back to article Apache Cassandra at 10: Making a community believe in NoSQL

Ten years ago this month, when Lehman Brothers was still just about in business and the term NoSQL wasn't even widely known, let alone an irritant, Facebook engineers open-sourced a distributed database system named Cassandra. Back then, the idea that huge numbers of companies would need a scalable database was almost …

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Know your market

the most common pushback we got from venture capitalists was [...] who's your market going to be?' I think the passage of time has vindicated [our] vision."

From that bare quote from the V/Cs, I'd say it's the V/Cs doing their due diligence. If the V/Cs think there's no market for your product, you have to show them that there is. V/Cs generally aren't in the business of just giving money away with no prospect of return.

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Anonymous Coward

"Casting back to 2008, Facebook engineers Avinash Lakshman and Prashant Mallik were searching for a way to solve the inbox search problem, to store reverse indices of all the Facebook messages sent and received by users."

For the interested, while Cassandra's implementation originated in Facebook it is almost entirely based on the DynamoDB whitepaper from Amazon (much as Hadoop stems from Google's published work). Later on Cassandra was ditched in favour of HBase due to operational (i.e. it's bloody complicated) and consistency concerns, and HBase itself has recently been ditched in favour of a MySQL-on-RocksDB hybrid that ticks some niche boxes around datacentre-level replication.

Full circles and all that.

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And then apparently instagram released Cassandra on a rocksdb backend.

The circle is a spiral

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Features-led approach

"Proponents of Cassandra argue that the features-led approach of the current PMC will help to fight off such competitors..."

Personally, I'm not a fan of 'features-led' approaches in software development because, in my experience, they lead to frequent breakages, long-standing unfixed bugs, incompatibility between versions and upgrade problems.

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Re: Features-led approach

Or, to put it another way, lots of people get job opportunities fixing the problems, which leads to a wide pool of expertise, and thus widespread adoption as those experienced people seek to add their special sauce elsewhere.

One company I worked for had a lot of machines that used microswitches as basic position sensors. They had a high failure rate, I won't go into why. For years the maintenance department argued that they needed to be soldered in place because of "vibration". But the real reason was that machine operators were allowed to replace push-fit connectors (like pneumatics) but not to solder. The amount of overtime earned was phenomenal until a spoilsport MD with a science degree was appointed and started digging. I found this training in human nature very instructive in later years.

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@Voyna i Mor Re: Features-led approach

I heard a similar story about the ethernet AUI connector. (The ones with the slide-to-lock mechanism on the 15-way D connector) I was told this slide-lock mechanism was devised as heavily unionised electricians went on strike whenever they saw anyone near electrical equipment with a screwdriver.

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Re: @Voyna i Mor Features-led approach

"I was told this slide-lock mechanism was devised as heavily unionised electricians went on strike whenever they saw anyone near electrical equipment with a screwdriver."

A friend who used to commission power stations hated working in the US because of exactly that. His complaint was that he had to wait for a union electrician to turn up to open inspection panels.

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Anonymous Coward

Meh.

Sorry but if you read Cassandra's docs on indexing... and how to use their system... you'd understand that there are some serious design flaws that need to be fixed.

There are certain things that Cassandra can do well. Other things that they can't.

Post anon for the obvious reasons.

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Off to a bad start

I had to use Cassandra in 2011 and it was awful. Maintaining data consistency was a nightmare and it crashed constantly. Searching for documentation often produced photos of porn actresses sharing the same name. I'm hesitant to research the topic now at work.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Off to a bad start

I'm guessing that ScyllaDB would solve this porn problem, along with getting rid of Garbage Collection issues?

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