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SoftLayer hoists Riak NoSQL datastore onto its cloud

Basho hopes to mine rich seam of cloudy dev gold

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Open source NoSQL datastore specialist Basho has teamed up with SoftLayer to hoist the free and paid-for versions of Riak into the cloud.

The availability of Riak and Riak Enterprise on SoftLayer's mid-tier infrastructure cloud sees Basho try and open up another shaft to let it tap the seam of cash that it, like other open-source-pegged companies, believes must exist among members of its user base. SoftLayer opted for Riak in response to customer demand.

"We took a look at the landscape and looked at what our customers are using on us today – MongoDB, Riak, Hadoop, and Cassandra," Marc Jones, a product innovation veep at SoftLayer, told The Register. "Given that [Riak is] a distributed data store, it was a good fit for our platform from a compute perspective, and also from a network perspective."

SoftLayer's infrastructure-as-a-service cloud is spread across 13 digital realty trust data centers across the world. It has standardized its gear on SuperMicro servers, though it has some legacy Dell gear it's getting rid of.

The company exists in that peculiar middle-tier of infrastructure-as-a-service companies that have credibility, but are not large enough to play in the major league of Google, Amazon, Microsoft and – to a lesser extent – Rackspace.

But nor is SoftLayer at the bottom of the capital cliff-face being smashed apart on the bitter rocks of a fast-commodifying industry. Rather, like contemporaries Joyent or Linode, SoftLayer is attempting to survive by specializing in a technical niche.

"We are largely pushing into the big data space based on what we see our customers doing today," Jones said.

To that end, while MongoDB gathers a lot of press for its popularity and use at places such as Foursquare, Cisco, CERN, and Salesforce, Riak has been quietly building up a set of enterprise customers that like its inherent reliability when storing large amounts of data.

And it is this what got SoftLayer interested. Pricing for the service starts at $359 per Basho server per month, and $600 per server running Riak Enterprise. Customers must run five servers by default to gain the redundancy and neat replication features of Riak, and can't use fewer than three.

Basho and SoftLayer both have customers in the advertising and gaming areas, so it makes sense to team up. The partnership strikes us as a scheme by the two companies to make their respective products more attractive in a market increasingly dominated by larger players with great big war chests. ®

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