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From Alon Pilberg <>
Subject How to manually build and maintain secondary indexes
Date Thu, 26 Jul 2012 18:05:45 GMT
My company is working on transition of our relational data model to
Cassandra. Naturally, one of the basic demands is to have secondary
indexes to answer queries quickly according to the application's
After looking at Cassandra's native support for secondary indexes, we
decided not to use them due to the poor performance for
high-cardinality values. Instead, we decide to implement secondary
indexes manually.
Some search led us to which
details a schema for such indexes. However, the method employed there
specifically adds an index entries column family, whereas it seems
like only 2 CFs are needed - one for the items and one for the indexes
(assuming one has access to both old and new values when updating an
item). The article actually mentioned that this is indeed not the
obvious solution, "for a number of reasons related to Cassandra's
model of eventual consistency ... will not reliably work" and "it's a
really good idea to make sure you understand why this CF is
necessary". However, no additional information is provided on what
might be a critical issue, as dealing with corrupt indexes in a large
production environment is surely to be a nightmare.
What are the community's thoughts on this matter? Given the writer's
credentials in the Cassandra realm, specifically regarding indexes,
I'm inclined not to ignore his remarks.
References to a document / system that implement similar indexes would
be greatly appreciated as well.

- alon

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