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Install R Language and Integrate it With SAP HANA

We have a Chinese version of this blog.

1 R language introduce

         R language is is an GNU project which based on S language, it can be treated as an implementation of S language. It is firstly developed by Ross lhaka and Robert Gentleman in the University of Auckland, New Zealand, it mainly used for statistic computing, graphing, and data mining.

        Since SAP HANA SP5, it is has been enforced greatly with the integrate  of memory computing and the statistic function of R language. This enables you use R as a procedure language, and call the function of R. The data exchange between SAP HANA and R is very efficient, because they all use the column storage style.  The communication process between SAP HANA and R is shown below:


      In order to execute R code in SAP HANA, the R code is writen as a procedure with RLANG. It is executed

by the external Rserve.For the support of R operator, The calculate engine inside SAP HANA has been extended, for the given input object, after some computing , output with a result table. Differently with the local operator, R operator can be processed by R function, when the calculate engine recognized the R operator, the R client will send a request to the Rserve, and at the same time send the parameters needed by the program, then it will begin to execute, and result data frame will be send back to the calculate engine.

      currently, there are some restrictions:

       1. In RLang, the input parameter can only be table types, so if you want to pass a scalar type, you need to encapsulate it into a table,.

       2. the name of variable in RLang Procedure can not contain uppercase letters.

       3. the RLang procedure must return at least one result ,in the form of data frame.

2  The installation of R


     The installation in windows is very simple, just download the corresponding installation package and double-click the set up program and go on with next. The following will focus on the installation in Linux platform. Before installation please make sure that the related software packages exists:

           xorg-x11-devel: for the support of X window

          gcc-fortran: build environment

          readline-devel: When using R as a standalone program.

          libgfortran46: SLES 11 sp2

         Then download the R language source package(R-2.15.0 has been tested), and decompress it, run the following command:

          ./configure –enable-R-shlib


         make install

       if the installation is successful, execute R command in the shell ,you can start the interactive interpreter of R, as shown in the following figure.


     3 Integrate it with SAP HANA

      (1) Install Rserve

            Rserve is a server side of R based on TCP/IP. After start R, execute “install.packages(“Rserve”) “, the program will prompt you to select the image, and then it will start downloading and install it. Of course , you can also download “Rserve.tar.gz ,and execute “install.packages(“/path/to/your/Rserve.tar.gz”,repos=NULL) “, this will also lead you to install Rserve.

          After the installation ,please edit “/etc/Rserve.conf”, and the following content:

         maxinbuf 10000000

         maxsendbuf 0

          remote enable

       then launch Rserve:

       /usr/local/lib64/R/bin/Rserve –RS-port 30120   –no-save   –RS-encoding utf8

    (2) configure SAP HANA

        Start SAP HANA Studio, chooseManage View, Configuration tab, navigate to indexserver.ini -> calcEngine, add the following parameters:


(4) simple test demo

     The following demo will compute the square of a column of prime:


insert into “WEIYY_TEST”.“PRIME” values(2);

insert into “WEIYY_TEST”.“PRIME” values(3);

insert into “WEIYY_TEST”.“PRIME” values(5);

insert into “WEIYY_TEST”.“PRIME” values(7);








execute this procedure, the result is like this:


5 tips

  Because currently the RLANG procedure only support table type parameter, but many times you need to input a scalar argument. When this happens, you can use “select from dummy” to generate a temp table.




      inputinfo=select :keyword AS “keyword”,:crawltime as“crawltime” from DUMMY;

      CALL fetch_weibosohu(:inputinfo, :result);


For example , the procedure above, the outer WAPPER_WEIBOSOHU procedure is a SQLSCRIPT procedure, the fetch_weibosohu is a RLANG procedure, we use “select from dummy ” to generate a temp table, and pass it to the inner procedure.

[Note: The test case for this article is based on SAP HANA SPS07 revision 70.00]

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  • Hi Whisly,

    Thanks for the information.

    Is there any way we can get list of functions available in HANA at the moment. I do not have R server configured yet.



  • Hi Whisly,

    Can I install R on Windows platform and integrate it with HANA?

    Or is there any free linux cloud server available where I can install R and than use that to integrate it with HANA?

    Please let me know.

    Warm Regards,


          • There’s no official specification. But if you want to do the analysis you have to make sure that the data transfered to the R server can be hold in the server’s memory. And secondly, you may have to consider the network speed. As you know, each time there is a data tranportation between SAP HANA and R server.

          • Whisly,

            I am getting below error while installing RServe version 3.2.5 on Suse Linux. Am i missing anything?

            install.packages(‘/root/RServer/R-3.2.5.tar.gz’, repos = NULL)

            ERROR: cannot extract package from â/root/RServer/R-3.2.5.tar.gzâ

            Warning message:

            In install.packages(“/root/RServer/R-3.2.5.tar.gz”, repos = NULL) :

              installation of package â/root/RServer/R-3.2.5.tar.gzâ had non-zero exit status

          • Finally i got it working. Now i have another issue while running below command. Do i need below command from root or after launching R.

            /usr/local/lib64/R/bin/Rserve –RS-port 30120   –no-save   –RS-encoding utf8

  • Hi Whisly

    Your Blog is very informative.Can you guide me through the steps to be followed while setting up and configuring R server on windows machine?



    • Hi, Ranajay, Personally speaking, I can give you some suggustions but this may not officially supported by SAP.

      In fact , in the windows environment, the main process is the same and the key is to install Rserve, which is very simple, just execute  install.packages(“Rserve”); then find the location of the binary executive Rserve file, e.g. \\path_of_your_R_environment\R\win-library\3.2\Rserve\libs\x64, then you can find Rserve.exe.  Execute this file and of course maybe you have to add some arguments , if there are errors(maybe report dll error), you can also call Rserve() in R environment with the arguments. If Rserve is started, you can write a small program to test it, anyway, Rserve is just a server program and can be connected by many clients. 

      This two documents will help you.

      You can make it! Have a try!

  • Whisly,

    I have a question, when I executed the call my_f(prime), I got the exact results what you showed in your screenshot. Does that mean R is executing from HANA right? Please confirm

  • Hi,

    I am following the the following guide in order to install R server from source code on a machine, that runs SLES 12, SP1:

    Unfortunately, when I try to install the kernlab package, I receive the following error message:

    > install.packages(“kernlab_0.9-14.tar.gz”, repos = NULL)

    Warning in install.packages(“kernlab_0.9-14.tar.gz”, repos = NULL) :

      ‘lib = “/usr/local/lib64/R/library”‘ is not writable

    Would you like to create a personal library


    to install packages into? (y/n) y

    During startup – Warning message:

    Setting LC_CTYPE failed, using “C”

    * installing *source* package ‘kernlab’ …

    ** package ‘kernlab’ successfully unpacked and MD5 sums checked

    ** libs

    g++ -I/usr/local/lib64/R/include -DNDEBUG -I/usr/local/include -fPIC -c brweight.cpp -o brweight.o

    make: execvp: g++: Permission denied

    /usr/local/lib64/R/etc/Makeconf:130: recipe for target ‘brweight.o’ failed

    make: *** [brweight.o] Error 127

    ERROR: compilation failed for package ‘kernlab’

    * removing ‘/home/ruser/R/x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu-library/2.15/kernlab’

    Warning message:

    In install.packages(“kernlab_0.9-14.tar.gz”, repos = NULL) :

      installation of package ‘kernlab_0.9-14.tar.gz’ had non-zero exit status

    Does anyone have any suggestions?