Running RStudio via Docker in the Cloud

Deploying applications via Docker container is the current talk of town. I have heard about Docker and played around with it a little, but when Dirk Eddelbuettel posted his R and Docker talk last Friday I got really excited and had to have a go myself.

My aim was to rent some resources in the cloud, pull an RStudio Server container and run RStudio in a browser. It was actually surprisingly simple to get started.

I chose Digital Ocean as my cloud provider. They have many Linux systems to choose from and also a pre-built Docker system.


After about a minute I had kicked off the Docker droplet I could log into the system in a browser window and start pulling the Docker file, e.g. Dirk’s container.

Once the downloads finished I could start the RStudio Server using the docker run command and log into a RStudio session. To my surprise even my googleVis package worked out of the box. The plot command opened just another browser window to display the chart; here the output of the WorldBank demo.

All of this was done within minutes in a browser window. I didn’t even use a terminal window. So, that’s how you run R on an iPad. Considering that the cost for the server was $0.015 per hour, I wonder why I should buy my own server, or indeed buy a new computer.

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