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NoSQL Cassandra gets SQL overlay

Use SQL over CQL – if you've got the cash

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Another day brings another plucky company pitching a way to let a NoSQL system talk SQL.

This time it's Acunu, which claimed on Monday to have cracked problems relating to querying data stored in the Facebook-blessed Cassandra NoSQL datastore.

"With Cassandra the biggest problem we've seen users have was that data modelling is really hard," Tim Moreton, Acunu's chief technology officer, told The Register. "Although Cassandra has a bunch of great features – scale-out, multi-data center support – what it's really missing is the tools to let you build richer applications on top."

"App developers have always benefited from frameworks and productivity tools on top of base technology," he said.

Cassandra already has a SQL-like query language named, rather unimaginatively, CQL. While logicially similar, it requires developers to remember different terms and use slightly different syntax – something they may not be willing to do.

Acunu Analytics indexes data as it's shoved into Cassandra via HTTP API, Flume, or an MQ interface. You can then query pre-designated aspects of the data via SQL.

Where it differs from other realtime analytics systems is that Acunu is for people with a clear idea of the parts of data they want to look at and query, while Hadoop tools such as Cloudera's Impala are for people who want to explore their data.

"Impala is a great solution for making un-preplanned queries on Hadoop go faster. We're not replacing Hadoop in any of the systems that we work with," Moreton said. "We often sit alongside it and other data-warehousing environments."

The market for analytics-on-top-of-Hadoop and Hadoop-like systems has been on a tear of late, as many companies have awakened to the fact that Hadoop is difficult to use, the developers that can use it are expensive, and that there are many more people comfortable with SQL systems than there are with NoSQL.

The last company to trumpet this development was Concurrent, via its Lingual add-on for making sense of Hadoop-stored data.

EMC and ParAccel have also developed SQL query tools for Hadoop.

Acunu Analytics for Cassandra is free for evaluation. Licensing for production systems starts at $40,000 for a multi-node cluster. ®

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