Amazon Web Service now offers R on demand

AWS offers a hosted version of Revolution Analytics R distribution for $1.25 an hour

Amazon Web Services now offers a hosted version of the R programming language, providing an easy way for individuals and organizations to start and test their big-data-styled analysis projects.

The cloud service is offering a copy of Revolution R Enterprise 7 on the AWS Marketplace, an online store for different packages that can be run on AWS.

Offered by Revolution Analytics, Revolution R Enterprise is a commercial package of R, an open-source functional programming language designed for statistical computing and graphics. R is being increasingly used for data analysis. Revolution R offers a version of R that can run in parallel, across multiple processors.

Users of the R service will pay US$1.25 per core per hour. A free 14-day trial is available.

"We have the higher performance and higher scalability for dealing with large data sets," said Greg Todd, Revolution Analytics chief technology officer noting the generic open-source R engine runs as a single process.

The AWS Revolution R service, which runs as a virtual machine image, can scale from 2 to 32 vCPUs (virtual CPUs), running on either Microsoft Windows or Linux. Data being analyzed must reside in Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) and Amazon Relational Data Service (RDS). The service can parse datasets up to a terabyte in size.

Beyond a terabyte of data, Todd notes that it would be more cost effective to purchase the on-premises version of Revolution R Enterprise, or run the software in a private cloud environment.

The online service is best suited for individual data scientists working on a problem, or for an organization that wants to develop an R-based application, or shift overflow R workloads to the cloud, Todd said. The service can also serve as an educational aid, to help people learn how to program in R.

For users of the Windows version, Revolution R Enterprise provides an integrated development environment, called the Revolution R Enterprise DevelopR. Linux users can access Revolution R Enterprise through the RStudio Server Pro -- offered by RStudio -- or through a browser.

Using the Revolution R Enterprise package provides a number of advantages, Todd said. It provides a standard platform that allows jobs to be run without modification no matter if the underlying platform is a enterprise data warehouse, a grid, a cluster, a single server or a workstation. It can also operate in parallel environments. Revolution Analytics has modified approximately 50 of the most popular R packages for carrying out specific tasks -- from the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN) -- so they can run in parallel environments.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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