Hi Alexandru,

"We are running a 3 node Cassandra 1.1.5 cluster with a 3TB Raid 0 disk per node for the data dir and separate disk for the commitlog, 12 cores, 24 GB RAM"

I think you should tune your architecture in a very different way. From what I know having too much data on one node is bad, not really sure why, but  I think that performance will go down due to the size of indexes and bloom filters (I may be wrong on the reasons but I'm quite sure you can't store too much data per node).

Anyway, I am 6 nodes with half of these resources (6 cores / 12GB) would be better if you have the choice.

"(12GB to Cassandra heap)."

The max heap recommanded is 8GB because if you use more than these 8GB the Gc jobs will start decreasing your performance.

"We now have 1.1 TB worth of data per node (RF = 2)."

You should use RF=3 unless one out of consistency or SPOF  doesn't matter to you.

With RF=2 you are obliged to write at CL.one to remove the single point of failure.

"1. Start issuing regular major compactions (nodetool compact).
     - This is not recommended: 
            - Stops minor compactions.
            - Major performance hit on node (very bad for us because need to be taking data all the time)."

Actually, major compaction *does not* stop minor compactions. What happens is that due to the size of the size of the sstable that remains after your major compaction, it will never be compacted with the upcoming new sstables, and because of that, your read performance will go down until you run an other major compaction.

"2. Switch to Leveled compaction strategy.
      - It is mentioned to help with deletes and disk space usage. Can someone confirm?"

From what I know, Leveled compaction will not free disk space. It will allow you to use a greater percentage of your total disk space (50% max for sized tier compaction vs about 80% for leveled compaction)

"Our usage pattern is write once, read once (export) and delete once! "

In this case, I think that leveled compaction fits your needs.

"Can anyone suggest which (if any) is better? Are there better solutions?"

Are your sstable compressed ? You have 2 types of built-in compression and you may use them depending on the model of each of your CF.


Alain

2012/11/22 Alexandru Sicoe <adsicoe@gmail.com>
We are running a 3 node Cassandra 1.1.5 cluster with a 3TB Raid 0 disk per node for the data dir and separate disk for the commitlog, 12 cores, 24 GB RAM (12GB to Cassandra heap).