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DataStax soft launches Constellation for managing cloud implementations

Like two tandem performers, DataStax ' s global engineering chief Chelsea Navo blew the audience in the clouds as they spun three data centers around the world before deliberately throwing one offline live on stage during the first keynote.

Because the flow of transactions from the multi-cloud application continued uninterrupted, the audience bite in disbelief and then CEO Billy Bosworth came in to make his pitch: "We want to bring this power, performance and resilience to everyone." the public was addicted.

Over the next few days, the only thing anyone wanted to talk about was DataStax Constellation – one of the many services that the company will roll out as part of its DataStax Cloud Platform strategy. The services – and three were announced at the conference – will start later in the year.

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Play to the gallery

The first is called DataStax Cassandra as a Service and is the buzzword-compatible announcement of the conference. The DBaaS (database-as-a-service) product aims to simplify the implementation of apps and the development of services by reducing the process with just a few clicks. To make it more attractive, DataStax has rolled it together with security and other enterprise grade features and offered it based on usage-based pricing.

Constellation will be launched on Google Cloud Platform towards the end of the year, followed by support for Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

At first glance, Constellation sounds like marketing speaking for a frontend that facilitates the process of manually deploying Cassandra in the cloud. Tell Robin Schumacher, Chief Product Officer at DataStax, and he'll set you up in no time:

"Constellation is the general platform and within Constellation you will have a variety of different services that support cloud applications. So it's kind of like Azure; like Azure is for Microsoft, Constellation is for us. Under Azure you have several services that developers It is the same with us, our Cassandra as a Service is not just a frontend, it is our actual product, our Cassandra distribution that is supported by a variety of business components that prepare the Open Source Cassandra project for the production environment and in particular for cloud implementations, so it is actually our Cassandra distribution that runs there with all the wonderful simplicity and everything from the web console that you can point and click, and once you've done that, you have all the underlying power of the actual database at your disposal. "

Constellation was first unveiled during the boot camp before the start of the conference to an audience of capacity that used it all day. Some of the DBA's we spoke to wondered how Constellation relates to InstaClustr, which provides a similar platform for managing Apache Cassandra implementations.

"They do the same, in a way, yes," Schumacher agrees. But quickly adds that InstaClustr takes the Open Source Cassandra and provides a web console to manage it: "If you look at what they do, what our distribution offers, we have a fairly large more enterprise capacity."

A set of features that he highlights and which are missing in InstaClustr are the advanced security features because it is based on the open source Cassandra minimalist feature set: "So for people who have critical needs to protect sensitive data, they want to make sure they are be able to keep track of who has changed what, when, who looked at when, when they need to communicate with all the security packages that their app may have to meet, safety standards and things to that end, they will find that in our service. "

Point and click

Chelsea frightened the public with details about the enormous effort it takes to prepare the infrastructure for a multi-cloud always-on web application; everything that is now hidden behind Constellation's point-and-click interface.

All the way in the middle

When asked about how Constellation fits into the other DataStax products, Schumacher browses through a series of open presentations in his laptop and brings a slide forward in the fourth. Their entry-level product based on the open-source Cassandra is the DataStax distribution of Apache Cassandra (referred to as D-DAC by DataStax). It goes through the company's production certification and gets its own bulk loader with which Schumacher loads data four times as fast as other open source utilities.

DataStax Apache Cassandra as a service builds on top of D-DAC and will also have the company's total advanced performance package, which the company claims will be two to three times faster than open source Cassandra out of the box. In addition to the security package that he mentioned earlier, Schumacher explains that it also gets their self-healing functions that prevent users from having to deal with certain administrative functions that are just a headache to deal with in open source Cassandra.

So is it just DataStax Enterprise (DSE) in the cloud?

"You are right, there are some things that we have moved from DSE to the new service, but there are things that are simply not needed in the cloud that you might need on site. As an example, we have something called DSE multi instance and this allows you to take a certain large piece of hardware and execute multiple copies of our software while simultaneously exploiting that larger hardware, but you don't need that in the cloud because it's already in a container has been saved and contains all the virtual machines and everything else. So there is no reason to take all of that and transfer it to our service. The same applies to some other functions that we have there. "

Existing Cassandra users, who have used the database in both the open source avataar and the corporate dressing of DSE, are very enthusiastic about Constellation. That's because Kassandra is not the simplest solution to roll out and manage – and that is something that even the company is not afraid to point out, especially now that it is no longer a problem with the announcement of Constellation. It is not the nature of Silicon Valley startups to announce software and services that are still under development, making this soft launch even more interesting.

Judging by the positive response from the conference participants, it seems to be the right move for the nine-year-old startup that is said to be preparing to become public soon with a valuation of more than a billion dollars.

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