Repeat after me: Legacy databases weren’t built to power online businesses. Legacy databases weren’t built to power online businesses. Legacy databases....
Might seem obvious, but still, it needs to be said.
Why? Partly because we’ve been conditioned to believe that relational, proprietary databases like Oracle and DB2 are our best choices for everything we need to do; and partly because legacy databases, until recently, were reliable and able to meet nearly all business requirements.
But those requirements have changed. We’re living in the age of Big Data, the Internet of Things, during which we’re online all of the time and expect our needs to be instantly met.
And though this might make us seem impatient and overly demanding, how calm are we when we want to watch something on Netflix and can’t even see what’s available?
New Databases for a New Day
No worries. We’re not alone. Consider that when Amazon.com’s response time slows by a one tenth of a second it loses 1 percent of its revenue in that instant. And if Google’s response time with search results slows 500 milliseconds, a significant part of searchers bail from the site. This according to DataStax’s co-founder Matt Pfeil.
With such information at hand, it’s no wonder that Pfeil and his DataStax co-founder Jonathan Ellis saw an opportunity in providing Enterprise-grade software and services around Apache Cassandra, an open source database which can handle large amounts of data across many commodity servers and provide high availability with no single point of failure. (If that’s too much geek-speak for you, here’s the deal -- Datastax’s Apache Cassandra can keep a company like Netflix running non-stop even if it loses a rack, a machine or an entire data center.)
Who wouldn’t want that from a database?
This being said, it’s no wonder that there’s such great interest in NoSQL databases. While MongoDB certainly seems to be getting plenty of press, there’s another, Apache Cassandra, that’s worth keeping your eye on. It was originally built by developers at Facebook to power its Inbox Search feature (what kind of response time would you be willing to deal with?). It was created because there was nothing in the market that could get the job done.
As is often the story with Apache open source technologies, Cassandra’s developers donated Cassandra to the Apache Foundation, where it now lives.
The Scoop on DataStax’s Apache Cassandra Offering
DataStax founders Jonathan Ellis and Pfeil took an interest in Cassandra while they were working at Rackspace helping support developer teams that were frustrated by how much time and energy it was taking to keep their databases running versus building things. The pair saw that had the developers been using Cassandra, those problems could be (for the most part) eliminated.