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8/29/2012
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Aerospike Vies To Advance NoSQL Database

Acquire a competitor? Check. Round of VC funding? Check. Open source version of base product? Check. The former Citrusleaf hits several big data development trends at once.

Real-time database vendor Aerospike hit most of the major developmental trends in big data this week by announcing a new round of funding, the release of a new open source edition of its version of the NoSQL database, and the acquisition of a smaller vendor with more big data specific functions than Aerospike's own code.

It also changed its name from Citrusleaf, which it used since its founding in 2009, to Aerospike as a reference to the rapid growth of big data and the company's own ambition for fast growth, according to a statement.

Aerospike's main product is a distribute hash-table database designed as a NoSQL data store that processes transactions in real time, manages unstructured data as efficiently as traditional data, and scales horizontally across clusters of commoditized server and storage hardware.

Its primary purpose is to serve Web-based apps with strict latency requirements and huge volumes of data to access--gaming sites, advertising-driven sites that must display relevant ads within milliseconds, and other applications with high performance requirements and unpredictable load levels.

[ Simplify your data streams. See DataSift Tools Help Non-Techies Mine Social Web. ]

The company touts three primary features for its NoSQL database--speed, scalability, and reliability--that are traditional virtues in data management, but are particularly acute needs in big data analytics, according to Shalini Das, research director of the CIO Executive Board consultancy in Washington, D.C.

The ability to store unstructured data, including text and images, and to run analytics that can automatically add metadata that would allow even images to be used in external apps or found using standard queries is a basic prerequisite for big data; doing it with response times for both data-intake and data reporting are major advantages, Das said.

Sixty percent of companies with big data projects in process use relational databases as at least part of their data store, however, so it's not enough that a big data project use a single multifaceted database, according to Mike Boyarski, director of product marketing for Jaspersoft, another NoSQL vendor that surveyed open source big data users for an August report.

While the report showed a higher than expected percentage of companies launching big data projects as production systems rather than pilots, it also found the tools available to gather, process, structure, and search unstructured data alongside relational data (or in combination with relational databases) are far too weak to satisfy existing requirements.

"There's a lot of uncertainty of the value proposition of the tools at your disposal right now to take advantage of big data," Boyarski said. "It's a little surprising so many companies are moving forward into production despite the tools available."

Aerospike addressed the need for multi-format data support by acquiring startup database specialist Alchemy Database, whose AlchemyDB is designed to combine a relational database management system (RDBMS) with a document store, graphing capabilities, and a Redis open source key-value data store.

The combination will give Aerospike a good NoSQL key-value store and extensive data management capabilities, according to a statement from Aerospike that focused on the performance aspects of the combination.

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