Apache Cassandra 4.0 Now in Beta

Calling it "the most stable Apache Cassandra in history," the community behind the popular open-source distributed database announced the 4.0 beta release this week.

"With software, hardware, and QA testing donations from the likes of Instaclustr, iland, Amazon, and Datastax, this release has seen an unprecedented cross-industry collaboration towards releasing a battle-tested database with enterprise security features and an understanding of what it takes to deliver scale in the cloud," the community wrote in a blog post.

No new features or breaking API changes are expected in future beta or general availability (GA) builds. "You can expect the time you put into the beta to translate into transitioning your production workloads to 4.0 in the near future," they wrote.

Cassandra is a NoSQL database, a highly scalable and flexible type of DB that supports the storage and processing of unstructured as well as semi-structured data, which is not possible through standard RDBMS tools. In a recently published report, projected rapid growth for the NoSQL market, which the analysts valued at $2,410.5 million in 2018, and project to reach $22,087 million by 2026. The primary driver of this market growth, the report claims, is rising unstructured data volumes and "the impending need of analytics."

The list of other factors cited in the report includes the rise in social media, such as games, blogs, and portals such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and "matrimonial sites," which has led to surge in semi-structured and unstructured data. "NoSQL is the only feasible technology to store and manage this data," the report concluded, adding, "Moreover, as NoSQL is the most suitable technology for agile app development, with rise in the app development economy, NoSQL adoption is set for an increase in the coming years, which in turn is expected to garner high market growth."

The Apache Cassandra 4.0 beta comes with more than 1,000 bug fixes and some powerful new features, including:

  • 5x faster scaling operations
  • Enterprise-grade security and observability, including 
    • A new audit logging feature
    • A new fqltool that allows for the capture and replay of production workloads
    • New controls to enable use cases that need data access on a per data center basis
    • Virtual Tables that let you selectively expose system metrics or configuration settings
  • Support for Java 11, which allows access to Java's new Z Garbage Collector (ZGC)

"One of the most exciting features of Java 11 is the new Z Garbage Collector (ZGC) that aims to reduce GC pause times to a max of a few milliseconds with no latency degradation as heap sizes increase," the community wrote. "This feature is still experimental and thorough testing should be performed before deploying to production. These improvements significantly improve the node availability profiles from garbage collection on a cluster which is why this feature has been included as experimental in the Cassandra 4.0 release.

The Apache Cassandra 4.0 beta release is available on the community's download site.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].