The default number of vnodes is 256, is there any significance in this number? Since Cassandra's vnodes don't work like for example Riak's, where there is a fixed number of vnodes distributed evenly over the nodes, why so many? Even with a moderately sized cluster you get thousands of slices. Does this matter? If your cluster grows to over thirty machines and you start looking at ten thousand slices, would that be a problem? I guess trat traversing a list of a thousand or ten thousand slices to find where a token lives isn't a huge problem, but are there any other up or downsides to having a small or large number of vnodes per node?

I understand the benefits for splitting up the ring into pieces, for example to be able to stream data from more nodes when bootstrapping a new one, but that works even if each node only has say 32 vnodes (unless your cluster is truly huge).