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DataStax eyes growth in APAC

DataStax opens regional headquarters in Singapore to tap the growth opportunities in Asia-Pacific where more organisations are modernising legacy systems and building cloud-native apps

Open-source database supplier DataStax is counting on the growing use of NonSQL databases as it expands its footprint in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, where enterprises are modernising legacy applications and using cloud services in droves.

“These applications will need a data store that is massively scalable, not just vertically scalable, but horizontally scalable across clouds, datacentres and geographies,” said Deb Dutta, general manager for DataStax in Asia-Pacific and Japan.

Founded by two former Rackspace engineers who worked on Cassandra, DataStax offers support services for the NoSQL database, a commercial version of Cassandra and a database-as-a-service offering called Astra. It recently opened a regional headquarters in Singapore to tap the growth opportunities in APAC.

“APAC is a natural progression, because this is where the growth is happening,” said Dutta. “This is where the modern applications are most needed as digital native companies come onboard. This region is of immense importance for DataStax as a company.”

As a sign of things to come, DataStax plans to expand its partner network in more ASEAN markets and engage more developers across the region. In Singapore, it has set its sights on the public sector.

The exact number of Cassandra users in APAC is unknown, but like any open-source software company, DataStax is courting enterprises that don’t have time or resources to deal with the day-to-day tasks of managing, updating, hardening and fine-tuning open-source software.

Dutta said with Astra, for example, enterprises can spin up a Cassandra database in six minutes instead of provisioning the infrastructure needed to support the database, which could take as long as six months.

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Aaron Mortan, DataStax’s New Zealand-based field chief technology officer, said besides services and support, DataStax’s commercial Cassandra offerings allow integrations with identity management systems, Apache Solr for enterprise search and Apache Spark for analytics workloads.

These capabilities come at a time when enterprises are weaning off traditional relational databases as they shift from monolithic applications towards cloud-native apps that are increasingly being containerised. “Customers are finding themselves too locked into traditional relational databases,” said Dutta. “The total cost of ownership is very high and it’s very difficult to make subtle changes without doing a lot of other things.”

Astra is available through public cloud providers including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud across the APAC region. Dutta said plans are also afoot for DataStax to partner with local cloud players in markets such as India.

“The objective is to provide customers with a choice of cloud providers and APIs that developers want to work with,” said Dutta, referring to application programming interfaces such as the popular Rest API that developers can use to create and manage database records.

Besides DataStax, major cloud suppliers are also peddling managed services for Cassandra and other NoSQL databases. These include Amazon Keyspaces for Apache Cassandra, Azure Managed Instance for Apache Cassandra and MongoDB Atlas on Google Cloud.

In 2020, MongoDB teamed up with Alibaba Cloud on ApsaraDB for MongoDB, a managed database service that comes with automatic monitoring, backup, and disaster tolerance capabilities.

Popular with cloud application developers, MongoDB has been downloaded over 100 million times over the past decade, most of which are in Asia, according to Alan Chhabra, senior vice-president for worldwide partners and APAC sales at MongoDB.

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