Two major trends have emerged in the Big Data channel in recent months: First, NoSQL is becoming an increasingly popular database choice, and second, commitment to security is finally catching up with the drive to build Big Data infrastructures as quickly as possible. In a move that reflects both of these traits, DataStax has unveiled a new platform that combines easy NoSQL deployment with rigorous (by NoSQL standards, at least) security tools.

NoSQL, a class of databases that provide the same ultimate functionality as traditional database solutions such as MySQL but do it using an unorthodox approach that works particularly well with very large amounts of data, has been rising in popularity in recent months. As The VAR Guy himself noted back in October, for instance, NoSQL has been on VMWare's radar in its ISV strategy. Talend, a major open source Big Data vendor, announced the addition of NoSQL support around the same time.

Meanwhile, DataStax has been focusing intently on the NoSQL scene since the company's founding in 2010 by two former employees of cloud vendor Rackspace. In particular, DataStax's solutions cater to the NoSQL implementation produced by the open source Apache Cassandra project. DataStax is a young venture, but it enjoys an advantageous position in a growing market given its strong investment in a segment of the Big Data channel that promises to grow rapidly.

Big Data + Big Security: A Novel Idea?

That's particularly relevant now that DataStax is combining NoSQL with another area of focus that is emerging as a key component of the Big Data channel, security. In recently released version 3 of its flagship DataStax Enterprise platform, the company delivers value-added security features for Cassandra. These include LDAP and Kerberos encryption for authenticating users, data encryption to prevent unauthorized access and auditing functionality to help administrators keep track of database activity.

Now, as one DataStax representative put it in an email, "NoSQL no longer means no security." That's important, because security has been a significant concern with NoSQL deployments--as it is, more generally, in the Big Data world writ-large, where the rapid rate at which organizations have built infrastructures for holding massive amounts of data has often far outpaced the development of best practices for keeping it secure.

In many other contexts, security features such as Kerberos authentication and data encryption would represent the most basic, minimal requirements that any decent IT administrator would expect on her systems. But given NoSQL's history, implementing these protections against abuse is actually a big deal. It also highlights the wealth of opportunities that remain for channel partners at the cross-section of Big Data and security. Will they pay attention?