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From Paul Ingalls <>
Subject Re: disappointed
Date Wed, 24 Jul 2013 16:43:03 GMT
Hi Chris,

Thanks for the response!

What kind of challenges did you run into that kept you from using collections?

I currently and running 4 physical nodes, same as I was with case 1.1.6.  I'm using size tiered
compaction.  Would changing to level tiered with a large minimum make a big difference, or
would it just push the problem off till later?

Yeah, I have run into problems dropping schemas before as well.  I was careful this time to
start with an empty db folder…

Glad you were successful in your transition…:)


On Jul 24, 2013, at 4:12 AM, "Christopher Wirt" <> wrote:

> Hi Paul,
> Sorry to hear you’re having a low point.
> We ended up not using the collection features of 1.2.
> Instead storing a compressed string containing the map and handling client side.
> We only have fixed schema short rows so no experience with large row compaction.
> File descriptors have never got that high for us. But, if you only have a couple physical
nodes with loads of data and small ss-tables maybe they could get that high?
> Only time I’ve had file descriptors get out of hand was then compaction got slightly
confused with a new schema when I dropped and recreated instead of truncating.
restarting the node fixed the issue.
> From my limited experience I think Cassandra is a dangerous choice for an young limited
funding/experience start-up expecting to scale fast. We are a fairly mature start-up with
funding. We’ve just spent 3-5 months moving from Mongo to Cassandra. It’s been expensive
and painful getting Cassandra to read like Mongo, but we’ve made it J
> From: Paul Ingalls [] 
> Sent: 24 July 2013 06:01
> To:
> Subject: disappointed
> I want to check in.  I'm sad, mad and afraid.  I've been trying to get a 1.2 cluster
up and working with my data set for three weeks with no success.  I've been running a 1.1
cluster for 8 months now with no hiccups, but for me at least 1.2 has been a disaster.  I
had high hopes for leveraging the new features of 1.2, specifically vnodes and collections.
  But at this point I can't release my system into production, and will probably need to find
a new back end.  As a small startup, this could be catastrophic.  I'm mostly mad at myself.
 I took a risk moving to the new tech.  I forgot sometimes when you gamble, you lose.
> First, the performance of 1.2.6 was horrible when using collections.  I wasn't able to
push through 500k rows before the cluster became unusable.  With a lot of digging, and way
too much time, I discovered I was hitting a bug that had just been fixed, but was unreleased.
 This scared me, because the release was already at 1.2.6 and I would have expected something
as would have been addressed long before.
 But gamely I grabbed the latest code from the 1.2 branch, built it and I was finally able
to get past half a million rows.  
> But, then I hit ~4 million rows, and a multitude of problems.  Even with the fix above,
I was still seeing a ton of compactions failing, specifically the ones for large rows.  Not
a single large row will compact, they all assert with the wrong size.  Worse, and this is
what kills the whole thing, I keep hitting a wall with open files, even after dumping the
whole DB, dropping vnodes and trying again.  Seriously, 650k open file descriptors?  When
it hits this limit, the whole DB craps out and is basically unusable.  This isn't that many
rows.  I have close to a half a billion in 1.1…
> I'm now at a standstill.  I figure I have two options unless someone here can help me.
 Neither of them involve 1.2.  I can either go back to 1.1 and remove the features that collections
added to my service, or I find another data backend that has similar performance characteristics
to cassandra but allows collections type behavior in a scalable manner.  Cause as far as I
can tell, 1.2 doesn't scale.  Which makes me sad, I was proud of what I accomplished with
> Does anyone know why there are so many open file descriptors?  Any ideas on why a large
row won't compact?
> Paul

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