Path laid for database solution

Apache Cassandra to get facelift in October - leading the NoSQL pack?

It's been a stellar year for Apache Cassandra. The scalable NoSQL database solution, which can handle huge loads in real-time, quickly assumed the role of pacesetter in the Big Data race, after reaching its 1.0 version back in October. Since then, they've made strides into the enterprise world by entering production environments at Netflix, Disney and eBay, amongst others.

Last week's Cassandra Summit 2012 in Santa Clara saw the community take stock on what had been done so far, but to also discuss the plans that lay ahead for Apache Cassandra. Jonathan Ellis, CTO at Datastax (the company behind the technology) and project chair for the Apache Cassandra project was the man with the answers for the enterprises using it in production.

He revealed that Apache Cassandra's 1.2 version, set for an October release, wouldn't just be a footnote, upgrading the project with a concurrent schema change and virtual node capabilities. The idea behind this appears to be with their biggest clients in mind, making it possible for multiple clients to issue scheme changes alongside each other across a cluster safely.

With more and more businesses looking for a database that can give you data in double-quick time, Cassandra needs to prepared to offer such agility in rapid transaction operations. Alongside the fundamental changes, Cassandra Query Language (CQL) 3 will have new features such as concatenation across data sets. However this won't include full backwards compatability, so CQL 2 users will have to make do with CQL 3 when adding on to their application.

Cassandra Summit also gave a platform to many of the enterprises linking up with DataStax. The commercial arm behind Cassandra state that the number of enterprise Apache Cassandra users has doubled in the past year (no surprise given the first full version) so only now are we starting to see companies buddy up to further the project.

Deals forged included an alliance with Actuate to create analytics solutions, Big Data connector specialists Simba Technologies and Jaspersoft, to deliver a native BI analytics connector. These partnerships will put Apache Cassandra in good stead as it moves forward to deal with new challenges.

"The involved and impassioned community that has grown around Cassandra is a tremendous and distinctive asset," said DataStax Co-Founder and CTO Jonathan Ellis. "The advocacy, collective thinking and best practices emanating from this community empower others as they leverage the full potential of Cassandra. The energy we are seeing today at the 2012 Cassandra Summit is remarkable and bears out the fact that Cassandra is the superior NoSQL database well positioned to manage the massive big data generated by the enterprise."

Originally created at Facebook in 2008, Apache Cassandra gained Top Level Status at Apache in 2010, before emerging last year with a first generally-available version. 

Many bigger companies are no doubt banking on a combination of Cassandra's speed with the deep-style analytics of Hadoop. With assurances that Apache Cassandra is more than ready to deal with the newest enterprise hurdles, we're pretty sure next year's Cassandra Summit will be even bigger, with an enterprise surge imminent. 

Chris Mayer

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