DataStax Luna delivers support for open source Cassandra

With the new subscription-based service, DataStax is broadening the spectrum of commercial services it offers for organizations using the popular database management system.

DataStax on Tuesday rolled out DataStax Luna, a subscription-based service that offers support for open source Cassandra. Since its founding, DataStax has specialized in delivering commercial support for Apache Cassandra. The new offering comes as momentum seems to be building around the popular database management system.

DataStax Luna is basically for organizations that already have open source Cassandra running in deployment. When these users have questions about Cassandra, they often look for answers in online forums. Luna is designed to offer the support those users need, with answers backed by DataStax's expertise.  

The new service is available via a self-service website, where customers can choose from two options: basic support (available during office hours) or enterprise (available 24-7). 

DataStax noted that, according to Gartner, it isn't wise to run open source projects for important applications without professional support. Even so, "it is not uncommon to see an enterprise running open source Cassandra," Manikandan Srinivasan, senior product director for DataStax, said to ZDNet. 

Even within DataStax's customer base, "we have customers that have multiple open source deployments in conjunction their [DataStax Enterprise] deployment," he said. "What we are trying to do is to meet the needs of all these customers." 

DataStax Enterprise [DSE] gives customers a version of Cassandra with advanced performance, advanced security and tooling for operations and management. The company also offers DataStax Apollo, a database-as-a-service offering that's currently in beta. 

By offering a spectrum of service levels that customers can choose from, DataStax "definitely sees scenarios where [customers] would start with open source needs and transition to DSE or Apollo," Srinivasan said. 

Cassandra was conceived of as a masterless database, prioritizing scalibility over consistency. According to the DB-Engines Ranking, it's the tenth-most popular database management system out of 350, and it's grown more than 250 percent in popularity from 2013 to 2019.

With Cassandra's popularity on the rise, DataStax this year brought in new leadership to help it keep up. The company hired Chet Kapoor as CEO and Sam Ramji as chief strategy officer -- both Google veterans.

Meanwhile, the competitive landscape for DataStax is growing more intense. Earlier this month, Amazon Web Services announced its own Managed Apache Cassandra Service, which -- like DataStax Apollo -- is based on Apache Cassandra version 3.11. 

While he didn't comment on what the new AWS service could mean for DataStax, Srinivasan said that if anything, it is "a validation of the strength of the Cassandra market." 

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