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Robin Schumacher, SVP and Chief Product Officer

The Five Minute Interview –

By Robin Schumacher, SVP and Chief Product OfficerMarch 20, 2013

This article is one in a series of quick-hit interviews with companies using Apache Cassandra and/or DataStax Enterprise (DSE) for key parts of their business.  For this interview, we talked with Stephen Broner who is a senior developer at

DataStax: We’re doing this interview live at our Cassandra New York Big Data event. Stephen, what are your impressions of the show so far?

Stephen:  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.

DataStax: What does do?

Stephen: 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.

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

Stephen:  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 and 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.

DataStax: 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?

Stephen:  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. Specifically, with DataStax Enterprise, 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 getting smarter for not just matching up creators, but also with images and aesthetics. Bringing this all together, being a small business without a big budget, we can do a lot for our users with DSE.

DataStax: What advice do you have to pass on to people who come from a relational background and are getting started with NoSQL and DataStax Enterprise?

Stephen:  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 and videos 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 was 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.

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

Stephen:  Thanks!

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