How Cassandra Went From Abandoned by Facebook to Powering the Likes of Apple

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casby Angela Guess

Klint Finley of Wired.com reports, “Though Facebook has all but abandoned Cassandra, the technology has gone on to power critical web infrastructure at companies like Twitter, Netflix, even Apple. And DataStax has built a version of the tool for all sorts of other businesses. Having raising over $84 million, the startup now spans over 300 employees, and it’s well on its way to an IPO, landing over 500 customers, including 25 of the Fortune 100, according to Ellis.”

Finley goes on, “Facebook engineers Avinash Lakshman and Prashant Malik originally built Cassandra to power the engine that let you search your inbox on the social network. Like other so-called “NoSQL” databases, it did away with the traditional relational model—where data is organized in neat rows and columns on a single machine—in order to more easily scale across thousands of machines. That’s vitally important for a growing web service the size of Facebook. Lakshman had worked on Amazon’s distributed data storage system called Dynamo, but the two also drew inspiration from a paper Google published in 2006 describing its internal database BigTable.”

He adds, “Mark Zuckerberg and company open sourced Cassandra in the summer 2008, and it helped kick off the now enormous NoSQL movement, along with other databases like CouchDB and MongoDB. Rackspace hired Ellis that very year to evaluate options for a next-generation database, and he tried all the various NoSQL databases available at the time. None, he says, could top Cassandra. ‘Facebook open sourced it, but weren’t moving it forward,’ he says. ‘But the technical foundations were ahead of everyone else’.”

Read more here.

photo credit: Cassandra

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