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R Scripts and Azure Function: A Crazy Duo

By: Netreo
July 31, 2017

The advancement in technology pitched in the concept of serverless computing. Prior to the latest Microsoft release, it was merely a concept. Now, you can get your hands on by learning R language which the Microsoft Azure has just termed to be the key to access the potential of serverless architecture. It’s a well-known fact that Azure Functions possess the ability to support a variety of languages like C#, JS, batch, Python, PowerShell, F# and etc, R was not one of them till now. Though it is not being supported natively, this blog aims to describe the way you can run R scripts in Microsoft Azure via R Site Extension.

microsoft azure

Azure Functions are famous for a variety of triggers which they offer. These triggers have the potential to be used in several scenarios like:

  • Timer Trigger, which executes a function which is on the schedule.
  • Http Trigger, which provides the ability to execute a function right after an Http call.
  • Others are Azure Queue Storage trigger, Service Bus trigger, Blob Storage and the function of all these are to trigger the event soon after a new object or a message is received.

Why Use R?

Let’s reverse engineer for a while. Suppose you replace all your functions coded in R, with Cron. With the help of Azure Function, a timer trigger can be set which will trigger the script written in R language and it will keep triggering in a repetitive manner. In short, you will have access to full-fledged managed solutions. Moreover, you can enjoy the privilege of enabling the notifications such as if there occurs an error or you have received a message or if you want to check the logs, R will generate all these scripts for you in no time. Not only is it easy, but also it’s pretty cost-effective.

Plan a kick-off and create a twitter chat-bot which will post a ggplot of the temperature. And all will be done using Azure functions and R.

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