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DSE Version: 6.7

Cassandra Application Development: Spinning Up a Cluster




Building an Apache Cassandra™ based application? Step one - spin up a cluster. That used to be an uber ops-headache, but DataStax Cloud makes it quick and painless. This unit shows you how.

DataStax Cloud lets you easily and quickly spin up an Apache Cassandra™ cluster without all the headaches and complexity of building your own cluster from scratch. This learning unit walks you through the steps to create a cluster quickly, so you can get on to developing your app.

Use the exercise as a tutorial - it walks you through how to create a cluster using DataStax Cloud. To see how easy it is, click on the Exercise tab.

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Exercise: Create an Apache Cassandra™ Cluster

In this exercise, you will:

  • Familiarize yourself with DataStax Cloud for creating an Apache Cassandra™ cluster

  • Create a Cassandra cluster

  • Verify the status of your cluster

Without DataStax Cloud, launching a secure Apache Cassandra cluster can be a daunting task. There is a myriad of decisions to make about various settings and configuration options. While most of these configuration settings have defaults, it is difficult to know which defaults to use and which ones to change.

But things are different thanks to DataStax Cloud. DataStax Cloud has simplified the process down to a handful of simple configuration parameters that are easy to understand and set. This exercise shows you just how easy this is.


1) Use your credentials to login to DataStax Cloud. Fill out the login dialog with your credentials and click the Log In button.


2) After you log-in, select the option to Launch a Cluster. FYI - The option to Learn about DataStax Cloud will lead you to these learning units. Click on Launch a Cluster.

launch cluster.png

3) Select Amazon Web Service. On the next window, you have several options for configuring your cluster. Use the top-left area of the window to select the service you want to use to deploy your cluster. Click on the AWS button to select Amazon Web Service.

cloud vendor.png

4) Next, Select the AWS region. You can select the AWS region where you want to deploy your cluster. Expand the options list by clicking on the down-arrow symbol and select the region closest to you.

select region.png
region list.png

5) Select the number of nodes (i.e., 3) in your cluster. Use the middle section on the left of the window to determine the number of nodes in your cluster. We are just prototyping, so we will only use 3 nodes. However, for other projects, you might want to increase the number of nodes to have more storage space or throughput.

num nodes.png

6) Set the size of the machines in your cluster to small. Use the bottom-left section of the window to set the size of the machines in your cluster. You have three options: small, medium and large. For this exercise, set the machine size to small.

node speed.png

7) Review the information on the top-right portion of the window. You may have noticed in the top-right portion of the window several helpful notes. Let’s review these notes. The first note says that the replication factor for the keyspaces in your cluster is three. You cannot change this setting, but that’s OK because three is an appropriate setting for most general purpose keyspaces. The second note is a reminder to park your cluster when you are not using it. This will save you money. The final note tells you that you can change the number of nodes or regions later if you need to. So, no need to wring your hands over these settings at this point. Just take your best guess and adjust later if necessary.


8) Try viewing both cost estimate options. The bottom-right section of the window helps you estimate the cost of running your cluster. You can click on the radio button to view the cost on a per-minute or a monthly basis. The two lines are estimates for the cluster when it is running versus when it is parked. Try clicking the radio buttons to see both sets of values.

cluster cost.png

9) Let's continue to the next window. With the configuration set, click Continue to, uh, continue indecision

end first window.png

10) Name the cluster killrvideocluster and the keyspace killrvideo. This brings you to a second configuration screen. On this screen, we specify names for the cluster, keyspace and initial cluster user. To keep your life simple, DataStax Cloud limits you to one keyspace on your cluster with a replication factor of three. So, you only have to specify a single keyspace name. Start by entering the cluster name. We will call our cluster the killrvideocluster. Also, enter the keyspace name. Call it killrvideo (unless you put the name in quotes, it will default to all lowercase).

cluster name.png


Currently, the cluster name is a unique identifier which cannot be changed or ever reused (even after you terminate the cluster), so you may want to consider carefully what you name your clusters.

11) Also specify the initial Cassandra user name and password. For this exercise, we will use KVUser for the username and KVPassword for the password. Fill in these three fields.

user name.png

12) Launch the cluster! Once again, notice that the top-right section of the screen shows the estimates for running the cluster just like on the previous screen. At this point we can click on the Launch Cluster button.

launch cluster final.png

13) Click on the View Cluster button. Once you launch the cluster, you will see the following dialog box. It will take a few minutes for your cluster to be up and running, and you will receive an email when your cluster is ready.


14) Lets review the cluster you have configured. On the left side of the window, you can see the cluster and keyspace name metadata. The middle section describes the size and location of your cluster. The right side gives you the cost estimate and the amount spent for the month.


15) Once you receive the email that your cluster is up and running, review the health of your cluster. Click on the Health link.


16) Explore the various metrics under the Health link section. There is a lot of information here that will help you understand the load on your cluster so you will know when you need to resize. We wont go into this now, but just be aware that this information is available to you.


17) Finally, it’s important to know how to park your cluster so you aren’t paying top-dollar for your cluster when it’s idle. Click on the Summary link to get back to the previous window. Then click on the ellipses.


18) Click on Park.

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19) Confirm that you want to park the cluster. Click the Park Cluster button. It will take several minutes for your cluster to park. You will receive an email once DataStax Cloud parks your cluster.



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