Familiarize Yourself With The Course Tools

DSE Version: 6.7





No write up.

Exercise: Familiarize Yourself With The Course Tools

In this exercise, you will:

  • Launch an Astra database

  • See KillrVideo in action

  • Take a quick look at Theia - an IDE

  • Learn how to use DataStax Studio

Set-up your virtual machine

Please Read...

For Instructor-led Live Event Participants:

If you are enrolled in an instructor-led workshop, your instructor will supply you with a virtual machine hosted in the cloud. So, you can skip this section. Scroll down to the section on Launching your Astra database.

For Self-Paced Participants:

Otherwise, if you are in a self-paced workshop and need an instance of the virtual machine running on your own computer, please follow the instructions in this section to set up your virtual machine.

If you are not sure if you are instructor-led or self-paced, ask the instructor - and if you don't have an instructor to ask, follow the instructions in this section:).

Your virtual machine (either supplied by the instructor, or hosted on your own computer), runs your Theia IDE and your own instance of KillrVideo.

In this section we'll show you how to host the virtual machine on your own machine.



1. Download VirtualBox. VirtualBox is a virtual machine container, which you will need to install to host your virtual machine. Go to https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads and download the appropriate package for your operating system.

2. Install VirtualBox. Here is the link to the installation instructions: https://www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch02.html.  Follow the instructions for your operating system type.

3. Download the Workshop Virtual Machine image. Click on the following button to download the image (Note: the image is several gigabytes and may take a few minutes to download).

Download VM image here

4. Launch VirtualBox and import the Workshop Virtual Machine. Perform the actions as described in the following images:

5. Start your Workstation Virtual Machine. Select the machine image and click the Start arrow.

6. Go to your course landing page. Once you see the command window (you don't need to login), open a browser to When you see the course landing page, you're good to go!


Launching your Astra database.

Without Astra, launching a secure Apache Cassandra™ database can be a daunting task. There are countless 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 Astra. This service streamlines 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. Go to the Constellation website. Open a browser tab, and go to astra.datastax.com.

2. Use your credentials to log in to Constellation. Fill out the Log In dialog with your Constellation credentials, and click the Log In button - or register if you are one of the few people left on the earth without a Constellation account.

3. Set the Compute Size. For the work we are doing, just use the Free Tier configuration.

4. Select the Location. This is the region where your database will reside physically (choose one close to you or your users).

5. Fill in the database name - killrvideocluster. While Astra allows you to fill in these fields with values of your own choosing, please follow our recommendations to make the rest of the exercises easier to follow. If you don't, you are on your own! :)

Database name:


6. Fill in the keyspace name - killrvideo. It's important that you use the name killrvideo (with no 'e' in "killr") here in order for all the exercises to work well. We realize you want to be creative, but please just roll with this one today.

Keyspace name:


7. Fill in the Database User name - KVUser. Note the user name is case-sensitive. Please use the case we suggest here.

Database username:


8. Fill in the Database Password - KVPassword. Once again, please note that the password is case-sensitive. Please use the case we suggest.

Database user's password:


9. Review the values. Make sure the values you entered are as specified here, otherwise many of the following exercises won't work well. Note that the values are case-sensitive!

Make sure you are using these values:

Database name:


Keyspace name:


Database username:


Database user's password:


10. Launch the database. Review all the fields to make sure they are as shown, and click the Launch Database button.

11. View your database. It may take a few minutes for your database to spin up. You will receive an email at that point. But, go ahead and continue with the rest of the exercise now.

12. Let’s review the database you have configured. In the box on the top-left side of the window, you can see the database and keyspace name metadata. The box on the top-right describes the size and location of your database. The lower-left box shows your estimated cost. Once Astra initializes the database completely, the lower-right box will have connection details.

Now let's take the KillrVideo tour.

KillrVideo is our reference app that shows you how to handle many different use-cases with Cassandra. Let's look at the KillrVideo functionality.


1. Open your KillrVideo instance. From the course landing page, click on the KillrVideo link.

You should see something that looks like the following.

 2. Inspect the landing page. A quick look at the landing page (and the "LOADING..." message) alerts you that your instance of KillrVideo doesn't look like the official killrvideo.com site the instructor showed you.

There are two reasons why your instance isn't fully functional:

  • First, the back-end service for your KillrVideo instance is not yet running.
  • Second, even if your back-end service were running, it's not fully functional yet - That's what you get to build in this class!

However, there are some things we can investigate in your own instance of KillrVideo...

3. Try to register. Even though we realize the functionality is missing, let's try to register just to see what happens. Click on the REGISTER button in the top-right corner of the window, fill out the form and click Register.

4. Regain your composure. Yeah, registration didn't work - but that's a good thing. Fixing the identity management service is what we will learn how to do in this course!

Next, we'll look at the IDE we will use in this course.

If we are going to do any development, of course, we're going to need an IDE. We'll use Theia on a cloud instance so we can avoid all the installation and set-up.

Theia is easy to use - take a look


1. Launch Theia. From your course landing page, click on the Eclipse Theia IDE link to open Theia in a new browser tab.

You should see something in a new tab that looks like the following.

Theia looks like most IDEs. Across the top, you see a standard set of menu options.

On the left side is the Project Explorer. You see that we have six different projects.

2. Expand the crud-python project. Each of these projects has many files. You can expand the project and its folders to see the files the project contains. We'll expand the crud-python project because it's a nice simple project.

3. Open db_connection.py. In the project browser you can click on a file name to open the file. Click on db_connection.py to see its contents.

WARNING: Theia automatically saves file changes, so be careful not to change this file at this time.

4. Close the file. We'll consider these projects and files later. We only wanted to open the file to show you how to do it. Now that you know, close the file. Click on the "X" in the file window's tab to close the file.

5. Open a command-shell terminal window. Click on the Terminal menu-item, then on New terminal. You will notice the terminal window open at the bottom of Theia.

6. Enter a Linux command. Just to demonstrate that this is a standard Linux command shell, let's enter the ls command.

You see that we are in the ~/workspace directory. The ls command lists the names of all the project directories.

7. Expand the command-shell window. You can double-click on the command-shell window's tab to expand it to full-screen mode.

8. Return the command-shell window to its original size. Double-click on the window's tab again to shrink the window. By the way, this works for all windows in Theia.

9. Close the command-shell window. Click on the "X" in the window's tab to close the window.

You are now armed and dangerous with respect to Theia.

Finally, let's learn how to use DataStax Studio.

Studio is a development and prototyping tool we will use to Explore Astra. Let's try out an introductory notebook to learn how to use Studio.

WARNING: You will be unable to proceed with the steps in the section of the exercise until your Astra instance is up and running.


1. Launch Studio. Now let's familiarize ourselves with DataStax Developer Studio. Your database machine(s) hosts the Studio application. This application lets you access your Cassandra database via notebooks - we'll show you...

Back in the Astra tab, click on Launch Developer Studio.

2. Enter the connection credentials. Enter the Database username (KVUser) and the Database password (KVPassword). To make sure these credentials work, click the Test button. Once you see that the credential work, click the Save button:

3. Look for the notebook. Here is the notebook you are looking for (if you don't see it, refer to the next section):

If you cannot find this notebook, you can download it - click on this button:

Download notebook here

Then, import the notebook into Developer Studio.

4. Open the notebook. Click on the notebook to open it.

5. Work through the notebook. This notebook explains how to use studio. Either with your instructor, or individually, follow the exercises in the notebook. Once you have completed this notebook, you have completed this exercise!

Woohooo!!! You have your very own full Cassandra database spinning-up! Proudly let your friendly neighbors know you beat them. This isn't a race, but let's see if you finished first.


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