DataStax 4.5 turbocharges Cassandra speed and security

Leading column-family NoSQL database gets an enterprise-grade makeover, with blazing in-memory speed, Hadoop integration, and granular security controls

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The new data dictionary API is a Cassandra Query Language API that provides performance analysis from the cluster level all the way down to the level of individual nodes and even individual statements. The new API was designed to be accessible to users coming from the relational database world who may be familiar with Oracle's V$ Views or Microsoft SQL Server's performance tables. Previously, DataStax required users to access diagnostic tools through a JMX-enabled Java API.

The increased control extends to security. With the 4.5 release, administrators can control a user's access to each cluster and even specify which commands a user is able to execute against a given cluster. That kind of granular security control is a feature that Schumacher says many of DataStax's large customers have been asking for.

Still, Schumacher acknowledges that DataStax has more work to do to match the ease-of-use of commercial RDBMS solutions.

Take the new diagnostic features in DSE 4.5, for instance. The new data dictionary API provides detailed diagnostic tools. But DataStax has yet to integrate the new API into its OpsCenter visual tool suite. Schumacher calls that integration "the next step," whereas the first step was "getting the diagnostic objects set and ensuring their performance…. But yes, there'll be a whole suite of new overview displays of that type of information that will allow you to point and click your way down to that detail, absolutely. It's a no-brainer."

In the meantime, the OpsCenter 5.0 release, slated for later this month, will include a new "best practices expert" that will be able to scan your cluster and look for deviations from prescribed best practices. The system will also be able to check security, storage, and memory settings, as well as provide advice about fixing any anomalies.

Similarly, DataStax has no current plans for integration with popular system and network management tools, such as the product formerly known as HP OpenView or IBM's Tivoli Management Framework. For customers looking to integrate DataStax management into a unified system management framework, the only current option is to develop a custom solution using OpsCenter's REST API. For most customers, OpsCenter's visual dashboard will remain the most viable way of managing their DataStax clusters.

Schumacher sees continued ease-of-use improvements as one of DataStax's main areas for future development. Previous releases have already made improvements in terms of automated repairs and consistency checks, as well as automatic capacity planning. In the future, DataStax hopes to augment its Automatic Management Services suite with automatic scale-out, automatic upgrades, and automatic backup and recovery. All of this is intended to smooth the transition from an enterprise RDBMS to DataStax.

That focus on ease-of-use is one part of DataStax's argument that NoSQL is ready for production enterprise environments. The other is performance. With Spark integration, DataStax should be able to provide subsecond latency for most queries. It's hoping to attract customers who have been hesitant to adopt Hadoop as a big data solution because of the high latencies involved in MapReduce. As Schumacher puts it, "We just want to continue to be the go-to NoSQL database for scale and performance."

Ultimately, scale, performance, and ease-of-use will probably all play a pivotal role in driving adoption of NoSQL solutions by large enterprises. DataStax hopes to lead that trend.

This article, "DataStax Enterprise 4.5 turbocharges speed and security," was originally published at Keep up on the latest news in application development and read more of Andrew Oliver's Strategic Developer blog at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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