R on RHEL 7 in AWS

Tux, the Linux penguin

R on RHEL 7 in AWS

If I have start to run some software, and it ends up being less than straightforward, I always try to make a checklist of the procedure for how to build it. 

Recently I was testing the performance of some R code. 

I launched an AWS server Red Hat Linux 7 (RHEL 7) and found R was not installed. 

Ok, so this is a simple yum install, right? 

Not so fast. 

Here is everything I needed to do, in order to get R and rstudio running on my server: 

sudo su -c 'rpm -Uvh'
sudo yum update
sudo yum locallinstall lapack-devel-3.4.2-5.el7.x86_64.rpm
sudo yum locallinstall blas-devel-3.2.2-5.el7.x86_64.rpm
sudo yum locallinstall texlive-epsf-svn21461.2.7.4-38.el7.noarch.rpm
sudo yum locallinstall texinfo-tex-5.1-4.el7.x86_64.rpm
sudo yum install R

yum localinstall --nogpgcheck rstudio-server-rhel-0.99.491-x86_64.rpm
service rstudio-server
service rstudio-server status

All of this came about from google searches on stackoverflow, and other places where I found hiccup after hiccup just getting everything installed. 

These commands will save you some time. 


My introduction to R


English: Logo for R
Some time ago, I began down a path of learning statistics. This was not a topic I had studied in detail before. I had learned a bit of statistics over time while doing other things but never formally. 

I recognized I needed to learn more formally. 

During a number of the lectures I followed multiple professors referenced the R language. 

In my experience I had heard about SAS, and even worked with people that needed data from the various data repositories I managed imported into SAS. 

So I called one of my friends who is a big SAS user, and asked him about R. 

His response, R is basically a cleanroom version of SAS, but you have to write a lot of code to do the same things SAS does. 

Now this is something I could get into. 

So formally from the wiki: 
"R is a programming language and software environment for statistical computing and graphics supported by the R Foundation for Statistical Computing. The R language is widely used among statisticians and data miners for developing statistical software and data analysis. Polls, surveys of data miners, and studies of scholarly literature databases show that R's popularity has increased substantially in recent years." -- R programming language

I have been a DBA, and a data architect for quite some time. Generally, the types of systems I had built up to that point in time were analytical frameworks. The need for these is apparent with the majority of the Business Intelligence tools that are out there.

As a general rule, the performance of a BI tools is almost entirely dependent on the data model (dimensional) that the BI tool reads from.

There are a few exceptions to this rule, but it has been a guiding rule for the majority of my career.

Now, with R there is not as much of a need for the structuring of the data to support the analysis. R is a programming language, as such you can do the Data Munging necessary within your code.

And since R is a vector based language you can do set operations which are incredibly faster than doing for loops, cursors and the like.

R has many various packages for doing various types of analysis. Machine learning, Sentiment Analysis, Data Mining, various types of regressions.

All of which, only a few years ago I would have needed a SAS license to be able to attempt.

Since R is open-source, I am able to download it and run with it with no "request" and "approval" process. I don't have to justify an expenditure to get a tool that helps me do my job.

If you are in a data architect, DBA, or other DataOps  I encourage you to check-out R. You will find a new powerful tool in your toolbox.

I will be writing a bit more about R over time as well.


I wrote for 30 days

I did it!

I wrote, and published something every day for 30 days. 

As I said in my first thoughts about this Challenge I was going to clean out all my drafts, then write some little thing, and push the publish button. 

Stephen King, American author best known for h...I have been doing so. 

My drafts on Data Warehousing, Comments about Search Engine Optimization, Being a DBA all of the original hastily scribbled notes have been polished, updated an published. 

Now what? 

I accomplished what I set out to accomplish. 

I hope that some of the notes I have shared on this forum have been satisfying, even in some small capacity. 

I do not know if I will keep it up and continue writing every day. I do have some ideas of things to continue writing about mostly R, or maybe a few commentaries that run through my mind. 

I will be putting out a Poll shortly to ask everyone if I should keep writing, publishing, and updating the world about my progress. 

What do you think I should do? 


Therein Squats the Toad

Therein Squats the Toad

One of my favorite phrases from the show Dharma and Greg is "Therein Squats the Toad". 

When Dharma first says this in the episode it is in reference to a problem of their own making. 

I so fell in love with the phrase that I began using it quite often. 

So where does the Toad Squat? 

Chuck Lorre is the writer of the episode, and he also used a modified form of the phrase in The Big Bang Theory. 

While I won't presume to think that this explanation is the one he had in mind, I will say the following picture is what I think of when I say the phrase.

Imagine an old abandoned swimming pool.

When I was a kid, I did some summer jobs cleaning up some abandoned swimming pools. Not the glamorous swimming pools with bikini clad figures aligned on either side.

Yucky. Algae filled, Broken pumps of goo swimming pools.

One thing we would do is to turn the pump on, and set up the drain to get rid of the mess.

Before we could turn the pump on we would have to clean out the inlet drains.

The inlet drains are just above the water line, but they are covered so the sun does not blare down on top of the water.

Inside this little covered inlet is cool water. (This was south Texas, by the way).

In every pool I worked with we would open it up and find....

You guessed it, Toads, Frogs, and turtles.

We would move them out, then clean out the particulates. After that we could use the drain, shock the water, scrub the pool and refill it with clean water.

So the first thing we had to work on, that was also one of the larger messes was the place wherein squatted the toad. 


Meetup with some new people.

Meet new people. 

Earlier I wrote about Learning New things , and I hope that you have picked up a new book or two to learn something new. 
Bucharest RoWikipedia Meetup 2007-08-04d
Now that you have learned something, why not take the new found knowledge and share it with others? 

Meetup is an online social networking site with the goal of taking social networking offline. 

This sounds counter intuitive, but ultimately it works quite well. 

Humans have evolved to be social creatures. Even us introverts enjoy the occasional get together with others. 

I have attended Meetups in a few different cities, and even if I am not a regular attendee of the meetings I usually get the opportunity to both learn something, as well as share something I know with a new friend. 

For example, I relocated a few years ago to near the Cincinnati, OH area (Technically I live in Kentucky, but it is very close to the city of Cincinnati). was a great way to meet people new people. 

I was able to get to know the technology landscape here in my new adopted home as well as meet some other new people outside the technology world I call home. 

Meetup has a variety of categories, and there is sure to be something for everyone. If you can't find a local meetup with a topic you find interesting, Create one! 

Chances are if you are inteterested in something, then others around you may be interested as well. Create a meetup and get to know other people around you. 

"Hi" is a dull word, but that's how some of the most interesting things get started.