DataStax acquires DataScale; Boundless open GIS gets ecosystem

Posted: 15th November 2016 09:09

In two data-related announcements today, the leading Cassandra distro is going to the cloud and open source GIS gets some Enterprise ecosystem chops.

I've written a lot about NoSQL before, but one thing I haven't addressed is how the major cloud providers have found it indispensable to their platforms. Amazon Web Services (AWS)started with SimpleDB and graduated to DynamoDB. Microsoft started out with Azure Table Storage and then upped the ante with DocumentDB. Google has Cloud BigTable (based on its own foundational in-house NoSQL database). IBM acquired and offers Cloudant.

NoSQL, no service
Meanwhile, the two big open source NoSQL vendors are MongoDB and DataStax (who offers the leading distribution of Apache Cassandra) and their products have either been implemented on-premises or offered in the cloud through third parties. Then two weeks ago, MongoDB announced its Atlas managed cloud service, leaving DataStax the odd one out.

Also read: MongoDB 3.4 fills some enterprise database gaps

Today though, DataStax is announcing that it has acquired open source software cloud provider DataScale, enabling it to offer its DataStax Enterprise (DSE) product as a managed service, to be called DataStax Managed Cloud. While the exact packaging and pricing have not been finalized, the service will initially be available on AWS, with support for other cloud vendors to come.

Bring your own cloud
Customers will need to have their own AWS account, but DataStax intends to make it pretty easy after that, essential requiring the customer to specify its cloud account credentials and nothing else. From there, the DataScale technology will take over, provisioning AWS virtual machines, deploying the software and then actively managing the cluster after deployment is complete.

Through professional services, DataStax will also be able to help customers migrate DSE implementations between a customer's premises and the cloud, or even between clouds, once the platform supports clouds other than AWS. Private cloud deployments will be supported as well.

This is a good buy for DataStax. NoSQL database are quickly becoming associated with managed database services, and customers in some industries are starting to use such services as their baseline. Instead of trying to devise its own service, DataStax is buying a company focused on that competency. It's part of the continuing story of NoSQL's maturation.

Mapping to the enterprise
In other news, and moving from NoSQL to GIS (graphical information systems), we see another instance of open source growing up.

As analytics and Big Data become adopted in more organizations, correlating data with geographically-organized public data sets to add relevance to the data is becoming more common, more critical, and more in demand by customers.

GIS technology addresses this very nicely. But the GIS industry has long been dominated by commercial software, such as that from specialist software company ESRI and its ArcGISplatform. In more recent years, the open source world has been catching up, but it's lacked the cohesion and support that has been a fixture in the commercial GIS software world, leaving customers with sometimes difficult choices.

Have cake, eat it too
Boundless, an open source GIS vendor led by ESRI alumni, and funded in part by In-Q-Tel(the US intelligence services' venture capital arm), has been attacking this problem, bit by bit. It offers support, an SDK and API; a content management system/Web portal called Boundless Exchange, comparable to ArcGIS online; and is working on a Web/Mobile platform too.

Today, the company is announcing a desktop product (Boundless Desktop, a distribution of open source client QGIS that with plug-ins, custom UI changes, support and maintenance) and an ecosytem, called Boundless Connect, which integrates Boundless Desktop, the previously available products, and a community for customers, offering resources, style files, analytical tools and more.

Open Enterprise
A clear theme is emerging in the analytics world: open source is being leveraged for its pace of innovation, its mind share, and its help in avoiding vendor lock-in. It's being deployed into Enterprise implementations and the demand for robust support is growing.

Open source vendors are responding with Enterprise support, SKUs and managed cloud services to make things seamless for their Enterprise customers, and keep them coming back for more. The downstream byproduct is that commercial, independent software vendors are becoming more competitive.

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