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2/28/2011
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DataStax Preps Launch Of Cassandra Management Interface

OpsCenter, now in beta, will make it easier to implement the open source, NoSQL system used to manage big data at Netflix, Twitter, and Facebook, said the company's CEO.

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DataStax, the first commercial company to offer technical support and consulting for Cassandra, has introduced a management interface for the NoSQL system. Cassandra manages big data at such sites as Netflix, Twitter, and Facebook.

Two former Rackspace employees, Jonathan Ellis, CTO, and Matt Pfeil, CEO, founded DataStax (originally called Riptano) in April 2010. Pfeil in a recent interview said that when he first learned Ellis planned to leave Rackspace, he took him out to lunch to talk him out of it. Instead, Pfeil ended up leaving Rackspace as well to become the company's co-founder and CEO. "Jonathan can be quite persuasive at times," he said.

On Feb. 1 at O'Reilly's Strata big data conference in Santa Clara, Calif., the firm announced the beta version of its management interface, OpsCenter for Cassandra. The software is slated to become a generally available product by the end of March, said Pfeil.

Unlike some NoSQL systems, Cassandra stores data in tables but escapes the relational stricture that every row must have the same columns, as defined in a database schema. Cassandra can add columns at will and expand to embrace very large data sets, while maintaining the ability to query and retrieve the data, Pfeil explained in an interview.

OpsCenter for Cassandra puts a management interface on top of the NoSQL database, giving a data administrator a view of the cluster on which Cassandra is operating, its performance on the cluster, and the overall health of the system, as well as views of the data in the system.

OpsCenter can also do historical event and metric tracking of Cassandra's operations. The capability allows administrators to do capacity planning and analyze usage trends.

As OpsCenter becomes a 1.0 product at the end of March, Pfeil said DataStax will offer a full-featured version of OpsCenter for free for development and non-production use with Cassandra. The beta version is available to existing DataStax support customers for whatever use they choose, including production. List pricing for OpsCenter with support starts at $30,000 for up to 10 nodes.

Ellis is the chairman of the open source Cassandra project at the Apache Software Foundation. DataStax, which consisted of just Ellis and Pfeil in April, now has eight staffers in Burlingame, Calif., and 20 in Austin, Texas. The firm raised $2.7 million in first-round funding in October, Pfeil said.

Other NoSQL database systems include MongoDB; CouchDB, now being merged with Membase as Couchbase; and Voldemort.

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