DataStax Launches New Cassandra-Based NoSQL DBs, Gets $45M Funding

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2013-07-24

DataStax Launches New Cassandra-Based NoSQL DBs, Gets $45M Funding

DataStax, provider of a big data platform based on Apache Cassandra, has announced new versions of its enterprise-grade and community-edition database software, along with a new round of funding to help to grow its business.

In an interview with eWEEK, Jonathan Ellis, DataStax co-founder and Apache Cassandra project chair, said the new software versions offer developers more powerful tools and easier deployment capabilities as they transition from relational database technologies such as Oracle to NoSQL solutions such as DataStax.

DataStax is glad to be able to announce Apache Cassandra 2.0 for Cassandra's fifth birthday, Ellis said. "Version 2.0 continues our focus on the developer experience," he said in a statement. "Features like lightweight transactions and cursors make the Cassandra Query Language even more powerful and easy to use, while we continue to make performance improvements under the hood."

DataStax made its announcements at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) on July 23.

DataStax sells an enterprise-grade database that integrates real-time data with Apache Cassandra, batch analytics with Apache Hadoop, enterprise search with Apache Solr, and visual monitoring and management with OpsCenter. The latest version, DataStax Enterprise (DSE) 3.1, increases developer ease-of-use to shorten the product development life cycle, and provides greater scalability and simpler manageability.

DSE 3.1 provides greater scalability, enabling users to manage up to 10 times as much Cassandra data per node for many use cases with the same high levels of performance, handling more data with fewer servers. It also features Apache Solr 4.3 integration with more than 60 new features to enable faster search performance, new memory caches and monitoring functionality, and greater reliability.

The new release of DataStax Enterprise also provides the latest version of the Cassandra Query Language (CQL3), which flattens the learning curve for developers migrating from relational databases. Developers can make use of 3.1's CQL binary protocol and new DataStax Java and .NET drivers to shorten product development cycles.

"We're seeing a lot of migration away from Oracle and relational technology in the enterprise to DataStax," Ellis told eWEEK. "We're smoothing the on-ramp for enterprise developers by adding this query language that is similar to SQL."

Ellis said relational database technologies such as Oracle are inadequate for powering today's online line-of-business applications. DataStax recently announced that dozens of companies have migrated from traditional Oracle relational database management systems (RDBMSes) to DataStax, citing scalability, disaster avoidance and cost savings as key criteria. The new DataStax software versions offer comprehensive feature sets that allow developers accustomed to relational database systems to make a smooth transition to NoSQL technology, DataStax said.

Ellis added that virtual nodes (vnodes) and parallel operations enable users to increase capacity and perform maintenance operations much faster than before, and new tracing features let users dive into the response times of queries and other database operations.

DataStax Launches New Cassandra-Based NoSQL DBs, Gets $45M Funding

"We're looking forward to all the benefits of DataStax Enterprise 3.1," said Aaron Stannard, chief technology officer at MarkedUp, in a statement. "We use DSE today to power a lot of our customer facing analytics service and use all three Apache components—Cassandra, Hadoop and Solr—in our platform. We'll definitely make use of Cassandra's virtual nodes and CQL3 support, and the Solr improvements should enable faster, more robust search."

DSE 3.1 is available for now, and organizations interested in the software can click here.

DataStax also announced its community-edition software based on Apache Cassandra 2.0, the newest version of the massively scalable open-source NoSQL database that is targeted for release next month. DataStax Community Edition (DSC) 2.0 includes a range of new features, including Compare and Set (CAS), a lightweight transaction mechanism that helps ensure users do not overwrite each other's work, as well as triggers, which provide the ability to have event-driven operations for applications at the database level.

DSC 2.0 also offers improved compaction, which delivers efficiency gains for larger data on disk. Eager retries give increased reliability when replicating data, and CQL cursors allow developers to easily navigate and scroll through datasets.

In related news, DataStax announced the completion of a $45 million series D funding round led by Scale Venture Partners with participation from existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Crosslink Capital and Meritech Capital Partners, and new investors DFJ Growth and Next World Capital. DataStax will use the investment to further its international expansion, channel growth and product development.

"The evolution of enterprise applications and rise of big data has eclipsed traditional database capabilities and provides an opening for a significant new market entrant," said Andy Vitus, a partner at Scale Venture Partners, in a statement. "DataStax is poised to disrupt the traditional RDBMS market and has already demonstrated significant momentum—signing an enviable list of enterprise customers, expanding into Europe, and unveiling innovative releases that make the product easier to adopt, deploy, and manage. We look forward to working with the team to further accelerate their expansion as they address this large and growing market."

"Our Cassandra-based platform is far and away the best solution for powering online applications that must remain available at all times and scale to tremendous levels," said Billy Bosworth, CEO of DataStax, in a statement. "Today's funding exceeds all the capital we've received to date, and we will use this investment to accelerate our international expansion, channel growth, sales and marketing and product development while increasing our support for the open-source Cassandra community."

Ellis told eWEEK headcount is a major expense for DataStax and the new funding will help the company increase its workforce. "We have 100 employees, and we're looking to expand that over the next 18 months," he said. The company will begin to provide tools for developers in the third quarter of this year, according to Ellis.

DataStax customers include eBay, Netflix, Adobe, Constant Contact and Ooyala, as well as 20 companies within the Fortune 100.


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