March 20th, 2013


Christian Hasker: Editor of Planet Cassandra, A DataStax Community Service

Stephen Broner: Senior Developer at See.Me



Joining us at NYC* Big Data Tech Day is Steve Broner. Steve, what your impression of the show so far?

 It’s been great, I’ve gotten to meet with a lot of unique representatives from some major brands like eBay and others. I’ve learned a lot from the folks over on the front lines working with Cassandra directly and I’ve had a chance to send some ideas across and get some very helpful feedback.


What does See.Me do? is an online community for creatives. So whether you’re a photographer, model, musician or designer you can join our community and support other creative, be supportive and pretty soon earn money from your passions.


So let’s talk a little about Cassandra, I understand you have a MySQL background; why the switch?

At we’re being proactive about the needs of our users and future user base, which is growing. Right now we’re about around 700,000 users and growing a few thousand a day; we foresee that MySQL can’t handle our data ingestion needs it also doesn’t address things like search and analytics. But I would say the biggest motivator for the switch is that Cassandra scales readily and is designed for scale. We need it for resilience, stability and to handle the growth.


You mentioned search and analytics, so I understand you’re interested in Datastax Enterprise and just doing some research and getting to grips with it. What are some of the features that you find attractive in that platform?

For Cassandra itself, I initially did the research for a different company years back and I was interested in the scalability and performance for reads and writes. DataStax Enterprise in specific, I’d say that we really love the idea of an out-of-the-box solution that combines, without ETL, Cassandra for storage, Solr for search (which we’re already using with MySQL to great effect), and also Hadoop for analytics. And we have work to do on designing our algorithms and to get smart for not just matching creators but images and aesthetics. Bringing this all together, being a small business without a big budget, we can do a lot for our users.


Excellent. And that’s why we’ve done a lot of the heavy lifting of the integration so that you don’t have to build your own platform. What advice, as you get into Cassandra and DataStax Enterprise, do you have to pass on to people who come from a relational background?

I would say take advantage of the fact that Cassandra has, from very early on, been very open sourced and community engaged.  There are lots of resources including webinars that convey to you, faster than reading the manual in some cases, how you can use this to get up and running quickly and that was important to me.  Participating in a webinar allowed me to understand not just which version of Cassandra is right for my company but which version of Cassandra I needed to sell to my teammates, to make the transition from MySQL and to really sell the importance/impact of it for people who are not on the front lines of data.

Steve, thank you very much for taking a few minutes today at NYC* Big Data Tech Day. Enjoy the rest of the show and we look forward to having your participation in the community moving forward!