From the Cassandra 1.2 Manual:

Using the compact storage directive prevents you from adding more than one column that is not part of

At this time, updates to data in a table created with compact storage are not allowed. The table with
compact storage that uses a compound primary key must define at least one clustering column. Unless
you specify WITH COMPACT STORAGE, CQL creates a table with non-compact storage.
Note that CQL collection columns (e.g. map<>) can do something a lot like your CLI example.  Also note that your example doesn't even use "WITH COMPACT STORAGE", which I don't think would make any difference in that case.

Also, there's really no need to be snarky, respectful communication is much more appreciated. 

On 08/05/2013 02:36 PM, Edward Capriolo wrote:
"COMPACT STORAGE imposes the limit that you can't add columns to your tables."

Is absolutely false. If anything CQL is imposing the limits!

Simple to prove. Try something like this:

create table abc (x int);
insert into abc (y) values (5);

and watch CQL reject the insert saying something to the effect of 'y? whats that? Did you mean CQL2 OR 1.5?, or hamburgers'

Then go to the Cassandra cli and do this:
create column family abd;
set ['abd']['y']= '5';
set ['abd']['z']='4';


I noticed the nomenclature starting to spring up around the term "legacy tables" and docs based around "can't do with them". Frankly it makes me nuts because...

This little known web company named google produced a white paper about what a ColumnFamily data model could do . Cassandra was build on the BigTable/ColumnFamily data model. There was also this big movement called NoSQL, where people wanted to break free of query languages and rigid schema's.... 

On Mon, Aug 5, 2013 at 1:56 PM, Jonathan Haddad <> wrote:
The CQL docs recommend not using it - I didn't just make that up.  :)  COMPACT STORAGE imposes the limit that you can't add columns to your tables.  For those of us that are heavy CQL users, this limitation is a total deal breaker.  

On Mon, Aug 5, 2013 at 10:27 AM, Robert Coli <> wrote:
On Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 3:10 PM, Jonathan Haddad <> wrote:
It's advised you do not use compact storage, as it's primarily for backwards compatibility.

Many Apache Cassandra experts do not advise against using COMPACT STORAGE. [1] Use CQL3 non-COMPACT STORAGE if you want to, but there are also valid reasons to not use it. Asserting that there is some good reason you should not use COMPACT STORAGE (other than range ghosts?) seems inaccurate. :)

Jon Haddad
skype: rustyrazorblade