Oracle broadens support for open-source R analytics

New OS options and integrations with math libraries are on tap

Oracle is expanding its support for R, the open-source language for statistical analysis, the company announced Friday.

New features include R ports for the Solaris and AIX OSes, adding to existing support for Linux and Windows environments, Oracle said. Oracle has also extended R support to its TimesTen in-memory database.

In addition, Oracle will deliver an open-source distribution of R that can work with the Sunperf, MKL and ACML math libraries, which are provided by Oracle, Intel and AMD, respectively. This will allow R "to run extremely fast on all compatible hardware," Oracle said in a statement.

Oracle had already offered Oracle R Enterprise, which allows R users to apply their existing scripts and statistical models to data contained in Oracle's flagship database, according to Oracle. R Enterprise is available as part of Oracle's Advanced Analytics product, which also includes its data-mining software.

R has its roots in academia but has been subject to increased attention from enterprise tech vendors of late, even SAS Institute, which is known for its own widely used, proprietary statistical-analysis software.

In terms of R's effectiveness for enterprise IT shops, it all comes down to the level of integration with other elements of the BI (business intelligence) stack, Forrester Research analyst Boris Evelson said in a blog post Friday.

"Since R is a scripting language, does a BI vendor provide point-and-click GUI to generate R code," he wrote. "Can R routines leverage and take advantage of all of the BI metadata (data structures, definitions, etc) without having to redefine it again just for R? How easily can the output from R calculations (scores, rankings) be embedded in the BI reports and dashboards?"

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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