Azure SQL Database Machine Learning Services with R (preview)

Machine Learning Services is a feature of Azure SQL Database, used for executing in-database R scripts. The feature includes Microsoft R packages for high-performance predictive analytics and machine learning. The relational data can be used in R scripts through stored procedures, T-SQL script containing R statements, or R code containing T-SQL.


Azure SQL Database Machine Learning Services (with R) is currently in public preview. This preview version is provided without a service level agreement, and it's not recommended for production workloads. Certain features might not be supported or might have constrained capabilities. For more information, see Supplemental Terms of Use for Microsoft Azure Previews.

The public preview is available for single databases and elastic pools using the vCore-based purchasing model in the general purpose and business critical service tiers. In this initial public preview, the hyperscale service tier and the managed instance deployment option are not supported. Currently, R is the only supported language. There is no support for Python at this time.

The preview is currently available in the following regions: West Europe, North Europe, West US 2, East US, South Central US, North Central US, Canada Central, Southeast Asia, India South, and Australia Southeast.

Sign up for the preview below.

What you can do with R

Use the power of R language to deliver advanced analytics and machine learning in-database. This ability brings calculations and processing to where the data resides, eliminating the need to pull data across the network. Also, you can leverage the power of enterprise R packages to deliver advanced analytics at scale.

Machine Learning Services includes a base distribution of R, overlaid with enterprise R packages from Microsoft. Microsoft's R functions and algorithms are engineered for both scale and utility, delivering predictive analytics, statistical modeling, data visualizations, and leading-edge machine learning algorithms.

R packages

Most common open-source R packages are pre-installed in Machine Learning Services. The following R packages from Microsoft are also included:

R package Description
Microsoft R Open Microsoft R Open is the enhanced distribution of R from Microsoft. It is a complete open-source platform for statistical analysis and data science. It is based on and 100% compatible with R, and includes additional capabilities for improved performance and reproducibility.
RevoScaleR RevoScaleR is the primary library for scalable R. Functions in this library are among the most widely used. Data transformations and manipulation, statistical summarization, visualization, and many forms of modeling and analyses are found in these libraries. Additionally, functions in these libraries automatically distribute workloads across available cores for parallel processing, with the ability to work on chunks of data that are coordinated and managed by the calculation engine.
MicrosoftML (R) MicrosoftML adds machine learning algorithms to create custom models for text analysis, image analysis, and sentiment analysis.

In addition to the pre-installed packages, you can install additional packages.

Sign up for the preview

To sign up for the public preview, follow these steps:

  1. If you don't have an Azure subscription, create an account before you begin.

  2. Send an email to Microsoft at to sign up for the public preview. The public preview of Machine Learning Services (with R) in SQL Database is not enabled by default.

Once you're enrolled in the program, Microsoft will onboard you to the public preview and enable R for your existing or new database.

Machine Learning Services with R is not recommended for production workload during the public preview.

Next steps