So Cassandra was built using an Amazon architecture called Dynamo, in combination with Big Table. Dynamo eliminated single points of failure while allowing for easy scalability. The Dynamo design is not dependent on any one master node. Any node can accept data for the whole system, as well as answer queries. Data is replicated across multiple hosts.
Cassandra is not the only clustered database built from the ideas of Big Table and Dynamo. Database startup company Cloudant developed a clustered version of the open source database CouchDB using this combination, called BigCouch. Cloudant just announced that it has amassed 2,500 users of its the hosted offering of BigCouch.
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