Oracle adds support for open source R language

A new interface ties the increasingly popular R language for statistical analysis to Oracle's data mining software

Oracle has made a move in support of R, the open-source language for statistical analysis.

Now available is a user interface for Oracle's Data Mining software that is aimed at the many statisticians and data analysts who work with R but don't know SQL or Oracle's database technology well, according to an official Oracle blog post issued last week.

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R was initially created by Ross Ihaka and Robert Gentleman at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. It now has a sizable community of users, as well as a large number of add-on packages.

The new interface will join existing community-developed R packages for Oracle, including a database driver and a user interface.

Oracle's new interface is entirely external to its software, consisting of function wrappers that pass information between the R environment and the database as PL/SQL queries, according to the blog post.

Although the interface is downloadable at no charge, R users would still have to invest in Oracle products. The vendor's Data Mining database option is listed at $23,000 for a processor license, plus annual support, according to an official price list (PDF).

Recognizing its growing influence and mainstream profile, rival analytics and database vendors like IBM and SAS Institute have also moved to support R. Smaller companies, such as Revolution Analytics, have sprung up as well, offering R-related software and services.

Chris Kanaracus can be reached at Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com.

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