DataStax gets $11M, fuses NoSQL and Hadoop

DataStax, a Burlingame, Calif-based NoSQL startup, has created the first commercial distribution of the Apache Cassandra database and has just closed an $11 million Series B funding round. The money came from new investor Crosslink Capital and existing backer Lightspeed Venture Partners. Neither piece of news should come as a shock because as NoSQL products have been maturing over the past year, money has followed.

The new product is called DataStax Enterprise, and it melds the Cassandra database with Hadoop and DataStax’s existing OpsCenter product. Essentially, it sounds a lot like Brisk, the Hadoop distribution DataStax announced at our Structure: Big Data conference in March, only with some additional management features and enterprise fine tuning. What that means is a product designed to deliver real-time application performance and heavy-duty analytics on the same physical infrastructure, with both workloads benefiting from each other’s presence. If need be, Hadoop gets speedy access to web data, as do web applications to Hadoop data.

DataStax OpsCenter

Hopefully for DataStax, though, the new product — DataStax’s first commercial release other than its OpsCenter management tool — will put Cassandra back in the limelight. DataStax is pushing the analytics angle pretty hard, and that could turn out to be a smart decision in a very crowded NoSQL space. Tying in the Hadoop (plus Hive) integration make DataStax Enterprise stand out as almost a high-speed unstructured data warehouse on top of Cassandra’s proven reputation as a database for real-time, webscale applications.

Cassandra was an early darling in the NoSQL space — in large part because of its Facebook roots — but it has been somewhat overshadowed recently by projects such as CouchDB, MongoDB and HBase that have garnered lots of press and big-time users.  The former two have commercial versions in place and are finding large-enterprise traction thanks to Couchbase and 10gen respectively, and even Facebook chose HBase over Cassandra to power numerous new features such as Messaging, real-time analytics and its “social inbox.” Couchbase and 10gen have also raised a lot of money recently, to the tunes of $14 million and $20 million, respectively, in the last two months.

DataStax also is rolling out a DataStax Community Edition today, which is a more-polished version of the free, open source Apache Cassandra distribution. Both products will be available in the fourth quarter of this year.