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Cassandra Gets Visual, In A Dense Kind of Way

Grabbing a place on the first releases of 2013 list is DataStax Community Edition 1.2, the latest version of the Apache Cassandra "massively scalable" open-source NoSQL database. The new release comes with a free edition of DataStax OpsCenter, the point-and-click "any device" visual management and monitoring tool for Cassandra.

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This Community Edition 1.2 features virtual nodes, CQL3 improvements, enhanced request tracing, atomic batches, and configurable policies for disk failure. We also see performance improvements focused on memory usage, column indexes, compaction, streaming, and startup time.

"Cassandra 1.2 represents one of the most significant releases of the database yet," said Jonathan Ellis, chief technology officer, DataStax, and project chair of Apache Cassandra.

Ellis suggests that this new release makes it much easier for developers to insert and manipulate data, while CQL3 1.2 allows them to model naturally.

Denser Hardware

"We also worked to improve Cassandra deployments on denser hardware, with features like virtual nodes (vnodes), disk failure policies, and compaction performance."

DataStax Community Edition 1.2 contains all of Apache Cassandra 1.2's features including: virtual nodes for improving "repair and rebuild" times in larger clusters — they also automatically keep the data in clusters balanced across all nodes. CQL3 improvements are also featured — most notably, the addition of collection types, query-able system information, plus a CQL-native protocol, too.

According to DataStax, request tracing allows developers and administrators to trace CQL requests on an individual or collective basis and understand what statements in a cluster are causing performance problems. Atomic batches ensure multiple statements sent to a cluster in batch are always applied in an all-or-nothing basis.

In addition to vnodes, the second generation of Cassandra features atomic batches, inter-node communication, and request tracing. DataStax contends that these enhancements simplify the process of setting up new clusters and enable a higher level of cluster performance.

NOTE: CQL3 (the third version of the Cassandra Query Language) is also being released with Cassandra 1.2. Developers are said to enjoy simplified application modeling, more powerful mapping, and a more natural representation of data that diminishes design limitations.

"There is something in Apache Cassandra 1.2 for everybody," said Aaron Morton, independent Apache Cassandra committer. "Virtual Nodes and CQL 3 will make it easier for new users to set up a cluster and get productive. Existing users will see their clusters doing more thanks to the performance improvements, while everyone will benefit from the insights that request tracing brings."

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