Hands-on Cassandra

Eric Evans (Rackspace)
Location: Portland 256
Please note: to attend, your registration must include Tutorials.
Presentation: Hands-on Cassandra Presentation [PDF]
Average rating: ***..
(3.08, 25 ratings)

Apache Cassandra is a robust second-generation distributed database. Its write-optimized shared-nothing architecture results in massive scalability, making it a popular choice at organizations such as Twitter, Digg, and Rackspace.

This tutorial will cover the step-by-step setup of a single-node instance of Cassandra, before moving on to explore Twissandra, a simple Twitter clone written in Python and Django. Finally, best practices for provisioning and supporting a production cluster will be presented.


  1. Introduction
    • Project history, background, and motivation
    • High-level description and comparison to other NoSQL systems
    • Tutorial overview (incl required software)
  2. Cassandra In Action
    • Installation
    • Configuration
  3. Twissandra: A Demo Twitter Clone
    • Installing and running
    • The data model explained
    • Adding support for replies
    • Adding retweet support
  4. Operating a Cluster
    • Hardware selection
    • (De)commissioning nodes
    • Dealing with failures
    • Repairing
    • Snapshotting
    • Monitoring
    • Performance tuning
    • Ring management
  5. Conclusion
    • What to do when things go wrong
    • Further reading

NOTE: Please read through the prerequisites and instructions for this tutorial here.

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Photo of Eric Evans

Eric Evans


Eric Evans is an Apache Cassandra committer and Debian Developer working on distributed systems at The Rackspace Cloud.

Comments on this page are now closed.


Picture of Brian Martin
Brian Martin
07/24/2010 8:58am PDT

I was very disappointed in this presentation. You spent 20 minutes getting everyone’s environment set up. Other presenters required us to use a VM, and provided the VM in advance with everything installed. The benefits in those sessions were: a) everything is set up and tested in advance; b) everybody is using the same environment; c) nothing needs to be untar’d, installed, prepared, etc. I had a short problem early on, and by the time I had that resolved your instructions on what to untar were long gone and any chance of catching up was lost short of stopping the whole presentation. I’ve been in the Unix/Linux business for 30 years, so I’m not a newbie. Using the standardized, pre-destributed VM approach would reduce your set-up complexity and allow more time to focus on the real subject material so you don’t have to fly through stuff so quickly. See Mr Henshaw-Plath’s comments below.

Ben Reece
07/23/2010 4:01am PDT

While it had its hiccups, this was the best hands-on experience I had at the conference. The information was broad and deep and Eric clearly knows his Cassandra. It gave me a clear understand of how and when Cassandra is valuable.

Picture of Eric Evans
Eric Evans
07/22/2010 8:56am PDT

Thanks for the feedback on this Evan, it helps.

Picture of Rabble Evan Henshaw-Plath
Rabble Evan Henshaw-Plath
07/22/2010 7:31am PDT

The VM was nice, got me up and running. My biggest criticism was it was hard to follow live coding, he rushed through it, not enough time to type. He also cleared the screen, so it was hard to follow. Then, then the session ended early.

Picture of Mark J. Levitt
Mark J. Levitt
07/20/2010 5:53am PDT

Good speaking with you via email, Konrad. You should have everything you need now. I hope we’ve left you with enough time to prep your system.

Konrad H
07/20/2010 3:33am PDT

I signed up for the online session last night, but no link was emailed to me of how to connect to the live tutorial online. Please advise.

Picture of Mark J. Levitt
Mark J. Levitt
07/18/2010 1:29pm PDT

Konrad, yes, we will make the tutorial materials available to remote attendees as well as those onsite.

Konrad H
07/17/2010 5:23pm PDT

If we attend online, will the same materials/contents be made available online? Thank you.

Picture of Eric Evans
Eric Evans
07/14/2010 6:23am PDT

I will have USB keys, DVDs, and internal download links. The contents for all of these are the same and include a GPG signed checksum list for anyone that wants to verify the content.

Picture of Brian Martin
Brian Martin
07/14/2010 5:57am PDT

I plan to use the VMWare player, but I can’t say I’m thrilled about the idea of R/W media being passed from laptop to laptop. What better way is there for malware to spread than to have a bunch of laptops from different organizations share a USB key? If you could make that VMWare appliance available for download or bring it on a DVD in additional to the USB key, that would be a lot better. Not everyone will have a DVD reader, but it would help those of us that do.

Thanks for considering this.

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