developers," Oberoi said.

Pre-Configured Microsoft Data Science Virtual Machine in Azure

In addition, Microsoft will include a version of Microsoft R Server Developer Edition pre-installed and pre-configured with the Microsoft Data Science Virtual Machine. The Microsoft Data Science Virtual Machine was announced in November. This VM is a Windows Server 2012-based custom virtual machine image on the company's Azure cloud marketplace that incorporates several tools for analytics. It includes an Anaconda Python distribution with Jupyter notebook server, Visual Studio Community Edition, Power BI Desktop, SQL Server Express edition, and Azure SDK.

Microsoft also announced that Revolution R Open has been rebranded as Microsoft R Open, that it's available as a free download, and that Microsoft R Server is available to all students for academic use within the Microsoft DreamSpark program.

The announcements underscore the importance of R to Microsoft's vision for supporting the big data efforts of developers, enterprises, and other practitioners. They build on a few other announcements Microsoft has made over the last year. For instance Microsoft joined as an inaugural member of the R Consortium, an organization launched by the Linux Foundation last June.

They also build on some key differentiators for Revolution Analytics' distribution of R. Open source R requires data to exist in-memory. The Revolution Analytics team, however, created scalable R libraries that allowed execution, not just against in-memory data, but also against disk, which enabled R to run with much greater performance. Microsoft is now enabling R processing against data that would live in a Hadoop cluster, Oberoi told InformationWeek.

Microsoft R Product Roadmap

Microsoft also provided a peek at its roadmap for R in its blog post Tuesday.

In addition to plans to integrate Revolution's R distribution into Microsoft's Hadoop distribution on Azure, on HDInsight, and into Azure Machine Learning, the company also plans to deliver Microsoft R Server as an Azure Marketplace Virtual Machine. The company is looking to enable faster development of R models through R Tools for Visual Studio that will have capabilities similar to Python Tools for Visual Studio, Microsoft said. Microsoft has included R Services as part of its Community Technology Preview version of SQL Server 2016, a component of its Azure Data Lake plan.

"These announcements reinforce our commitment to making it easy for enterprises, R developers, and data scientists to cost-effectively build applications and advanced analytics solutions at scale, both on-premises and in the cloud," wrote Joseph Sirosh, Microsoft Data Group corporate vice president, in the blog post.

**Elite 100 2016: DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JAN. 15, 2016** There's still time to be a part of the prestigious InformationWeek Elite 100! Submit your company's application by Jan. 15, 2016. You'll find instructions and a submission form here: InformationWeek's Elite 100 2016.

Jessica Davis has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology at titles including IDG's Infoworld, Ziff Davis Enterprise's eWeek and Channel Insider, and Penton Technology's MSPmentor. She's passionate about the practical use of business intelligence, ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll