Aster Data Friends MySpace, Making the Most of 2009

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Yesterday, what’s old became new again for Aster Data Systems, when initial public customer MySpace released a video love letter to the analytic database specialist. The numbers in this relationship are well documented — 2-3 TB of new data each day, hundreds of terabytes overall, 7-10 billion events daily, 100 percent of clickstream traffic and offline data processing — but the video also tells a new story.

When MySpace grows, its reliance on Aster grows. For example, a brand new Aster cluster handles the sea of data for MySpace Music, which provides partner record labels with information ranging from how much money they can expect to make from the service to how particular songs are performing.

In a particularly glowing video moment, MySpace Vice President of Data Services Hala Al-Adwan compares life before Aster to “an age where there was no light.” Her statement strikes me as a tad hyperbolic, but then again, I’m not tasked with handling that data load. Who am I to argue?

The MySpace video is just the latest boon for Aster, which before the end of the first quarter, already has had a full year’s worth of highlights.

In January, the San Carlos, Calif.-based data warehousing company announced $12 million in Series B funding, a number that grew to $17 million last week. On the personnel front, the company added a new vice president of strategic alliances in late January, and just yesterday announced a new technical services head, who jumped ship from rival Greenplum. Aster also announced an early-year alliance with business intelligence giant MicroStrategy.

As with any company on the cutting edge, however, the product supplies the real highlights. In Aster’s case, that meant rolling out a cloud computing version of its nCluster analytic database last month, available to both Amazon EC2 and AppNexus customers. The first Amazon customer publicly using nCluster – Cloud Edition is ShareThis, developer of the popular content-sharing widget. The company, which now does all of its computing with Amazon Web Services, collects about 400 million URLs every day (around 12 billion a month) from people sharing and viewing content, and handles about 2TB of data each month, CTO Nanda Kishore told us.

The goal of deploying Aster’s software is to empower publishers — and ShareThis — to take full advantage of these mountains of data. For example, Kishore says, a top 10 media site is very interested in tracking URL sharing across the Web so it can publish a real-time popularity widget. For its part, ShareThis is working on an application to show users what topics are popular among their social networks.

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