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From Jeremy Stribling <>
Subject Attempt to assign id to existing column family.
Date Wed, 30 Mar 2011 21:54:30 GMT
After restarting a Cassandra 0.7.2 node, the node catches an exception 
during initialization and refuses to start:

Caused by: org.apache.cassandra.config.ConfigurationException: Attempt 
to assign id to existing column family.
         ... 2 more

Unlike a previous thread about this topic 
we are not trying to preserve the JVM across restarts.  The restart 
comes up in an entirely fresh JVM.  We are, however, embedding Cassandra 
in our application, but we're using the same steps used by 
AbstractCassandraDaemon to bring it up.

Looking briefly through the code, the only way I see that this can 
happen is if loadSchemas tries to load information about the system 
table from storage (because the system table can be created in 
CFMetaData from the earlier 
DatabaseDescriptor.getTableMetaData(Table.SYSTEM_TABLE).values() call).  
Or I guess the data on disk could have multiple entries under the same 
key, but the system table issue seems more likely to me.  Unfortunately 
the logging is not specific enough for me to tell which key it is 
failing with, and I haven't been able to reproduce this yet.

One relevant piece of information might be that, before the restart, our 
application changed the replication factor of all the tables, including 
the system table:

2011-03-29 23:09:39,194 291146 [MigrationStage:1] INFO 
org.apache.cassandra.db.migration.Migration  - Applying migration 
9f371026-5a59-11e0-b23f-65ed1eced995 Update keyspace systemrep 
factor:1rep  strategy:LocalStrategy{...} to systemrep factor:3rep 

We're doing this in order to dynamically change the replication factor 
as new nodes are being added to the cluster (e.g., it starts off with 
one node and a repfactor of 1, and once there are three nodes, it 
increases the repfactor on all tables to 3).  Is it possible that 
migrations over the system table get written to disk in a way that would 
cause loadSchemas() during a restart to hit this exception?  Are we even 
allowed to change the replication factor of the system table?



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