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DataStax – the outfit that commercialized the Cassandra distributed database originally open sourced by Facebook – will soon release two new software packages based on the "NoSQL" platform.

Yes, one is free a "community" package, and one is a for-pay "enterprise" offering. But in moving to an "open core" business model – where open source code is sold in tandem with proprietary tools – DataStax is taking a slightly different approach than the likes of Hadoop shop Cloudera or hypervisor management outfit Convirture. The DataStax community edition includes some (but not all) of the company's proprietary software, and it does not limit the number of servers or place other technical restrictions on its use.

But the community edition doesn't include support, and naturally, it's meant to feed adoption of the enterprise incarnation. "We want to provide people with a very easy way to get up and running on Cassandra," DataStax CEO Billy Bosworth tells The Register. "This is one way we want to continue to feed the momentum behind the project...what we here from people who use Cassandra is that they love it, but it's not exactly the best startup experience. We want to make that startup experience very elegant, very easy, very efficient."

DataStax Enterprise is built around the open source Cassandra platform, a distributed database designed to scale across data centers in ways traditional relational databases cannot. But it also includes various proprietary tools meant to facilitate the use of the platform inside the enterprise. These include an installer, client libraries, sample applications, and a web-based tool, dubbed OpsCenter, for monitoring the platform.

"We have to take Cassandra to the mainstream business," says Bosworth. "The mainstream business will demand certain things in and around the open source ecosystem so that it's ready to bring into their mission critical environment."

If you purchase a license for DataStax Enterprise, you'll also get support services from the company. Currently, DataStax offers support contracts for the pure open source version of Cassandra.

Bosworth says that the company has not yet decided the price of this enterprise platform. But it will be available sometime in the fourth quarter, as will the community edition.

The community edition will be completely free. It will not include all the tools available with DataStax Enterprise – and no, it won't include support services – but it will run on as many nodes as you like. It will offer a version of the OpsCenter monitoring application, but this version includes only some of the tools available with DataStax enterprise, including the installer and platform documentation.

Among other things, DataStax will not include its proprietary analytics tool with the community edition. This will only ship with DataStax Enterprise. The community edition, Bosworth says, will also lack tools for balancing loads across a cluster. ®

Update: This story has been updated to show that DataStax's two new software packages will not include Brisk, a techology that combines Cassandra with the Hadoop open source number-crunching platform.

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