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From Jonathan Ellis <>
Subject Re: Memtable flush thresholds - what am I missing?
Date Thu, 18 Aug 2011 19:50:44 GMT
specifically the section on memtable_total_space_in_mb

On Thu, Aug 18, 2011 at 2:43 PM, Dan Hendry <> wrote:
> I am in the process of trying to tune the memtable flush thresholds for a
> particular column family (super column family to be specific) in my
> Cassandra 0.8.1 cluster. This CF is reasonably heavily used and getting
> flushed roughly every 5-8 minutes which is hardly optimal, particularly
> given I have JVM memory to spare at the moment. I am trying to understand
> the Cassandra logs but the numbers I am seeing are not making any sense.
> The initial memtable settings for this CF were throughput = 70 MB and
> operations = 0.7  million. The flush messages I was seeing in the logs
> (after a “flushing high-traffic column family” message for this CF) looked
> like:
>                 “Enqueuing flush of Memtable-.... (17203504/600292480
> serialized/live bytes, 320432 ops)”
> So... uh... ~17 MB serialized, ~600 MB live (whatever that means), and ~320k
> ops; the resulting sstables are ~34 MB. This is roughly what every flush
> looks like. Two minutes before this particular flush, GC triggering the
> StatusLogger shows ops and data for the CF as “122592,230094268” or 122k ops
> (sensible) and 230 MB (what???). For at least 2 minutes prior to THAT
> message, nothing else happened (flushes, compaction, etc) for any column
> family which means that this series of events (flush to gc log entry to
> flush) is reasonably isolated from any other activity.
> None of these numbers look even *remotely* close to 70 MB (the
> memtable_throughput setting). Anyway, via JMX I went in and changed
> throughput to 200 MB and operations to 0.5. This did *absolutely nothing* to
> the flush behaviour: still ~17 MB serialized, ~600 MB live ~320k ops, ~34 MB
> sstables, and flushes every 5-8 minutes (I waited for a few flushes in case
> the change took some time to be applied). I also tried changing the
> operations threshold to 0.2 million which DID work so it’s not a case of the
> settings not being respected.
> WTF is going on? What is deciding that a flush is necessary and where are
> all of these crazy size discrepancies coming from? Some additional info and
> things to point out:
> ·         I am NOT seeing “the heap is X full, Cassandra will now flush the
> two largest memtables warnings” or any other errors/unexpected things
> ·         The sum of memtable_throughput across all 10 CFs is 770 MB, well
> less than the default global memtable threshold of ~4GB on a 12 GB java
> heap.
> ·         There are no major compactions running on this machine and no
> repairs running across the cluster
> ·         Hinted handoff is disabled
> Any insight would be appreciated.
> Dan Hendry

Jonathan Ellis
Project Chair, Apache Cassandra
co-founder of DataStax, the source for professional Cassandra support

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