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Microsoft Brings Multiple R and Python Support to Azure Machine Learning

A new update for Azure Machine Learning means data scientists can now have up to date R and Python runtimes and more flexibility when developing.


has made Azure Machine Learning a much more compelling solution for data scientists today. The company issued an update for the service that brings support for multiple R and Python versions, easing workloads for developers.

Azure Machine Learning gives users a cloud-based service to create analytic solutions with an easy to use UI. The platform has won praise and is powerful, bringing together Microsoft technology and analytic tools to make predictive analytic software easier to create. However, the service has also had limitations since arriving two years ago.

The R or Python programming languages are commonly used by data scientists. Azure ML has always catered to developers have existing production models maintained through older versions of the language. However, the service has not supported the latest runtimes and package versions with new features and bug fixes.

Microsoft admits in a blog post that this limited functionality meant users were stuck using a single runtime and packages. Namely, the one used at the time the runtime was created.

Multiple Runtime Support

Now the company is expanding from a stable, backwards-compatible runtime for your R and Python models by supporting multiple runtimes of the languages:

“Now Azure ML provides support for multiple R and Python versions. You can choose a newer version when building a new experiment, or you can update existing scripts to run under a newer version. Or you can keep using an old version if your legacy model depends on it. The supported versions include:

  • CRAN R 3.1.0
  • Microsoft R Open 3.2.2
  • Python 2.7.7 with Anaconda 2.0 distribution
  • Python 2.7.11 with Anaconda 4.0 distribution
  • Python 3.5 with Anaconda 4.0 distribution.”

This certainly helps developers have more flexibility, but there are still limitations. As Microsoft points out, it is only possible to use a single R and Python module must use a single version in an experiment. Also, Create R Model and custom R modules are limited to CRAN R 3.1.0. the company adds.

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.

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