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DataStax tempts start-ups with NoSQL by offering Cassandra for free

DataStax tempts start-ups with NoSQL by offering Cassandra for free

New companies that have received less than $20m in funding can take advantage of the tech

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DataStax is trying to tempt start-ups away from using traditional relational databases to grow their business by offering its enterprise version of Apache Cassandra's NoSQL database for free.

Any start-up that has received less than $20 million (£12 million) in funding can take advantage of the technology, allowing them to scale for free.

Cassandra’s distributed architecture allows companies to operate on cheap commodity machines, which can be scaled up quickly by simply adding extra nodes, and spread across multiple data centres. Or even across on-premise and in the cloud.

This means that if a number of machines are taken out for whatever reason, the company’s database isn’t knocked offline and doesn’t lose its performance capabilities – there is no single point of failure.

Computerworld UK spoke to Matt Pfeil, co-founder of DataStax, at Cassandra's European summit in London this week. He explained why start-ups looking to grow their business should opt for Cassandra.

“DataStax enterprise is an enterprise grade edition of Cassandra that offers advanced functionality, such as search, analytics and security capabilities. This also comes bundled with management software,” said Pfeil.

“It's normally a paid for offering, but we remember the days when we were not paying ourselves and didn't have any money. We are not in the business of monetising start-ups. If you are a start-up there are two things you don't have enough of: time and money.”

He added: “We want to help them use the best big data tools possible so they can focus on building their business and not have to worry about contract negotiations etc.”

DataStax is offering the free-Cassandra programme to any start-up already using the technology, as well as those considering the deployment of NoSQL databases. Approximately 15 companies have already signed up as part of the beta programme, with others expected to join following the official launch this week.

The programme is available to start-ups across the globe.

Pfeil went on to say that if start-ups don't opt for a NoSQL database, and choose a relational alternative, then scaling their infrastructure will prove to be expensive.

“The key thing is that we are in this big data age and for the first time ever it's economically feasible to store all this data,” he said.

“Scaling not using NoSQL is expensive on multiple fronts – potentially you'd have to buy more expensive hardware, but then also you'd have to go back and re-architect your application. That's not a customer facing feature.” 

He added: “If you are growing rapidly you want to make sure your customers are happy and with Cassandra your growth is purely operational, you have to add more machines, but you don't have to change your application.”  

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