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’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.

So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that DataStax was born. Ellis, Pfeil and their team have taken Apache Cassandra and built a platform around it. The result is DataStax Enterprise. In just under four years they’ve gained companies like Netflix, eBay, Healthcare Anytime, Adobe and at least 20 of the Fortune 100 as customers, as well as a whole slew of startups.

Happy Birthday to Budding Cassandra Developers & Administrators

While it’s great that the industry is excited about Apache Cassandra and that companies are taking to DataStax’s Platform at a record pace, there is one problem: not enough people who are excited about and want to use the platform have been trained.

It’s a good problem to have, says, Pfeil, especially because Datastax knows how to solve it.

Beginning next month DataStax will offer free online training courses that teach developers, system architects and administrators how to get the most out of Cassandra.

The new virtual training course is an online training portal where anyone can participate in on-demand training in a multi-week, self-paced format. The initial training modules consist of video segments showing how to develop Java applications with Cassandra using DataStax Community edition. More information is available here.

Happy Birthday Startups: DataStax Offers Free Enterprise Software for Eligible Startups

Pfeil says that he knows firsthand that one of the challenges startups have is getting their hands on the technologies they need and that he doesn’t want DataStax enthusiasts to feel this way.

“I remember when we at DataStax were a cash-strapped startup, and we want to help companies in that scenario succeed,” he explains.

As a result, DataStax is giving startups that have received less than US$ 20 million in funding and operate within a designated revenue threshold to deploy their DataStax Enterprise (DSE) applications for free. DSE includes an enterprise-grade version of the open source Apache Cassandra database integrated with analytics, search and security features.

Free, What’s the Hidden Agenda?

While the open source community might not raise an eyebrow when something of value is being given away for free, some others certainly will. So if you’re wondering why DataStax is giving its products/services away at no charge, here’s our take: they want to eliminate as many barriers as possible when it comes to DataStax adoption and it’s in their interest to have well-trained quality professionals working with their products.

It’s a pretty smart strategy for success, right?