Cassandra

Analysis and discussion of the open source data management project Cassandra. Related subjects include:

October 23, 2011

NoSQL notes

Last week I visited with James Phillips of Couchbase, Max Schireson and Eliot Horowitz of 10gen, and Todd Lipcon, Eric Sammer, and Omer Trajman of Cloudera. I guess it’s time for a round-up NoSQL post. :)

Views of the NoSQL market horse race are reasonably consistent, with perhaps some elements of “Where you stand depends upon where you sit.”

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October 2, 2011

Defining NoSQL

A reporter tweeted:  ”Is there a simple plain English definition for NoSQL?” After reminding him of my cynical yet accurate Third Law of Commercial Semantics, I gave it a serious try, and came up with the following. More precisely, I tweeted the bolded parts of what’s below; the rest is commentary added for this post.

NoSQL is most easily defined by what it excludes: SQL, joins, strong analytic alternatives to those, and some forms of database integrity. If you leave all four out, and you have a strong scale-out story, you’re in the NoSQL mainstream. Read more

September 22, 2011

DataStax pivots back to its original strategy

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.

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August 13, 2011

Couchbase business update

I decided I needed some Couchbase drilldown, on business and technology alike, so I had solid chats with both CEO Bob Wiederhold and Chief Architect Dustin Sallings. Pretty much everything I wrote at the time Membase and CouchOne merged to form Couchbase (the company) still holds up. But I have more detail now. ;)

Context for any comments on customer traction includes:

That said,

Membase sales are concentrated in five kinds of internet-centric companies, which in declining order are: Read more

July 15, 2011

Soundbites: the Facebook/MySQL/NoSQL/VoltDB/Stonebraker flap, continued

As a follow-up to the latest Stonebraker kerfuffle, Derrick Harris asked me a bunch of smart followup questions. My responses and afterthoughts include:

Continuing with that discussion of DBMS alternatives:

And while we’re at it — going schema-free often makes a whole lot of sense. I need to write much more about the point, but for now let’s just say that I look favorably on the Big Four schema-free/NoSQL options of MongoDB, Couchbase, HBase, and Cassandra.

May 15, 2011

What to do about “unstructured data”

We hear much these days about unstructured or semi-structured (as opposed to) structured data. Those are misnomers, however, for at least two reasons. First, it’s not really the data that people think is un-, semi-, or fully structured; it’s databases.* Relational databases are highly structured, but the data within them is unstructured — just lists of numbers or character strings, whose only significance derives from the structure that the database imposes.

*Here I’m using the term “database” literally, rather than as a concise synonym for “database management system”. But see below.

Second, a more accurate distinction is not whether a database has one structure or none – it’s whether a database has one structure or many. The easiest way to see this is for databases that have clearly-defined schemas. A relational database has one schema (even if it is just the union of various unrelated sub-schemas); an XML database, however, can have as many schemas as it contains documents.

One small terminological problem is easily handled, namely that people don’t talk about true databases very often, at least when they’re discussing generalities; rather, they talk about data and DBMS.* So let’s talk of DBMS being “structured” singly or multiply or whatever, just as the databases they’re designed to manage are.

*And they refer to the DBMS as “databases,” because they don’t have much other use for the word.

All that said — I think that single vs. multiple database structures isn’t a bright-line binary distinction; rather, it’s a spectrum. For example:  Read more

May 14, 2011

Alternatives for Hadoop/MapReduce data storage and management

There’s been a flurry of announcements recently in the Hadoop world. Much of it has been concentrated on Hadoop data storage and management. This is understandable, since HDFS (Hadoop Distributed File System) is quite a young (i.e. immature) system, with much strengthening and Bottleneck Whack-A-Mole remaining in its future.

Known HDFS and Hadoop data storage and management issues include but are not limited to:

Different entities have different ideas about how such deficiencies should be addressed.  Read more

March 23, 2011

DataStax introduces a Cassandra-based Hadoop distribution called Brisk

Cassandra company DataStax is introducing a Hadoop distribution called Brisk, for use cases that combine short-request and analytic processing. Brisk in essence replaces HDFS (Hadoop Distributed File System) with a Cassandra-based file system called CassandraFS. The whole thing is due to be released (Apache open source) within the next 45 days.

The core claims for Cassandra/Brisk/CassandraFS are:

There’s a pretty good white paper around all this, which also recites general Cassandra claims – [edit] and here at last is the link.

February 1, 2011

Cassandra company DataStax (formerly Riptano) is on track

Riptano, the Cassandra company, has changed its name to DataStax. DataStax has opened headquarters in Burlingame and hired some database-experienced folks – notably Ben Werther from Greenplum and Michael Weir from ParAccel, with Zenobia Godschalk (who worked with Aster Data) somewhere in the outside PR mix. Other than that, what’s new at DataStax is pretty much what could have been expected based on what DataStax folks said last spring.

Most notably, DataStax is introducing a software offering, whose full name is DataStax OpsCenter for Apache Cassandra. DataStax OpsCenter for Apache Cassandra seems to be, in essence, a monitoring tool for Cassandra clusters, with a bit of capacity planning bundled in. (If there are any outright operations parts to DataStax OpsCenter, they got overlooked in our conversation.)* Read more

August 26, 2010

More on NoSQL and HVSP (or OLRP)

Since posting last Wednesday morning that I’m looking into NoSQL and HVSP, I’ve had a lot of conversations, including with (among others):

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