DataStax Merges Enterprise Security, NoSQL In Big Data Platform

The new platform, dubbed DataStax Enterprise (DSE) 3.0, is targeted at organizations looking to adopt NoSQL databases -- a type of next-generation, non-relational database optimized for big data -- without sacrificing the robust security features native to more traditional SQL databases, explained Robin Schumacher, vice president of products at DataStax.

Schumacher said the new DSE 3.0 release is aimed specifically at vertical markets like financial services and healthcare, where massive amounts of data need be scaled quickly while the integrity and protection of that data remains a top concern.

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"There is no built-in security in most NoSQL solutions. And so, [organizations] that want to use NoSQL because they have these big data use cases -- they were kind of stuck," Schumacher told CRN. "So we took that to heart. For DSE 3.0 we ... provide a more secure big data platform that gives enterprises the types of security features they are used to from the relational database world," Schumacher said.

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The new platform is built on the Apache Cassandra NoSQL database, which, like most NoSQL solutions, offers the scalability and high availability required to run big data applications but doesn't necessarily meet enterprise security demands. According to Schumacher, DSE 3.0 changes all that by marrying features like password authentications and client-to-node encryption with the flexibility of NoSQL.

"DataStax Enterprise 3.0 has what I really believe to be the most comprehensive security package that’s out there from any NoSQL provider," said Schumacher. "I don’t think anyone can touch us in terms of what we are giving enterprises in the areas of security."

In addition to general security features like authentications, DSE 3.0 also delivers advanced security features for handling what the company calls "mission-critical" data. Among these features is data auditing, which lets administrators create granular audit trails to keep track of all activities within a database cluster, along with transparent data encryption, which protects data from being accessed by unauthorized users.

Like security, big data management is a major focus of DataStax Enterprise 3.0. The platform includes a visual, browser-based console called OpsCenter Enterprise 3.0 from which IT teams can manage their big data initiatives. Administrators can use the solution to create and monitor new database clusters, both on-premise and in the cloud, using a familiar point-and-click user interface, explained Schumacher.

What's more, OpsCenter also provides visual restore management capabilities, allowing administrators to restore a database cluster from back-ups. Schumacher said the tool can provide both full-system restores along with object-level restores.

"We allow for object-level restores, which is important, because if you just happened to accidentally drop an important table or delete some data out of a particular table, the last thing you want to have to do with a database that's 2 terabytes in size is a full database restore just to get that object data back," he said.

DSE 3.0 is built on the Cassandra 1.1 release. DataStax also bundles Apache Hadoop with its system to handle batch data analysis tasks, as well as Apache Solr to add search capabilities.

The DataStax Enterprise platform today is mostly sold direct from DataStax, Schumacher said, although the company is starting to work with new partners, including Accenture. While tackling big data is often seen as a "big company" problem, the majority of DataStax's customers tend to be small and mid-size businesses.

"Just because they are small doesn't mean they don't have a lot of data coming in," Schumacher said.