9 NoSQL Pioneers Who Modernized Data Management - InformationWeek

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8/30/2015
12:06 PM
Charles Babcock
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9 NoSQL Pioneers Who Modernized Data Management

The folks profiled here are tackling data management for the Internet Age, helping us all understand what can be done with a mass of unstructured information. See how their work has transformed the way we handle databases.
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Jonathan Ellis
Jonathan Ellis was an early implementer of Cassandra at Rackspace, a company that supplies managed services and Infrastructure-as-a Service. He became the first outside committer to the Cassandra project in 2009 when it was being formed in the Apache incubator and he remained a frequent contributor. 
At Rackspace, Ellis collaborated on the business side with his friend Matt Pfiel. When Pfiel heard Ellis was thinking of leaving Rackspace in the spring of 2010 to launch a Cassandra startup, he took him to lunch to dissuade him. By the end of lunch, Pfiel had instead joined the startup as CEO. 'Jonathan can be quite a persuasive talker at times,' Pfiel said in an interview with InformationWeek two months after the startup's launch in April 2010. 
Ellis originally called the firm, Riptano, and had Rackspace as a financial backer. It was renamed DataStax in January 2011. Ellis serves as chairman of the Cassandra project at the Apache Software Foundation and CTO of DataStax; Pfeil is chief operating officer. The firm offers DataStax Enterprise, built on top of Cassandra and combined with Apache Solr enterprise search and Hadoop analytics.
Bill Boebel, who was VP of strategy at Rackspace in 2011 and is currently CEO of Pingboard, credited Ellis at the time with building the community around the Cassandra project. Both Ellis and Pfeil say systems like Cassandra are likely to eventually work alongside, not replace, relational database systems. Still, Ellis early on was a defender of the NoSQL name. 'It has a combative connotation... It's catchy. People remember it. It brought attention to the way you don't have to keep doing things the way relational databases have dictated' for 30 years, he told InformationWeek in March 2012. In May 2012, Ellis told Roberto Zacari, editor of ODBMS.org, that NoSQL systems 'are going to make things easy that today are possible but difficult' with SQL systems.
(Image: Jonathan Ellis)

Jonathan Ellis

Jonathan Ellis was an early implementer of Cassandra at Rackspace, a company that supplies managed services and Infrastructure-as-a Service. He became the first outside committer to the Cassandra project in 2009 when it was being formed in the Apache incubator and he remained a frequent contributor.

At Rackspace, Ellis collaborated on the business side with his friend Matt Pfiel. When Pfiel heard Ellis was thinking of leaving Rackspace in the spring of 2010 to launch a Cassandra startup, he took him to lunch to dissuade him. By the end of lunch, Pfiel had instead joined the startup as CEO. "Jonathan can be quite a persuasive talker at times," Pfiel said in an interview with InformationWeek two months after the startup's launch in April 2010.

Ellis originally called the firm, Riptano, and had Rackspace as a financial backer. It was renamed DataStax in January 2011. Ellis serves as chairman of the Cassandra project at the Apache Software Foundation and CTO of DataStax; Pfeil is chief operating officer. The firm offers DataStax Enterprise, built on top of Cassandra and combined with Apache Solr enterprise search and Hadoop analytics.

Bill Boebel, who was VP of strategy at Rackspace in 2011 and is currently CEO of Pingboard, credited Ellis at the time with building the community around the Cassandra project. Both Ellis and Pfeil say systems like Cassandra are likely to eventually work alongside, not replace, relational database systems. Still, Ellis early on was a defender of the NoSQL name. "It has a combative connotation… It's catchy. People remember it. It brought attention to the way you don't have to keep doing things the way relational databases have dictated" for 30 years, he told InformationWeek in March 2012. In May 2012, Ellis told Roberto Zacari, editor of ODBMS.org, that NoSQL systems "are going to make things easy that today are possible but difficult" with SQL systems.

(Image: Jonathan Ellis)

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Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
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9/4/2015 | 6:25:03 PM
How about Chris Lindblad as the 10th?
A nominee that's come in as the tenth pioneer is Chris Lindblad, co-founder of MarkLogic predecessor Cerisent in 2001. It became MarkLogic in 2005 with headquarters in San Carlos, Calif. He is the former chief architect of the Ultraseek search engine at Infoseek; Ultraseek is now part of Autonomy. Lindblad still works as chief of development at the firm. MarkLogic is a document-oriented database that evolved out of XML database roots, which can also conduct relational's ACID transactions. The BBC used MarkLogic for its 2012 Olympic Data Services. So is Chris a NoSQL pioneer or a combined database system pioneer? Any votes for Chris Lindblad?

 

 
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
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9/4/2015 | 5:53:11 PM
Altiscale CEO describes Cutting's sense of system design
This comment came in from Raymie Stata, who hired Doug Cutting at Yahoo at the time Stata was chief architect of algorithmic search. (He's now CEO of Hadoop company, Altiscale.) "What I appreciate about Doug is that he has a great design sense--relatively few programmers have that--and yet he's also very practical (and prodigious), so he gets things done fast.  Lucene and Avro demonstrate Doug's originality and creativity, and the result is clean but practical systems that have become very popular. The case of Hadoop is different: his good design sense told him that the Google guys did a great job and that there wasn't much sense in trying to improve upon that. He stated this quite explicitly. While those around them (some inside Yahoo!, some out) were busy trying to improve upon the MapReduce paradigm, Doug used Google's paper as the blueprint and (with Mike Cafarella) cranked out the initial implementation amazingly fast. This was important, because it turned out that the important engineering was more about building an implementation that could scale, rather than improving upon the abstraction. It's unusual for a single developer to have two 'smash hits' in Open Source (Lucene and Hadoop). I chalk that up to Doug's combination of design sense and practicality." - Raymie Stata, CEO of Altiscale

 

 
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
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8/31/2015 | 4:22:55 PM
NoSQL system builders are not necessarily data scientists
Asksqn, Few NoSQL pioneers would ever claim to be data scientists. They're system builders for big data purposes, not data scientists working with big data. But you might try Lisa Morgan's: 6 Characteristics of Data Drive Rock Stars. http://www.informationweek.com/big-data/big-data-analytics/6-characteristics-of-data-driven-rock-stars/d/d-id/1320502

 
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