Riptano , a new company launched recently can be considered Cloudera of Cassandra project. This company was started by two ex-Rackspace employees (disclaimer: Rackspace’s Email Division is a client of Diversity Analysis) to provide support services for Cassandra much like how Cloudera was started to offer support services for Apache Hadoop. When I wrote about Cloudera just before its launch, I compared it to Redhat

Cloudera is planning to do for Cloud Computing what Redhat did for Linux more than a decade back. Redhat took the Open Source Linux operating system, repackaged it and offered it along with paid technical support. They were essentially making money out of a free software (as in beer) by using what was a new and innovative business model at that time. Enterprises were skeptical about Linux till then and Redhat’s model helped in a faster adoption of Linux by the enterprises. Enterprise adoption of Cloud Computing is in the same situation where Linux was more than a decade ago.

In fact, Riptano takes a similar approach to Cloudera, catering to the needs of businesses who are willing to pay for support from people who know the nuts and bolts of the open source software. Similar to Cloudera, Riptano also plans to offer some proprietary components for Cassandra.

Cassandra is under Apache now with the name Apache Cassandra project. Cassandra was originally developed by Facebook following the distributed design of Amazon’s Dynamo and a data model similar to Google’s Bigtable. In 2008, Facebook open sourced the software and it is currently under Apache Software Foundation. Off late, Rackspace has become an enthusiastic supporter of Cassandra project and had three of the most active committers of the project on its payroll. Some of the well known users of Cassandra include Digg, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Rackspace, Cloudkick, Cisco, SimpleGeo, Ooyala, OpenX, and many others.

The minds behind Riptano are the two former Rackers and active Cassandra committers, Jonathan Ellis and Matt Pfeil. They founded the company with support from Rackspace. Cassandra is very durable and the interest among enterprises are due to its scalability, support for multiple datacenters and hadoop analytics.

The starting of Riptano doesn’t mean forking of Cassandra and according to the founders, they see no need for forking because the mainline development team is very active and there is no need for a third party to fork it for additional development. However, they might offer a custom distribution of Cassandra like what Cloudera has done with Hadoop. They also have plans to offer some proprietary tools that could extend the functionalities of Cassandra.

According to Charles Babcock of Information Week, Riptano will offer training and technical support at three levels for Cassandra.

Riptano will offer training in Cassandra, consulting and technical support, said Pfeil, summing up the new company’s business plan. Support will come in Bronze at $1,000 a year per node, Silver at $2,000 a year per node or Gold at $4,000 a year per node. Cassandra typically runs on a server cluster and Cassandra clusters can be expanded to an unlimited number of nodes, according to current users.

The difference between bronze and gold is a 48-hour response time versus a four-hour response.

This is a good strategy from their point of view. Let us see how they are received in the market and I will keep a tab on the company and report back after sometime.

Update: Apologies for spelling the name wrong. I have corrected it. 

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Krishnan Subramanian

Krish dons several avatars including entrepreneur in exile, analyst cum researcher, technology evangelist, blogger, ex-physicist, social/political commentator, etc.. My main focus is research and analysis on various high impact topics in the fields of Open Source, Cloud Computing and the interface between them. I also evangelize Open Source and Cloud Computing in various media outlets, blogs and other public forums. I offer strategic advise to both Cloud Computing and Open Source providers and, also, help other companies take advantage of Open Source and Cloud Computing. In my opinion, Open Source commoditized software and Cloud Computing commoditized computing resources. A combination of these two developments offers a strong competitive advantage to companies of all sizes and shapes. Due to various factors, including fear, the adoption of both Open Source and Cloud Computing are relatively slow in the business sector. So, I take it upon myself to clear any confusion in this regard and educate, enrich and advise users/customers to take advantage of the benefits offered by these technologies. I am also a managing partner in two consulting companies based in India. I blog about Open Source topics at http://open.krishworld.com and Cloud Computing related topics at http://www.cloudave.com.

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