Let’s hope Oracle co-founder and CTO Larry Ellison slept well last night because this may not be an easy day for him.

Just 20 short miles away from his offices in Redwood City, Calif. a reported 7,000 Apache Cassandra business users and geeks are gathered, some of them virtually, at DataStax’s Cassandra Summit in Santa Clara, Calif.

This might not seem like a big deal — until you consider the first Cassandra Summit five years ago drew only 22 participants.

Brace for the Data Flood

The developers and business application owners attending today are employed by a wide range of companies — from Apple, Netflix, Spotify and the Weather Company to Wal-Mart, Target, Capital One, and The New York Times.

They all collectively believe their employers’ futures depend on their ability to handle unprecedentedly large volumes of data delivered at high velocity with low latency and zero downtime.

Many of them aren’t confident Oracle is the best tool for that job.

“Oracle is a great database but it wasn’t built for today’s modern, data-driven applications,” Robin Schumacher, VP of Product Management at DataStax told CMSWire. DataStax is the commercial entity behind Apache Cassandra.,

You’d Move Too if it Happened to You

The DataStax platform, on the other hand, was purpose-built for the performance and high availability demands of web, mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Cassandra, by design, has no single point of failure.

In case that’s too abstract, consider this real world example: Netflix moved off Oracle and onto Apache Cassandra after a database failed, leaving customers movie-less for more than 48 hours.

The DataStax Advantage

All of that being said, winning customers from Oracle isn’t part of DataStax’s business model, according to Billy Bosworth, the company’s CEO. It’s about what DataStax brings to modern web companies instead.

And every company, in this day and age, is an Internet/web company, even traditional brick and mortar retailers like Macy’s, for example, where you can order on line and then pick up in the store.

While companies like that might start providing the latter kind of capabilities using older databases, many of them are eventually forced to move to something else because they can’t handle the demands of big data.

DataStax + Microsoft Azure

Today at the Cassandra Summit, Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group will join DataStax CEO Billy Bosworth in a keynote to announce a strategic collaboration between their companies.

DataStax is now part of Microsoft’s Enterprise Cloud Alliance, which is not, we should note, the same as being available in the Azure Store. DataStax has been available there since last year.

While this may not seem like that big a deal, the fact that Guthrie is making the trek out to the Cassandra Summit  (he doesn’t live in Silicon Valley) to pitch the community speaks volumes.

And, perhaps even more importantly, teams of Microsoft and DataStax engineers have been working together for more than a year to insure that Microsoft and DataStax’s mutual customers will be able to confidently build solutions that can scale across thousands of servers some on premise and some in the Cloud (hybrid).

A case in point might be a business with rapidly accelerating data demands and data centers in New York City and Dallas. Sure, they can always add servers — but what happens when more and more of those demands come from the West Coast?

Learning Opportunities

Do they build a new data center or go to the Cloud? With the DataStax Microsoft relationship and proven architecture blueprint in place, the hybrid option is available, hassle-free and seamless.

While the business wins in the Microsoft and DataStax relationship are easy to see — they’ll each be in a substantially improved position from which to sell game-changing solutions to customers — developers win as well. DataStax Enterprise on Microsoft Azure enables them to build, deploy and monitor enterprise-ready IoT, Web and mobile applications spanning public and private clouds.

Developers Make Your Mark

Little else excites developers more than a new release and, needless to say, Bosworth and Schumacher won’t disappoint. DataStax Enterprise (DSE) 4.8 includes:

  • Production certification for Spark 1.4, providing customers with trusted and enhanced analytics for production systems
  • Support for the Spark job server, which helps manage and monitor Spark activities
  • Enhancements to DSE Search’s innovative “Live Indexing” feature that makes incoming data available for search faster than ever before
  • User Defined Type (UDT) support in DSE Search, which reduces the coding effort for developers and allows for easy storage and search for various data formats (e.g. JSON) that are stored in Cassandra
  • Packaging and deployment ease-of-use improvements via support for Docker

Titan’s Ready

Anytime there’s a 1.0 release, there’s reason for celebration. The release of Titan 1.0, the open source graph database that DataStax acquired earlier this year, will be no exception.  

Not only is it now Enterprise-ready to scale the performance and high availability demands of Web, mobile and IoT applications, but also it’s been enhanced. New features include:

  • Support for TinkerPop and Gremlin 3.0, which deliver OLTP and OLAP Gremlin query capability, Spark/Giraph/Hadoop support for OLAP operations, and a sophisticated query optimizer with a query rewrite engine that speeds performance
  • Cassandra 2.2, HBase 1.x, and Elasticsearch 1.5 support
  • Numerous performance optimizations and fixes

Does Ellison Really Need to Worry?

There’s little question that DataStax is taking its share of the database market, especially where second rate performance and scalability aren’t options.

Being down or even being slow really isn’t an alternative in an impatient data-driven world, and that’s the world Apache Cassandra was built for.

Are there other databases that make the same claim? Of course.

Whether their solutions are better or worse may depend on the use case; you can rest assured that the most popular ones have been built and vetted by communities of passionate, talented engineers.

Part of the beauty of the open source world is that anyone who wants can download a developer’s edition and take it out for a spin can, most often without spending a dime. If people like what they find, they play and take it to work.

The rest of the story tells itself, or, in this case, the 7,000 attendees at the Cassandra Summit might tell it.

Title image from Twitter.