DataStax Simplifies the Transition to NoSQL Cassandra Database

Mike Vizard

To celebrate the fifth birthday of the NoSQL Cassandra open source database, DataStax released an update to the enterprise version of Cassandra that makes it easier for applications built on SQL databases to transition to the NoSQL platform.

Because of scale and cost issues, interest in running applications on Cassandra has steadily increased over the last five years. But most of the applications running on Cassandra today were built from the ground up. With the release of DataStax Enterprise 3.1, DataStax is supplying a Cassandra Query Language (CQL) that provides a construct that many SQL developers will find familiar. DataStax is also adding support for new Java and Microsoft.Net drivers to smooth the transition.

According to DataStax CTO Jonathan Ellis, dozens of companies have recently made the shift to Cassandra, which Ellis says has improved its data access using a Thrift application programming interface (API). By making it easier to get data in and out while giving database administrators a familiar management paradigm, DataStax expects to increase the uptake by increasing Cassandra’s appeal to the enterprise.

Cassandra was originally developed by Facebook and is currently used to power Web applications that need to support massive amounts of data. As more IT organizations find themselves coping with similar issues in the era of Big Data, interest in Cassandra as an alternative to traditional relational databases has grown.

In addition to providing an enterprise distribution of Cassandra, Ellis chairs the distribution of the community edition of Cassandra. Version 2.0 of that edition has been enhanced to include support for triggers and a lightweight transaction mechanism.

Cassandra isn’t likely to replace every relational database, but there are plenty of applications where the cost of a proprietary SQL database doesn’t make sense or the application has scaled beyond what a SQL database can handle. In either case, Cassandra has emerged as a viable alternative that even the average database administrator in the enterprise will feel comfortable deploying.

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