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From Jonathan Ellis <>
Subject Re: tombstones problem with 1.0.8
Date Tue, 03 Apr 2012 23:10:55 GMT
Removing expired columns actually requires two compaction passes: one
to turn the expired column into a tombstone; one to remove the
tombstone after gc_grace_seconds. (See

Perhaps CASSANDRA-2786 was causing things to (erroneously) be cleaned
up early enough that this helped you out in 0.8.2?

On Wed, Mar 21, 2012 at 8:38 PM, Ross Black <> wrote:
> Hi,
> We recently moved from 0.8.2 to 1.0.8 and the behaviour seems to have
> changed so that tombstones are now not being deleted.
> Our application continually adds and removes columns from Cassandra.  We
> have set a short gc_grace time (3600) since our application would
> automatically delete zombies if they appear.
> Under 0.8.2, the tombstones remained at a relatively constant number.
> Under 1.0.8, the tombstones have been continually increasing so that they
> exceed the size of our real data (at this stage we have over 100G of
> tombstones).
> Even after running a full compact the new compacted SSTable contains a
> massive number of tombstones, many that are several weeks old.
> Have I missed some new configuration option to allow deletion of tombstones?
> I also noticed that one of the changes between 0.8.2 and 1.0.8 was
> which changed code to
> "avoid dropping tombstones when they might still be needed to shadow data in
> another sstable".
> Could this be having an impact since we continually add and remove columns
> even while a major compact is executing?
> Thanks,
> Ross

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

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