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From William Oberman <>
Subject Re: clearing tombstones?
Date Fri, 11 Apr 2014 15:26:14 GMT
Yes, I'm using SizeTiered.

I totally understand the "mess up the heuristics" issue.  But, I don't
understand "You will incur the operational overhead of having to manage
compactions if you wish to compact these smaller SSTables".  My
understanding is the small tables will still compact.  The problem is that
until I have 3 other (by default) tables of the same size as the "big
table", it won't be compacted.

In my case, this might not be terrible though, right?  To get into the
trees, I have 9 nodes with RF=3 and this CF is ~500GB/node.  I deleted like
90-95% of the data, so I expect the data to be 25-50GB after the tombstones
are cleared, but call it 50GB.  That means I won't compact this 50GB file
until I gather another 150GB (50,50,50,50->200).   But, that's not
*horrible*.  Now, if I only deleted 10% of the data, waiting to compact
450GB until I had another 1.3TB would be rough...

I think your advice is great for people looking for "normal" answers in the
forum, but I don't think my use case is very normal :-)


On Fri, Apr 11, 2014 at 11:12 AM, Mark Reddy <> wrote:

> Yes, running nodetool compact (major compaction) creates one large
> SSTable. This will mess up the heuristics of the SizeTiered strategy (is
> this the compaction strategy you are using?) leading to multiple 'small'
> SSTables alongside the single large SSTable, which results in increased
> read latency. You will incur the operational overhead of having to manage
> compactions if you wish to compact these smaller SSTables. For all these
> reasons it is generally advised to stay away from running compactions
> manually.
> Assuming that this is a production environment and you want to keep
> everything running as smoothly as possible I would reduce the gc_grace on
> the CF, allow automatic minor compactions to kick in and then increase the
> gc_grace once again after the tombstones have been removed.
> On Fri, Apr 11, 2014 at 3:44 PM, William Oberman <
> > wrote:
>> So, if I was impatient and just "wanted to make this happen now", I could:
>> 1.) Change GCGraceSeconds of the CF to 0
>> 2.) run nodetool compact (*)
>> 3.) Change GCGraceSeconds of the CF back to 10 days
>> Since I have ~900M tombstones, even if I miss a few due to impatience, I
>> don't care *that* much as I could re-run my clean up tool against the now
>> much smaller CF.
>> (*) A long long time ago I seem to recall reading advice about "don't
>> ever run nodetool compact", but I can't remember why.  Is there any bad
>> long term consequence?  Short term there are several:
>> -a heavy operation
>> -temporary 2x disk space
>> -one big SSTable afterwards
>> But moving forward, everything is ok right?
>>  CommitLog/MemTable->SStables, minor compactions that merge SSTables,
>> etc...  The only flaw I can think of is it will take forever until the
>> SSTable minor compactions build up enough to consider including the big
>> SSTable in a compaction, making it likely I'll have to self manage
>> compactions.
>> On Fri, Apr 11, 2014 at 10:31 AM, Mark Reddy <>wrote:
>>> Correct, a tombstone will only be removed after gc_grace period has
>>> elapsed. The default value is set to 10 days which allows a great deal of
>>> time for consistency to be achieved prior to deletion. If you are
>>> operationally confident that you can achieve consistency via anti-entropy
>>> repairs within a shorter period you can always reduce that 10 day interval.
>>> Mark
>>> On Fri, Apr 11, 2014 at 3:16 PM, William Oberman <
>>>> wrote:
>>>> I'm seeing a lot of articles about a dependency between removing
>>>> tombstones and GCGraceSeconds, which might be my problem (I just checked,
>>>> and this CF has GCGraceSeconds of 10 days).
>>>> On Fri, Apr 11, 2014 at 10:10 AM, tommaso barbugli <
>>>> > wrote:
>>>>> compaction should take care of it; for me it never worked so I run
>>>>> nodetool compaction on every node; that does it.
>>>>> 2014-04-11 16:05 GMT+02:00 William Oberman <>:
>>>>> I'm wondering what will clear tombstoned rows?  nodetool cleanup,
>>>>>> nodetool repair, or time (as in just wait)?
>>>>>> I had a CF that was more or less storing session information.  After
>>>>>> some time, we decided that one piece of this information was pointless
>>>>>> track (and was 90%+ of the columns, and in 99% of those cases was
>>>>>> columns for a row).   I wrote a process to remove all of those columns
>>>>>> (which again in a vast majority of cases had the effect of removing
>>>>>> whole row).
>>>>>> This CF had ~1 billion rows, so I expect to be left with ~100m rows.
>>>>>>  After I did this mass delete, everything was the same size on disk
>>>>>> I expected, knowing how tombstoning works).  It wasn't 100% clear
to me
>>>>>> what to poke to cause compactions to clear the tombstones.  First
I tried
>>>>>> nodetool cleanup on a candidate node.  But, afterwards the disk usage
>>>>>> the same.  Then I tried nodetool repair on that same node.  But again,
>>>>>> usage is still the same.  The CF has no snapshots.
>>>>>> So, am I misunderstanding something?  Is there another operation
>>>>>> try?  Do I have to "just wait"?  I've only done cleanup/repair on
one node.
>>>>>>  Do I have to run one or the other over all nodes to clear tombstones?
>>>>>> Cassandra 1.2.15 if it matters,
>>>>>> Thanks!
>>>>>> will

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