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Datastax Accelerate 2019: Better Together

This year’s Datastax Accelerate conference was all about reconnecting with the Apache Cassandra community and the significance of collaboration to the development of the new Cassandra 4.0.

“It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes an ecosystem to raise a solution,” said Mark White, Principal, Technology Services, Deloitte, in the opening keynote of Datastax Accelerate 2019. He was referring to Datastax’s vast network of partners and, of course, the Apache Cassandra community who made the solution what it is today.

In large part, Datastax Accelerate 2019 was about showing the community how significant their contributions for the next generation of Apache Cassandra, Cassandra 4.0, are – and how invaluable it is to have a vendor by their side. Nate McCall, Apache PMC chair and ASF member, even said during the technical keynote, “No vendor directly supporting the community is a lonely road to travel.”

Of course, the conference also wasn’t lacking in announcements of new products and services, including Datastax Constellation, Cassandra 4.0, and Opioid360, developed by Datastax partner Deloitte.

Datastax Constellation

Datastax Constellation was the flagship product of Datastax Accelerate 2019. It consists of Apache Cassandra as a Service, Datastax Insights, and Datastax AppStax. To quote Matt Kennedy, Senior Director, Cloud Solutions, Datastax, “Constellation is where we put the products. The products are for sale.”

DataStax Constellation, a cloud-native data platform with smart services that radically simplify and accelerate application development while eliminating the complex overhead of database operations. With Constellation, DataStax plans to simplify Cassandra use and management across both on-premises and cloud resources.

Available as part of the Constellation cloud platform, DataStax Apache Cassandra as a Service simplifies and accelerates modern database deployment – from provisioning to configuration and automated backups. Unlike simpler managed services, Cassandra as a Service is not simply hosting Cassandra on virtual machines. It’s a frictionless, cloud-native service that eliminates the complexities of database operations.

DataStax Insights is a next-generation hosted performance monitoring solution that optimizes on-premises and cloud deployments through fast, accurate problem resolution. Traditional dashboards and visualization tools have limited capacity for identifying and diagnosing database issues. Insights, however, is designed to quickly identify anti-patterns, cluster performance bottlenecks, and database configuration issues with a unified view across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments.

DataStax AppStax is a fully managed data service that provides users with APIs to store and query their data. The APIs are tailored to the use case without having to configure, provision, or manage a database. An intuitive drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to define the data and access patterns. AppStax then automatically chooses the optimal data model, data layout, and query answering strategy based on application requirements, and generates and deploys a set of custom data APIs that are easily consumable.

Cassandra 4.0

Work on database Cassandra 4.0 started in 2016. As the biggest conference since the last major release, 3.0, Datastax Accelerate 2019 was the perfect opportunity to catch developers and customers up on what has been happening with Cassandra 4.0 in the past couple of years.

“A lot of people worked really hard to get where we are today,” Nate McCall, Apache PMC Chair and ASF member, told attendants in his technical keynote. “No marketing team was involved. The product is coming from developers – people just like you.”

As an open source project, Cassandra 4.0 relies heavily on the input from the Apache community in development as well as testing. Some major companies, including Netflix and Apple, have been testing Cassandra 4.0 for themselves. At Datastax Accelerate 2019, they recounted their experience.

The general consensus was that compared to 3.0, Cassandra 4.0 had better operability, scalability, and latencies plus a faster recovery time.

Netflix has tens of thousands of Apache Cassandra nodes and hundreds of clusters; totaling out at tens of millions of operations per second. Cassandra 4.0 testing and benchmarking is in progress at the company, and they have already observed some benefits: streaming is five times faster on 4.0 than on 3.0, and there is no more OOM on Cassandra. Furthermore, Netflix noticed increased availability and reduced default number of nodes.

Apple has over 1600 Apache Cassandra instances with several million operation per second. The company has also been testing Cassandra 4.0 and had a similar experience as Netflix. At Datastax Accelerate 2019, Apple primarily highlighted improved repair. Cassandra is an AP system – meaning that its nodes can be out of sync. Repair ensures that the nodes are consistent. Before 4.0, a full repair took a lot of time. It always took hours, sometimes even days or weeks. Cassandra 4.0 leverages incremental repair – now, full repair only takes minutes.

Deloitte Opioid360

The opioid crisis is weighing heavily on the U.S.. Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die from overdose. The misuse of and addiction to opioids, which include prescription pain relievers and fentanyl, is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare.

For this reason, Deloitte has developed a new solution based on Cassandra aiming to help those affected: Opioid360. It is a tool which calls on different databases and sources to get a 360-degree view of a patient that might become addicted to opioids in the future.

The tool can help to assess the risk of a specific person based on public sector data (medical claims, prescription monitoring programs), social determinants and behavior data (personal or financial data), and digital media and ad data (ad keyword searches, data enrichment with Google Analytics).

Opioid360 helps authorities identify who is at risk, what the barriers to treatment are, and what the best interventions would be. With all the data it gathers, it can help discern patterns and increase the chance of getting a patient the treatment that is right for them.

Opioid360 aims to identify treatment options for individuals examining their network of people, organizations, and resources. It is a visualization of factors and connections that might indicate at-risk patients early on. Public health authorities have been able to do that for years now – but only by hand, usually taking hours, if not days or weeks.

By leveraging the insights Opioid360 grants them, doctors and first responders can quickly decide on the right treatment option – and quite possibly save the patient’s life.

Datastax Accelerate 2019 – it’s a wrap!

Datastax Accelerate 2019 had quite diverse and famous names on its agenda, like Netflix, Walgreens, Yahoo, Facebook, and many more. They all tried to give attendees insights into Apache Cassandra, an overview of new features and products, and a sense of their ongoing collaboration with Datastax.

For example, Intel spoke at the conference, too, and proposed the possibility of Persistent Memory with Apache Cassandra. The project is still in its early stages, but Intel is working together with Datastax and Cassandra open source communities to move Persistent Memory to Cassandra.

The only question without a definitive answer was what comes next. Cassandra 4.0 is being tested and benchmarked, Datastax Constellation is making it easier than ever before to develop apps with Apache – but what now? Nate McCall summed it up, “What comes next? That depends on you. You can and should get involved. It’s open source, after all.”

E-3 Magazine July/August 2019 (German)

About the author

Simone Sailer, E-3 Magazine

Simone Sailer is Managing Editor of

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