Thinking About a Data Analytics Revolution

Michael Vizard

One of the things that has limited statistical analysis specifically and business intelligence in general has been the cost of the software. In the last couple of years, however, academic institutions have been overcoming that particular limitation by embracing an open source language for analytic applications simply known as R.


The tradeoff involving the R programming language, however, has been the performance of those applications. While R is perfectly acceptable in most academic scenarios, corporate organizations have found R to be wanting in terms of enterprise-class applications.


A startup company called Revolution Analytics wants to change all that with the release today of an add-on package for its Revolution R Enterprise software that implements various high-speed statistical algorithms using a new file format, called the XDF file format, based on the R language. As an extension to the company's implementation of R for the enterprise, the add-on allows users to work with "Big Data" sources using the R language without any compromises to performance, said Dave Smith, vice president of community and marketing at Revolution Analytics.


Given the growing interest in Big Data file formats such as Hadoop, and the need to lower the costs associated with traditional data analytics software and databases, the potential impact that R could have in the enterprise is phenomenal. R has already gained a mass following in academic environments, which is now starting to bleed over to corporate environments. In fact, both SAS Institute and IBM have previously supported the R language, albeit not with the same levels of performance as their existing proprietary software.


Revolution Analytics has been delivering an implementation of the R programming environment for corporate customers for the past year.

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