DataStax CEO on Why Big Data Is a Big Deal

And why Larry Ellison's Oracle should be concerned

   

This week DataStax announced a $25 million C round, which was led by Meritech Venture Parnters. The company is a fast-growing player in the hot Big Data market, which is benefiting from megatrends like mobile, the cloud and social networking.

I recently interviewed DataStax CEO Billy Bosworth, who has over 20 years experience in the database market, with his last stint at Quest Software. That company was recently sold to Dell (NASDAQ:DELL).

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Here’s what Bosworth had to say:

Q: How do you define Big Data? Why is it important?
A: Big Data has become a catch-all term, but the general definition from multiple analysts is one that we subscribe to, which is that it involves the challenges associated with distribution/complexity, variety, volume and velocity of data that are not suited to traditional relational databases.

We are living in a world where we need to know everything about everyone all the time. Big data is the key differentiator for companies looking to gain a competitive advantage or solve some of the most difficult challenges facing the world today.

Q: What makes your product different?
A:
DataStax Enterprise is the only Big Data platform powered by Cassandra, which is a proven open software platform. We enable customers to run their most critical applications in a continuously available architecture, even across multiple data centers and the cloud.

We are a fast-growing software company with over 200 customers, ranging from start-ups to 15 of the Fortune 100. DataStax Enterprise not only delivers production-ready Cassandra, but also goes one step further by integrating the best-of-breed Big Data technologies like Apache Hadoop for analytics, and Apache Solr for search.

Q: This week is the mega Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) conference. Larry Ellison has been pushing the cloud pretty hard. But might the company’s database business be in jeopardy?
A:
We have moved away from the days of one-size-fits-all databases. Our customers tell us that relational database technologies, which are now 35 years old, are oftentimes not well suited to power their modern-day enterprise Web applications or Big Data systems.

Architecturally, DataStax gives our customers flexibility to build their apps across data centers and into the cloud as needed. It is not an either/or proposition. Relational databases don’t have the features that exploit the benefits of the cloud, and do not offer continuous availability at scale.

Q: How important was the Splunk (NASDAQ:SPLK) IPO for Big Data? Expect more deals over the next year?
A:
Splunk is an application that solved a tremendous problem for IT users. That’s different from being a Big Data infrastructure play like DataStax Enterprise, though. I think it’s a misnomer to try and lump all Big Data companies behind a representative case. As more companies IPO, I think we’ll have a clearer answer to the long-term landscape of Big Data companies.

Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPOPlaybook, a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He is also the author of “How to Create the Next Facebook.”  Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.


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