DataStax, the open source start-up which combines Apache Cassandra (the database developed by Facebook) with Hadoop (the number-crunching platform based on Google’s backend infrastructure), has opened an office in London to address the growing Big Data market in Europe.

DataStax has more than 250 customers worldwide, including 20 of the Fortune 100 companies. Netflix, eBay, Thomson Reuters and Synchronoss also rely on DataStax to power their big data applications.

In October 2012, DataStax completed a $25 million (£17m) C round of funding led by Meritech Capital Partners, with participation from existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and Crosslink Capital. The European expansion will allow the company to increase its existing business and address significant growth opportunities in the region.

“The Cassandra community is vibrant throughout EMEA, and we are addressing the huge demand we’ve seen from our existing customers as well as prospects,” said Billy Bosworth, CEO of DataStax in a statement.

Apache Cassandra is an open source distributed database management system designed to handle very large amounts of data spread out across many commodity servers, while providing a highly available service with no single point of failure.

Unlike Hadoop, which is built for batch analytics, Cassandra is built for high-volume real-time transaction processing. Uptime and performance are therefore of the utmost importance.

While traditional databases have a master-slave replication strategy – where one centralised 'master' device handles all the logic and controls all of the 'slave' devices – Cassandra uses peer-to-peer replication, where control and communication is distributed among devices in the field. This means that if one device fails, the others compensate for it.

DataStax's NoSQL big data platform, DataStax Enterprise (DSE) 3.0, combines a production-certified version of Apache Cassandra with Apache Hadoop and Apache Solr. The platform is architected to manage real-time, analytic and enterprise search data all in the same database cluster, enabling organisations to quickly search, manage and scale massive amounts of data.

“Data has a lifecycle, and data has to be analysed to make smart predictions about the future. That data has to get created somewhere, and that system needs to be always up and running,” said Matt Pfeil, co-founder and VP of Customer Solutions at DataStax.

“In our commercial offering we integrated Cassandra and Hadoop so you can get the best of both worlds in one package. By collecting more data points which are created in the online experience, you can do really smart analytics offline to then feed back to the online experience.”

DataStax claims that DSE 3.0 is the first NoSQL big data platform with comprehensive enterprise-grade security. Features include internal authentication, external authentication via Kerberos and LDAP, transparent data encryption, data auditing, secured client-to-node transport and object permission management based on the relational database GRANT/REVOKE paradigm.

“Security is very important to us, so we’re naturally very pleased to see all the new security features in DataStax Enterprise 3.0,” said Kevin Chen, global technical director, Thomson Reuters. “DataStax’s scalability and performance are enabling us to develop an exciting financial data analytics platform that will create a better experience for our audience.”

Matt Aslett, research director at 451 Research added that DataStax's expansion into Europe is indicative of growing global interest in NoSQL database technologies.

“Enterprises around the world are seeing the potential in adopting NoSQL databases for new development projects to unlock the value in data that is unsuitable to be stored and processed in traditional relational databases,” he said.