The DataStax and Cassandra stories are somewhat confusing. Unfortunately, DataStax chose to clarify them in what has turned out to be a crazy news week. I’m going to use this post just to report on the status of the DataStax product line, without going into any analysis beyond that.
Pro tip: If you choose to announce at a conference where many other vendors will surely announce news also, you naturally run the risk of not garnering much attention.
For starters, it may help to realize or recall that:
- Cassandra was originally developed and revealed at Facebook, to much early NoSQL fanfare. Facebook later backed away from Cassandra use.
- Rackspace guys in Texas became Cassandra’s biggest backers. They eventually founded a company called Riptano to commercialize Cassandra.
- Texas company Riptano became the California company DataStax.
- DataStax came out with a Hadoop-on-Cassandra offering called Brisk. For a while, it sounded as if Hadoop was as big a focus for DataStax as Cassandra is.
- DataStax is now recommitted to being the Cassandra company, and has accordingly backed away from Hadoop and Brisk as a separate or coequal focus. However, it sees Hadoop capability as a nice, or even major, feature of its Cassandra-centric offering.
- To finalize its open source obligations with respect to Brisk, DataStax is in essence:
- Donating a Hive driver for Cassandra straight into the main Apache Cassandra project.
- Releasing the rest of Brisk as a separate open source project.
- Disclaiming interest in further advancing open source Brisk.
- There’s also something called Solandra — evidently SOLR-on-Cassandra — whose status is similar to Brisk’s.
- There are three main ways that DataStax helps you to consume Cassandra.
- DataStax is the principal sponsor of Apache Cassandra development, and presumably long will be. Apache Cassandra is both free-like-speech and free-like-beer.
- DataStax is also introducing a paid-subscription version of Cassandra called DataStax Enterprise, which features proprietary code, support, and so on. DataStax Enterprise is neither free-like-speech nor free-like-beer.
- There will also be something called DataStax Community Edition. DataStax Community Edition is free-like-beer, but not free-like-speech.
Various posts on the DataStax blog give DataStax’s explanation of what it’s doing. Ben Werther, the ex-Greenplum guy who briefly worked at DataStax and was most associated with telling the Hadoop/Brisk story, has moved on to his own startup Platfora.
DataStax Enterprise has three main aspects:
- DataStax Server, which is the actual database and analytics code. At this time, there is little closed-source code in DataStax Server, but DataStax reserves the right to widen that gap in the future.
- DataStax OpsCenter, which is management tools around DataStax Server. DataStax OpsCenter is entirely closed-source, even though DataStax gives a limited version away for free.
To describe DataStax Community Edition, I’ll just quote the press release verbatim, which characterizes it as:
… a free platform based on Apache Cassandra that bundles the open source database with smart installers, drivers and connectors for popular development languages, demo apps, documentation, and a free version of DataStax OpsCenter for Apache Cassandra.
DataStax Community Edition is crippleware only in terms of feature set; there are no limitations on its database size, cluster size, or usage rights. A core mission of DataStax Community Edition is to create happy Cassandra users, who may then become customers for DataStax Enterprise.