Microsoft Acquiring Revolution Analytics in Big Data Push

Microsoft's big data efforts get a lift with the company snapping up the R language specialist and open-source booster.

big data

Microsoft is acquiring Revolution Analytics, a Mountain View, Calif.-based big data analytics specialist and open-source software company, the companies announced on Jan. 23. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"Revolution Analytics is the leading commercial provider of software and services for R, the world's most widely used programming language for statistical computing and predictive analytics," said Joseph Sirosh, corporate vice president of Machine Learning at Microsoft. "We are making this acquisition to help more companies use the power of R and data science to unlock big data insights with advanced analytics." The technology will feature upcoming on-premises, hybrid cloud and Azure-based solutions from Microsoft.

Revolution Analytics is no stranger to working with tech giants to unearth valuable insights from mountains of data.

In 2012, the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo leveraged the company's software and an IBM Netezza data warehouse appliance to help advance its multiple sclerosis (MS) research.

"With Revolution R Enterprise for Netezza, the R language is embedded in each of the processing cores of the IBM Netezza 1000 appliance," David Smith, vice president of marketing and community for Revolution Analytics, told eWEEK at the time. "This not only enables massively parallel computations using the R language on the high-performance IBM hardware, it also means that data does not have to be moved to another environment for processing, [therefore] further increasing performance."

Another Open-Source Win

Now, Smith is touting the deal as a both a strategic and cultural fit for an increasingly open-source-friendly Microsoft.

"Now, Microsoft might seem like a strange bedfellow for an open-source company, but the company continues to make great strides in the open-source arena recently," wrote Smith in a separate Jan. 23 blog post. As proof, he offered more than 1,600 Microsoft-backed open-source software projects, Linux and Hadoop on the Azure cloud computing platform, and the recent open sourcing of .Net Core, "providing an alternative developer framework to Java."

The buy also helps boost the profile of Revolution Analytics' technology.

"Our combined teams will be able to help more users use advanced analytics within Microsoft data platform solutions, both on-premises and in the cloud with Microsoft Azure," said Smith. "And just as importantly, the big-company resources of Microsoft will allow us to invest even more in the R Project and the Revolution R products."

As a consequence of the acquisition, Microsoft "will empower enterprises, R developers and data scientists to more easily and cost effectively build applications and analytics solutions at scale," stated Sirosh. "Additionally, we are excited to help foster the open source evolution of R and, particularly, the community of people that drives that evolution. We will continue to support and evolve both open source and commercial distributions of Revolution R across multiple operating systems."

Of late, Microsoft has been working feverishly to bolster its cloud big data services portfolio.

In 2013, it officially launched HDInsight, the company's cloud-based Hadoop distribution. Last November, Microsoft rolled out support for customized HDInsight clusters with a new a Script Action feature.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...