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Cassandra-based DataStax leads the NOSQL charge, pulls in $25M

DataStax, a startup that wants to bring down Oracle’s relational database, has pulled in $25 million in venture capital funding.

The company’s pitch is that unlike the relational database, it is equipped to handle higher velocity and volumes of data. It sells products built on top of the open source “NoSQL” data store Apache Cassandra, which it melds together with Hadoop.

The story behind Cassandra is the stuff of tech legend. Facebook’s engineers developed the database for its Inbox Search system. Dubbed Cassandra in 2009, it was later distributed to the open source community, although it’s unclear why Facebook wouldn’t hold on to a technical advantage. In 2010, two former Rackspace engineers formed a company to provide commercial support to Cassandra developers. DataStax is an evolution of this vision to offer a SQL-free database to the enterprise.

“Having started my career in the early 1990s on the then new-and-hot relational databases,” Billy Bosworth, CEO of DataStax told VentureBeat. According to Bosworth, who joined the company in 2011, it is part of a “technology shift that will forever change how we interact with data.”

NoSQL databases, such as MongoDB, CouchDB and Cassandra, are increasingly replacing traditional relational databases that are provided by the likes of Oracle. NoSQL databases offer several advantages: They have flexible schemas, which can be updated easily, and they can store very large amounts of data.

The San Mateo-based startup reports a 400 percent growth this year, which it attributes to the enterprise’s bloated budget for “big data.” Likewise, investors’ interest in the enterprise trend has skyrocketed. In 2011, the company raised just over $11 million, and this year it nabbed $25 million.

Currently, DataStax works with tech companies like Netflix and Constant Contact. It plans to use its funding to land more big-name customers and expand internationally. To succeed, it will need to compete against the scores of big data startups, as well as established legacy vendors.

DataStax’s receiving funding from Meritech Capital Partners, and existing investors Crosslink Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

[Top image credit:  Bruce Rolff/Shutterstock]

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