Even though community support for Cascading will always exist, we ask users to consider purchasing support contracts to help fund the continued development of Cascading.
That said, there isn’t any risk of Cascading stalling or stagnating, but funding through Support and Licensing helps keep the development velocity at a steady clip.
Another way to look at it is as Cascading gets smarter and more efficient, fewer nodes will need to be added to your cluster for it to accept more load. That’s a real cost savings, both in hardware purchases, and in power consumption.
To prove this point, we just finished a Proof of Concept with a company to see if Cascading can both duplicate a Pig load and execute it more efficiently. You can read about it here: Cascading and Pig Planners. The executive summary is that Cascading planned 8 times fewer MapReduce jobs. The fewer jobs, the more efficient use of resources.
Besides, what better Xmas (Valentines, Birthday, etc) gift to give a developer than a year of Priority Cascading Support!