The NoSQL market continues to red hot with everyone throwing their hat into the ring. One of the stalwarts of the segment, Apache's Cassandra project just released the 1.1 version of the NoSQL database and it has significant new features among which are improved caching, a revised query language and better Hadoop integration.
I had a chance to chat with Jonathon Ellis, the project chair for Apache Cassandra, as well as co-founder and CTO at DataStax, the company that offers commercial support and commercial versions of Cassandra. Jonathon was originally at Rackspace and led a lot of the heavy lifting as Cassandra was first accepted to the Apache Incubator and then spun off as an Apache project in its own right. He is very excited about the 1.1 release because to him it represents a real maturing of the product. That is not insignificant when much of the competition can measure their existence in months and not years.
One of the things Ellis was most excited by was the integrated caching now available in the Cassandra. While many use the open source Memcached, Ellis said that by integrating Cassandra's own native caching it has really improved performance. Also it makes it easier to develop in Cassandra.
Another big improvement in this version is the update to CQL (Cassandra Query Language). The CQL was originally developed by the Rackspace folks and added in to Cassandra .8. I believe the new version is CQL version 3. CQL is similar to SQL and eases the migration path for database developers moving over from the SQL world.
Speaking of Rackspace, they announced the open source release a Cassandra CQL driver for node.js as well yesterday. You can read all about it on the Rackspace blog here.
In the meantime Cassandra keeps rolling along with hundreds of installs among them: Adobe, Appscale, Appssavvy, Backupify, Cisco, Clearspring, Cloudtalk, Constant Contact, Digg, Digital River, Expedia, Formspring, IBM, Mahalo.com, Morningstar, Netflix, Openwave, OpenX, Palantir, PBS, Plaxo, Rackspace, Reddit, RockYou, Shazam, SimpleGeo, Spotify, Twitter, Urban Airship, US Government, Walmart Labs and Yakaz (in alphabetical order obviously).
Ellis believes that this release will really help DataStax as well. As more people move to Cassandra it is only natural that they will look for support, services and enhanced functionality, all things that DataStax offers.
While I don't know who the leader of the NoSQL pack is, it is clear that Cassandra is right up there and a force to be reckoned with in NoSQL.