Migrating to Azure Cloud with Posit Connect

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Migrating to Azure Cloud with Posit Connect

Migrating the Risk Assessment Application to Azure Cloud with Posit Connect

Our engineering team has been following the R Consortium’s R Validation Hub working group for some time. We believe that the effort is making a valuable contribution to open source and will be of great benefit to our pharma customers who are struggling to set up “validated” environments for R-based regulatory submissions. We are particularly impressed with the risk metrics approach that allows submission sponsors to mitigate risk by developing custom risk profiles for ensembles of R packages. When we saw that the riskmetric team was having some difficulty moving the app from the prototype deployment environment to a stable production environment, we knew we could help.

The prototype riskmetric app had several limitations which impacted its usefulness, including a lack of scalability and persistent storage. Leveraging our extensive expertise in deploying and securing R applications at scale, ProCogia donated both our services and our hosting capabilities to migrate this application to a more robust, scalable, and persistent environment. 

This blog post provides an overview of the key features of the risk assessment application and our migration process—highlighting both our commitment to the open-source R Community, and the types of professional services we can provide.

Core Functionality

{riskassessment} application key features:

  • Engage users seamlessly with an interactive Shiny front-end, enhancing their experience while interacting with the application. 
  • Effortlessly analyze {riskmetric} output without the need for additional R development efforts, streamlining the assessment process.  
  • Personalize assessments by contributing comments and categorizing package risk, tailoring the evaluation to specific organizational needs.  
  • Access detailed and comprehensive reports, facilitating in-depth analysis and informed decision-making for effective risk management.  
  • Utilize a dedicated SQLite database for storing assessments, ensuring historical reference and robust data management practices.  
  • Implement user authentication with privileges and admin-defined roles, enabling efficient and secure management of the application.

Needs of Migration

The necessity for migrating the Risk Assessment App arises from limitations observed in specific deployment environments, such as shinyapps.io. This platform lacks scalability, persistent storage, posing challenges in making permanent alterations to the package database. The overarching objective is to host the app in a robust, scalable, and persistent storage environment. This strategic move ensures the seamless flow of continual updates, facilitates the inclusion of comments, and supports effective decision-making processes.


Host the Shiny riskassessment app on a robust, scalable, and persistent storage environment.

Migration Requirements

  • Move riskassessment Shiny app from shinyapps.io to Posit Connect on Azure Cloud using a secured architecture. 
  • Utilize a robust, strong, and reliable platform for high scalability and availability. 
  • Standup a persistent storage mechanism to store the application data. 
  • Ensure an economical solution that maximizes return on investment (ROI). 
  • Future-proof the migration setup for continued success and effectiveness.

Azure Deployment Architecture

Azure Deployment Specifications: 

  • Cloud: MS Azure 
  • OS: RedHat Enterprise Linux VM 
  • R Product: Posit Connect 
  • Compute: 4 core, 16 GB RAM 
  • Storage: 128 GB 
  • Concurrently Supporting: 30+ logged-in users 
  • Persistent database storage with SQLite 
  • GitHub-based deployment

Challenges Faced during Migration

These specific challenges highlight the complexity and intricacies involved in the migration process and the importance of addressing them for successful deployment and operation of the Risk Assessment App.:

1. renv Package Management Challenges: Addressing dependencies and compatibility issues with the renv package management system.

2. SSL Configuration Issues: Resolving issues related to the Secure Sockets Layer configuration for secure communication.

3. Unexpected Posit Connect Behavior: Dealing with unexpected behavior in the Posit Connect environment.

4. SE Linux Configuration Challenges: Overcoming challenges related to Security-Enhanced Linux (SE Linux) configuration for ensuring system security.

5. Deployment User Permission Hurdles: Resolving issues related to user permissions during the deployment process.

6. Concerns with Temporary File Copying: Addressing concerns related to the copying of temporary files during the migration process.

7. Discrepancies in App Behavior between Deployment and Local Environments: Resolving inconsistencies in the application’s behavior between the deployment and local environments.

8. Mismatch in First-Time Login Credentials: Rectifying discrepancies or errors in first-time login credentials for accessing the application.

9. Root Mount Storage Problem Caused by 100% Utilization: Resolving issues related to full utilization of root mount storage, which may cause system instability or errors.

10. Firewall Issues: Addressing challenges related to firewall configurations that may restrict access or cause communication issues within the environment.

Key benefits of migration to Azure Cloud with Posit Connect

Key Benefits:

  • Robust and fully secured, scalable Posit and Azure cloud environment.
  • On-demand compute scalability for application performance and hence compute cost optimization.
  • Persistent storage is now available for the Risk Assessment application.
  • Simplified management and monitoring of the loads and user logging.
  • Automated migration and deployment of new features using Devops.
  • Faster time to market availability of new functionality and updates in the application.

Useful reference links

ProCogia Services and References:

    The Demo app:


    R Validation Hub Working Group:


    In conclusion, the migration of the Risk Assessment App to Azure Cloud with Posit Connect not only addresses the challenges faced but also brings forth a more resilient, scalable, and cost-effective solution for organizations in regulated industries. The persistent storage and enhanced capabilities of the new environment contribute to the continued success of the app in serving its user base effectively.

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