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Stargate API brings GraphQL to Cassandra database

DataStax has integrated the open source Stargate API 1.0 release into its Astra DBaaS platform, bringing GraphQL to the Apache Cassandra database.

Among the challenges of the open source Apache Cassandra database is that it doesn't easily support a number of common API interfaces, including REST and GraphQL.

DataStax's new Stargate API changes that. The company, based in Santa Clara, Calif., released version 1.0 of the Stargate API. DataStax is one of the commercial sponsors behind the Cassandra database and also has the Astra database as a service (DBaaS) offering that supports the new Stargate API.

DataStax first announced the Stargate API project on Sept. 14 and, together with a community of open source contributors, has been building out the technology in the months since then.

Among the organizations testing the Stargate API is San Francisco-based business review service Yelp.

"At Yelp, we use open source Apache Cassandra to power a variety of use cases," said Sirisha Vanteru, engineering manager at Yelp. "We were looking to move to a GraphQL API to give our Cassandra users the flexibility to access their data without the overhead of coding against the Cassandra driver."

Without the Stargate API, developers have to write additional code to enable access for GraphQL, which makes it easier for data to be consumed in other applications. Vanteru noted that Yelp has started to do some early testing of Stargate in its development environment.


How the Stargate API extends Cassandra

Over the course of 2020, DataStax has been trying to figure out what it can do to help bring more developers to the Cassandra database, said Ed Anuff, chief product officer at the company.

"Developing for Cassandra hasn't been as easy as it could be and what we heard when we talked to a lot of developers was that it would be great if they could talk to it using APIs," Anuff said.

With the Stargate API, the goal is to provide a bridge that will enable the use of common API models including REST and GraphQL with the Cassandra data model. Instead of application developers having to learn an interface model that will only work with Cassandra, they can use an approach they are already familiar with, Anuff explained.

"If you're writing a front-end web page and you want data in a specific format, you can use GraphQL to do so. It's very straightforward," Anuff said. "We do expect that most databases over the next two years will eventually all have to speak GraphQL natively."

Open Source community benefits from Stargate API

While DataStax started the Stargate API and is integrating it with its DataStax Astra DBaaS, the project is an open source effort and can be used by any developer or even rival database vendor.

There are multiple vendors that offer commercial support and services around the Cassandra database, including Amazon and Instaclustr, among others. Anuff noted that the Stargate API is available for use under the Apache open source license.

"Our goal is really to make sure that the Cassandra ecosystem is flourishing and that developers building new applications are using Cassandra," Anuff said.

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