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ScyllaDB 5.0 set to advance NoSQL database capabilities

At Scylla Summit 2022, the open source NoSQL database vendor introduced upcoming services including a DBaaS as well as a new platform release, and a user outlined its application.

ScyllaDB hosted its annual Scylla Summit 2022 event Feb. 9-10, introducing an upcoming major release of the open source NoSQL database.

As was the case with Scylla Summit 2021, the event was virtual. The open source NoSQL database vendor now is continuing its efforts to add new capabilities to its namesake ScyllaDB database for both on-premises and cloud users.

During the conference, ScyllaDB revealed details of its new 5.0 open source update, which is currently at the release candidate 1 stage of development. The vendor did not provide a timeline for when 5.0 will become generally available, though it's typical for open source projects to go through multiple release candidate stages before a final release.

ScyllaDB positions its platform as a drop-in replacement for the Apache Cassandra database, which is how many organizations initially try out the open source database.

That's the case for global online retailer Rakuten. During a user session on Feb. 9, Hitesh Shah, engineering manager at Rakuten, detailed how the company is using ScyllaDB to help power its global catalog after transitioning from Cassandra.

How Rakuten uses ScyllaDB NoSQL database

Rakuten maintains a global catalog that derives product information from multiple data sources aggregated in the company's e-commerce platform. When searching for any product, Rakuten users access the global catalog to find comparative product information, including pricing.

ScyllaDB is at the core of the [Rakuten] platform.
Hitesh ShahEngineering manager, Rakuten

Source data from different vendors is ingested into the Rakuten system's processing engine, which validates and normalizes the data so that it is all in the same format. The data pipeline uses Kafka as well as Spark. At the end of the data ingestion process, the data all lands in ScyllaDB.

"ScyllaDB is at the core of the platform," Shah said.

In terms of data processing volume, Shah said the catalog contains more than 700 million items. The ScyllaDB system now also powers data reads of up to 15,000 queries per second for each database node.

Rakuten didn't start out on ScyllaDB, but rather was first running on Cassandra and then migrated to ScyllaDB two years ago.

Shah said that the main reason for the migration was to enable better performance and easier management of the retailer's expanding data needs. While running Cassandra, Rakuten required 21 database nodes; meanwhile, ScyllaDB could support the same work, with better performance, using 6 nodes.

"One of the biggest advantages was it was just a drop-in replacement," Shah said. "So we could basically spin up a new ScyllaDB cluster, migrate our data and start pointing our application to ScyllaDB, and boom, we were running in production."

Screenshot showing how Rakuten uses ScyllaDB
Hitesh Shah, engineering manager at Rakuten, outlined how his organization's global catalog is built with ScyllaDB at the core.

New features coming to open source ScyllaDB 5.0

In the opening keynote on Feb. 9, ScyllaDB co-founder and CEO Dor Laor outlined the direction the vendor is taking with the new ScyllaDB 5.0 open source database as well as a new cloud service coming this year.

The big change for ScyllaDB in the cloud is a new database as a service (DBaaS) that will provide a consumption-based model for database services.

ScyllaDB's current cloud service runs on AWS and GCP with several different options for workload sizing. Laor said the new DBaaS will be more elastic in scalability as workloads grow or shrink. He did not provide specific timing on when the ScyllaDB DBaaS would become available.

Laor also discussed a number of features coming in the ScyllaDB update later this year. Laor said ScyllaDB 5.0 will have a strong focus on performance improvements to accelerate database read and write operations.

Another advancement comes with support for the Raft consensus algorithm to help enable strong data consistency across database nodes. Raft has become increasingly popular in recent years and is also used inside of the Kubernetes container orchestration system.

Laor noted that Raft will enable ScyllaDB to be more elastic and scalable while also providing immediate data consistency rather than eventual consistency.

"We have an extremely solid base for ScyllaDB with Raft," Laor said.

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