Apache Cassandra

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Apache Cassandra
Cassandra logo
Original author(s) Avinash Lakshman, Prashant Malik
Developer(s) Apache Software Foundation
Initial release 2008
Stable release 2.1.0 / September 11, 2014 (2014-09-11)
Development status Active
Written in Java
Operating system Cross-platform
Available in English
Type Database
License Apache License 2.0
Website cassandra.apache.org

Apache Cassandra is an open source distributed database management system designed to handle large amounts of data across many commodity servers, providing high availability with no single point of failure. Cassandra offers robust support for clusters spanning multiple datacenters,[1] with asynchronous masterless replication allowing low latency operations for all clients.

Cassandra also places a high value on performance. In 2012, University of Toronto researchers studying NoSQL systems concluded that "In terms of scalability, there is a clear winner throughout our experiments. Cassandra achieves the highest throughput for the maximum number of nodes in all experiments" although "this comes at the price of high write and read latencies."[2]

Cassandra's data model is a partitioned row store with tunable consistency.[3] Rows are organized into tables; the first component of a table's primary key is the partition key; within a partition, rows are clustered by the remaining columns of the key.[4] Other columns may be indexed separately from the primary key.[5]

Tables may be created, dropped, and altered at runtime without blocking updates and queries.[6]

Cassandra does not support joins or subqueries, except for batch analysis via Hadoop. Rather, Cassandra emphasizes denormalization through features like collections.[7]

History[edit]

Apache Cassandra was initially developed at Facebook to power their Inbox Search feature by Avinash Lakshman (one of the authors of Amazon's Dynamo) and Prashant Malik. It was released as an open source project on Google code in July 2008.[8] In March 2009, it became an Apache Incubator project.[9] On February 17, 2010 it graduated to a top-level project.[10]

Releases after graduation include

  • 0.6, released Apr 12 2010, added support for integrated caching, and Apache Hadoop MapReduce[11]
  • 0.7, released Jan 08 2011, added secondary indexes and online schema changes[12]
  • 0.8, released Jun 2 2011, added the Cassandra Query Language (CQL), self-tuning memtables, and support for zero-downtime upgrades[13]
  • 1.0, released Oct 17 2011, added integrated compression, leveled compaction, and improved read performance[14]
  • 1.1, released Apr 23 2012, added self-tuning caches, row-level isolation, and support for mixed ssd/spinning disk deployments[15]
  • 1.2, released Jan 2 2013, added clustering across virtual nodes, inter-node communication, atomic batches, and request tracing[16]
  • 2.0, released Sep 4 2013, added lightweight transactions (based on the Paxos consensus protocol), triggers, improved compactions
  • 2.0.4, released Dec 30 2013, added allowing specifying datacenters to participate in a repair, client encryption support to sstableloader, allow removing snapshots of no-longer-existing CFs[17]

Licensing and support[edit]

Apache Cassandra is an Apache Software Foundation project, so it has an Apache License (version 2.0).

Main features[edit]

Decentralized
Every node in the cluster has the same role. There is no single point of failure. Data is distributed across the cluster (so each node contains different data), but there is no master as every node can service any request.
Supports replication and multi data center replication
Replication strategies are configurable.[18] Cassandra is designed as a distributed system, for deployment of large numbers of nodes across multiple data centers. Key features of Cassandra’s distributed architecture are specifically tailored for multiple-data center deployment, for redundancy, for failover and disaster recovery.
Scalability
Read and write throughput both increase linearly as new machines are added, with no downtime or interruption to applications.
Fault-tolerant
Data is automatically replicated to multiple nodes for fault-tolerance. Replication across multiple data centers is supported. Failed nodes can be replaced with no downtime.
Tunable consistency
Writes and reads offer a tunable level of consistency, all the way from "writes never fail" to "block for all replicas to be readable", with the quorum level in the middle.[3]
MapReduce support
Cassandra has Hadoop integration, with MapReduce support. There is support also for Apache Pig and Apache Hive.[19]
Query language
Cassandra introduces CQL (Cassandra Query Language), a SQL-like alternative to the traditional RPC interface. Language drivers are available for Java (JDBC), Python (DBAPI2), Node.JS (Helenus) and Go (gocql).

Data model[edit]

Cassandra is essentially a hybrid between a key-value and a column-oriented (or tabular) database.

A column family (called "table" since CQL 3) resembles a table in an RDBMS. Column families contain rows and columns. Each row is uniquely identified by a row key. Each row has multiple columns, each of which has a name, value, and a timestamp. Unlike a table in an RDBMS, different rows in the same column family do not have to share the same set of columns, and a column may be added to one or multiple rows at any time.[20]

Each key in Cassandra corresponds to a value which is an object. Each key has values as columns, and columns are grouped together into sets called column families.

Thus, each key identifies a row of a variable number of elements. These column families could be considered then as tables. A table in Cassandra is a distributed multi dimensional map indexed by a key.

Furthermore, applications can specify the sort order of columns within a Super Column or Simple Column family.

Clustering[edit]

When the cluster for Apache Cassandra is designed, an important point is to select the right partitioner. Two partitioners exist:[21]

  1. RandomPartitioner (RP): This partitioner randomly distributes the key-value pairs over the network, resulting in a good load balancing. Compared to OPP, more nodes have to be accessed to get a number of keys.
  2. OrderPreservingPartitioner (OPP): This partitioner distributes the key-value pairs in a natural way so that similar keys are not far away. The advantage is that fewer nodes have to be accessed. The drawback is the uneven distribution of the key-value pairs.

Prominent users[edit]

  • @WalmartLabs[22] (previously Kosmix) uses Cassandra with SSD
  • AppScale uses Cassandra as a back-end for Google App Engine applications[23]
  • CERN uses Cassandra for its ATLAS experiment to archive the online DAQ system's monitoring information[24]
  • Cisco's WebEx uses Cassandra to store user feed and activity in near real time.[25]
  • Cloudkick uses Cassandra to store the server metrics of their users.[26]
  • Constant Contact uses Cassandra in their email and social media marketing applications.[27] Over 200 nodes are deployed.
  • Digg, a large social news website, announced on Sep 9th, 2009 that it is rolling out its use of Cassandra[28] and confirmed this on March 8, 2010.[29] TechCrunch has since linked Cassandra to Digg v4 reliability criticisms and recent company struggles.[30] Lead engineers at Digg later rebuked these criticisms as red herring and blamed a lack of load testing.[31]
  • Facebook used Cassandra to power Inbox Search, with over 200 nodes deployed.[32] This was abandoned in late 2010 when they built Facebook Messaging platform on HBase as they "found Cassandra's eventual consistency model to be a difficult pattern".[33]
  • Formspring uses Cassandra to count responses, as well as store Social Graph data (followers, following, blockers, blocking) for 26 Million accounts with 10 million responses a day[34]
  • IBM has done research in building a scalable email system based on Cassandra.[35]
  • Mahalo.com uses Cassandra to record user activity logs and topics for their Q&A website[36][37]
  • Netflix uses Cassandra as their back-end database for their streaming services[38][39]
  • Ooyala Built a scalable, flexible, real-time analytics engine using Cassandra[40]
  • Openwave uses Cassandra as a distributed database and as a distributed storage mechanism for their next generation messaging platform[41]
  • OpenX is running over 130 nodes on Cassandra for their OpenX Enterprise product to store and replicate advertisements and targeting data for ad delivery[42]
  • Plaxo has "reviewed 3 billion contacts in [their] database, compared them with publicly available data sources, and identified approximately 600 million unique people with contact info."[43]
  • PostRank used Cassandra as their backend database[44]
  • Rackspace is known to use Cassandra internally.[45]
  • Reddit switched to Cassandra from memcacheDB on March 12, 2010[46] and experienced some problems in May due to insufficient nodes in their cluster.[47]
  • RockYou uses Cassandra to record every single click for 50 million Monthly Active Users in real-time for their online games[48]
  • SoundCloud uses Cassandra to store the dashboard of their users[49]
  • Talentica Software uses Cassandra as a back-end for Analytics Application with Cassandra cluster of 30 nodes and inserting around 200GB data on daily basis.[50][not in citation given]
  • Twitter announced it was planning to move entirely from MySQL to Cassandra,[51][52] though soon after retracted this, keeping Tweets in MySQL while using Cassandra for analytics.[53]
  • Urban Airship uses Cassandra with the mobile service hosting for over 160 million application installs across 80 million unique devices[54]
  • Zoho uses Cassandra for generating the inbox preview in their Zoho#Zoho Mail service

Facebook moved off its pre-Apache Cassandra deployment in late 2010 when they replaced Inbox Search with the Facebook Messaging platform.[33] In 2012, Facebook began using Apache Cassandra in its Instagram unit.[55]

Cassandra is the most popular wide column store,[56] and in September 2014 surpassed Sybase to become the 9th most popular database, close behind Microsoft Access and SQLite.[57]

See also[edit]

Academic Background[edit]

Popular Alternatives[edit]

Other Alternatives[edit]

Commercial Companies[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Casares, Joaquin (2012-11-05). "Multi-datacenter Replication in Cassandra". DataStax. Retrieved 2013-07-25. "Cassandra’s innate datacenter concepts are important as they allow multiple workloads to be run across multiple datacenters…" 
  2. ^ Rabl, Tilmann; Sadoghi, Mohammad; Jacobsen, Hans-Arno; Villamor, Sergio Gomez-; Mulero -, Victor Muntes; Mankovskii, Serge (2012-08-27). "Solving Big Data Challenges for Enterprise Application Performance Management". VLDB. Retrieved 2013-07-25. "In terms of scalability, there is a clear winner throughout our experiments. Cassandra achieves the highest throughput for the maximum number of nodes in all experiments... this comes at the price of high write and read latencies" 
  3. ^ a b DataStax (2013-01-15). "About data consistency". Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  4. ^ Ellis, Jonathan (2012-02-15). "Schema in Cassandra 1.1". DataStax. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  5. ^ Ellis, Jonathan (2010-12-03). "What’s new in Cassandra 0.7: Secondary indexes". DataStax. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  6. ^ Ellis, Jonathan (2012-03-02). "The Schema Management Renaissance in Cassandra 1.1". DataStax. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  7. ^ Lebresne, Sylvain (2012-08-05). "Coming in 1.2: Collections support in CQL3". DataStax. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  8. ^ Hamilton, James (July 12, 2008). "Facebook Releases Cassandra as Open Source". Retrieved 2009-06-04. 
  9. ^ "Is this the new hotness now?". Mail-archive.com. 2009-03-02. Archived from the original on 25 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-29. 
  10. ^ "Cassandra is an Apache top level project". Mail-archive.com. 2010-02-18. Archived from the original on 28 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-29. 
  11. ^ The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache Cassandra Release 0.6 : The Apache Software Foundation Blog
  12. ^ The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache Cassandra 0.7 : The Apache Software Foundation Blog
  13. ^ [Cassandra-user] [RELEASE] 0.8.0 - Grokbase
  14. ^ Cassandra 1.0.0. Is Ready for the Enterprise
  15. ^ The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache Cassandra™ v1.1 : The Apache Software Foundation Blog
  16. ^ The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache Cassandra™ v1.2
  17. ^ [Cassandra-user] [RELEASE] Apache Cassandra 2.0.4
  18. ^ "Deploying Cassandra across Multiple Data Centers" article on Datastax Cassandra Developer Center
  19. ^ "Hadoop Support" article on Cassandra's wiki
  20. ^ DataStax. "Apache Cassandra 0.7 Documentation - Column Families". Apache Cassandra 0.7 Documentation. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  21. ^ Williams, Dominic. "Cassandra: RandomPartitioner vs OrderPreservingPartitioner". http://wordpress.com/: WordPress.com. Retrieved 2011-03-23. "When building a Cassandra cluster, the “key” question (sorry, that’s weak) is whether to use the RandomPartitioner (RP), or the OrderPreservingPartitioner (OPP). These control how your data is distributed over your nodes. Once you have chosen your partitioner, you cannot change without wiping your data, so think carefully! The problem with OPP: If the distribution of keys used by individual column families is different, their sets of keys will not fall evenly across the ranges assigned to nodes. Thus nodes will end up storing preponderances of keys (and the associated data) corresponding to one column family or another. If as is likely column families store differing quantities of data with their keys, or store data accessed according to differing usage patterns, then some nodes will end up with disproportionately more data than others, or serving more “hot” data than others." 
  22. ^ Walmart Labs
  23. ^ "Datastores on Appscale". 
  24. ^ "A Persistent Back-End for the ATLAS Online Information Service (P-BEAST)". 
  25. ^ "Re: Cassandra users survey". Mail-archive.com. 2009-11-21. Archived from the original on 17 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-29. 
  26. ^ 4 Months with Cassandra, a love story |Cloudkick, manage servers better
  27. ^ Finley, Klint (2011-02-18). "This Week in Consolidation: HP Buys Vertica, Constant Contact Buys Bantam Live and More". Read Write Enterprise. 
  28. ^ Eure, Ian. "Looking to the future with Cassandra". 
  29. ^ Quinn, John. "Saying Yes to NoSQL; Going Steady with Cassandra". 
  30. ^ Schonfeld, Erick. "As Digg Struggles, VP Of Engineering Is Shown The Door". 
  31. ^ "Is Cassandra to Blame for Digg v4's Failures?". 
  32. ^ "Niet compatibele browser". Facebook. Retrieved 2010-03-29. 
  33. ^ a b Muthukkaruppan, Kannan. "The Underlying Technology of Messages". 
  34. ^ Cozzi, Martin (2011-08-31). "Cassandra at Formspring". 
  35. ^ "BlueRunner: Building an Email Service in the Cloud". ieee.org. 2009-07-20. Retrieved 2010-03-29. 
  36. ^ "Mahalo.com powered by Apache Cassandra™". DataStax.com. Santa Clara, CA, USA: DataStax. 2012-04-10. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  37. ^ Watch Cassandra at Mahalo.com |DataStax Episodes |Blip
  38. ^ Cockcroft, Adrian (2011-07-11). "Migrating Netflix from Datacenter Oracle to Global Cassandra". slideshare.net. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  39. ^ Izrailevsky, Yury (2011-01-28). "NoSQL at Netflix". 
  40. ^ Ooyala (2010-05-18). "Designing a Scalable Database for Online Video Analytics". DataStax.com. Mountain View CA, USA. Retrieved 2014-06-14. 
  41. ^ Mainstay LLC (2013-11-11). "DataStax Case Study of Openwave Messaging". DataStax.com. Santa Clara, CA, USA: DataStax. Retrieved 2014-06-15. 
  42. ^ Ad Serving Technology - Advanced Optimization, Forecasting, & Targeting |OpenX
  43. ^ Smalley, Preston (2011-03-20). "An important milestone - and it's only the beginning!". 
  44. ^ Grigorik, Ilya (2011-03-29). "Webpulp TV: Scaling PostRank with Ilya Grigorik". 
  45. ^ "Hadoop and Cassandra (at Rackspace)". Stu Hood. 2010-04-23. Retrieved 2011-09-01. 
  46. ^ Posted by david [ketralnis] (2010-03-12). "what's new on reddit: She who entangles men". blog.reddit. Archived from the original on 25 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-29. 
  47. ^ Posted by the reddit admins at (2010-05-11). "blog.reddit -- what's new on reddit: reddit's May 2010 "State of the Servers" report". blog.reddit. Archived from the original on 14 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  48. ^ Pattishall, Dathan Vance (2011-03-23). "Cassandra is my NoSQL Solution but". 
  49. ^ "Cassandra at SoundCloud". 
  50. ^ cite web|url=http://www.talentica.com[not in citation given]
  51. ^ Popescu, Alex. "Cassandra @ Twitter: An Interview with Ryan King". myNoSQL. Archived from the original on 1 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-29. 
  52. ^ Babcock, Charles. "Twitter Drops MySQL For Cassandra - Cloud databases". InformationWeek. Archived from the original on 2 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-29. 
  53. ^ King, Ryan (2010-07-10). "Cassandra at Twitter Today". blog.twitter.com. San Fransisco, CA, USA: Twitter. Retrieved 2014-06-20. 
  54. ^ Onnen, Erik. "From 100s to 100s of Millions". 
  55. ^ Rick Branson (2013-06-26). "Cassandra at Instagram". DataStax. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 
  56. ^ DB-Engines. "DB-Engines Ranking of Wide Column Stores". 
  57. ^ DB-Engines. "DB-Engines Ranking". 

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]