All Aboard! The R Service Bus 6.2

As R has continued its growth in populary, it’s made some exotic friends. Friends who speak other (programming) languages. Friends who live on servers and virtual machines. Friends who sometimes need to set aside their differences and work towards a common goal.

In the absence of a protocol droid or Babel fish, we have the enterprise service bus. For the uninitiated, an enterprise service bus is a software architecture model designed to interface between various software applications.

How does this relate to R? Let’s consider an abstract example. Imagine that you work with machines that generate data. One could establish a workflow that monitors a server folder for files, applies an R-written quality control algorithm, produces visualizations in ggplot2, then generates a Sweave document to be emailed or stored in a web application for future access.

To facilitate such integrations of R into business processes and workflows, Open Analytics developed the R Service Bus (RSB), a flexible “swiss army knife” tool that allows you to connect R with a vast array of technologies, such as:

  • Java
  • .Net
  • PHP
  • (and more)

Further, the RSB designed a framework that the following standard protocols to interact with R.

  • RESTful web services
  • SOAP
  • e-mail protocols
  • folder monitoring

All the tough integration work is tackled by the R Service Bus, eliminating the need for an R programmer to learn new techniques or ways of working. Simply attach your scripts and packages, and the R Service Bus does the rest.

R service diagram

The R Service Bus was first deployed in the workflow of a Fortune 100 company in 2010. Five years later we find ourselves at version 6.2, with a rock-solid release, and, as always, new features.

Interested in using the RSB?

The R Service Bus comes in two flavors:

  • a tomcat-distribution which includes the application server itself or
  • a war file which just contains the application and can be deployed in your own Java container.

Alternatively, it can be apt-get install’ed from our Ubuntu/Debian repository and instructions can be found here.

Now what is new in version 6.2?

  • inclusion of file browser functionality to allow RSB admins to browse the server on which it has been deployed
  • switch from the RServi web application for R pool management to the new (OA made) RPooli application
  • maintenance upgrade of the authentication and authorization framework for secure deployments (with thoroughly tested and advanced Active Directory integration)

More questions? The most recent technical documentation is available online and we’d be happy to consult with you on any R integration issue you may be facing. Thanks for reading our blog!