DataStax Grabs Aurelius In Graph Database Acqui-Hire

DataStax scored a $106M funding pay day last September, and today it announced it was using some of that money to acquire open source graph database company, Aurelius, along with its engineering talent.

No terms were disclosed, but all eight Aurelius engineers will be joining DataStax immediately. The new team will begin working on what they are calling “a massively scalable graph database for the enterprise” that works natively with the DataStax Cassandra database.

DataStax is the commercial face of the open source Apache Cassandra database. Aurelius was the commercial face of the Titan graph database.

Matt Pfeil, co-founder and chief customer officer at DataStax, says customers have been asking about graph database functionality for some time. Up until now customers have been forced to build their own on top of the DataStax offering.

“This was something that was on our radar. As we started to ramp up, it made sense from corporate [standpoint] to buy it instead of build it.” He added, getting the graph database engineering expertise was a bonus. “There’s not a ton of graph database experts [out there],” he said.

This expertise is especially important as two of the five major DataStax key use cases — fraud detection and recommendation engines — involve a graph database.

As we’ve explained before, graph databases play an important role in building relationships between data. The most common example is Facebook’s social graph, which consists of the connections between you and your friends in the network. In eCommerce, it’s what makes the connection that “people who bought this, might also like that” on Amazon and other eCommerce sites.

Pfeil said the company is always looking for ways to expand the platform, and this deal gives them the opportunity to add a key missing component.

“Because the database is a platform play, we are constantly looking at the stack and how we can provide higher level functionality,” Pfeil told TechCrunch. He says his company bought Aurelius because it wanted to provide customers with a quality graph database offering.

With the addition of Aurelius, DataStax now claims to be the only database platform with graph, analytics, search and in-memory in one offering.

Matthias Bröcheler, one of the founders and lead developer at Aurelius says the founders had been able to bootstrap the company to this point with actual paying customers, but joining DataStax greatly accelerates what they can do on their own. To this point, they have been building the company using an open source model. While he explained the open source version will live on, he believes moving to DataStax will be another step in the maturity of graphing technology.

For Bröcheler, it wasn’t simply about building a graph database, but building it at scale and giving every enterprise the ability to take advantage of graph data the same way as large organizations like Facebook, Google and Amazon.

He claims there is nothing out there yet that will scale to that level and put graphing data in reach of every company, but that’s what he hopes to accomplish as part of DataStax.

This is a relationship that made a lot of sense. As Pfeil explained, the NoSQL community, of which both companies are a part,  is a small group. As a result, he had known Bröcheler for several years. He was on a walk with him last summer and the idea of an acquisition began to take shape.

After discussions among the internal teams, they made the decision to acquire Aurelius and the deal came together.

Both agreed there was a great cultural fit and they both sounded excited about what the two companies could do together now that they are part of the same organization.

Bröcheler said that some of his paying customers from Aurelius will be following him to DataStax and have told him, they are looking forward to seeing where they can take graphing technology with the resources of a larger organization.