ScyllaDB powers up Alternator: an open Amazon DynamoDB API

Companies normally keep things pretty quiet in the run up to their annual user conferences, so they can pepper the press with a bag of announcements designed to show how much market momentum and traction that have going.

Not so with ScyllaDB, the company has been dropping updates in advance of its Scylla Summit event in what is perhaps an unusually vocal kind of way.

The company has just announced Alternator, an open source software project designed to enable application-level and API-level compatibility between Scylla and Amazon’s NoSQL cloud database, Amazon DynamoDB.

Scylla itself is a real-time big data database that is fully compatible with Apache Cassandra and is known for its ‘shared-nothing’ approach (a distributed-computing architecture in which each update request is satisfied by a single node –processor/memory/storage unit to increase throughput and storage capacity.

Scylla’s DynamoDB-compatible API will be available for use with Scylla Open Source, supporting the majority of DynamoDB use cases and features.

Alternator allows DynamoDB users to migrate to an open source database that runs anywhere i.e. on any cloud platform, on-premises, on bare-metal, virtual machines or Kubernetes.

Reversing a trend

“Cloud vendors routinely commercialise open source software,” said Dor Laor, CEO and co-founder, ScyllaDB. “With Alternator, we’re reversing that trend by creating open source options for a commercial cloud product. Open source software is all about disrupting the existing model and creating new opportunities for users. True to our roots, we’ve first released the Alternator source upstream for feedback and exploration; later this year we’ll incorporate it in our free open source distribution, followed by our enterprise and hosted products.”

Both Scylla and DynamoDB have their roots in the Dynamo paper, which described a NoSQL database with ‘tunable’ consistency.

Scylla’s close-to-the-hardware design claims to improves on DynamoDB’s price/performance ratio, which is meant to democratize access to real-time big data.

Alternator gives developers greater control over large-scale, real-time big data deployments, starting with costs. A typical Scylla cluster will cost 10%-20% the expense of the equivalent DynamoDB table.

Cluster luck

Alternator also frees developers to access their data with fewer limits by eliminating payment per operation — they can run as many operations as their clusters support.

Let’s also note that Alternator gives developers the ability to control the number of replicas and the balance of cost vs. redundancy to suit their applications. They can set and change the replica number per datacentre, the number of zones and the consistency level on a per-query basis.





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