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DSE Version: 6.7

Cassandra App Development: Spinning Up a Cluster

Write Up



Building a 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.


Write Up

The first step in Cassandra™ app development is to create your Cassandra™ Cluster. DataStax Cloud lets you easily and quickly spin up a 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.


Exercise: Create a Cassandra™ Cluster


In this exercise, you will:

  • Familiarize yourself with DataStax Cloud for creating a Cassandra cluster
  • Create a Cassandra Cluster
  • Verify the status of your cluster

Without DataStax Cloud, launching a secure 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 screen and click the Log In button.


2) After you log-in, you will see several options including being able to Launch a Cluster and Learn about DataStax Cloud. The option to Learn about DataStax Cloud will lead you to these learning units. But we want to create a cluster. Click on Launch a Cluster.

launch cluster.png

3) 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, 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) 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 storage space or throughput.

num nodes.png

6) 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) 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 youre 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) 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) With the configuration set, click Continue to, uh, continue indecision

end first window.png

10) 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. Well call our cluster the killrvideocluster. Also, enter the keyspace name. Call it KillrVideo.


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.

cluster name.png

11) As previously mentioned, on this screen we 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) 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) 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 you cluster is ready. Click on the View Cluster button.


14) On this window, 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 part 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) You see the menu with the Park option. Click on Park.


park option.png

19) Confirm that you want to park the cluster by clicking 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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