Apache Cassandra 4.1 Goes GA, 'Paves the Way for Cloud-Native Future'

The 4.1 release of the Apache Cassandra NoSQL database is now generally available. The project’s major release for 2022 comes with lots of new features and "paves the way," the community said in a  blog post, for "a more cloud-native future" for the project. It also marks the community's commitment to annual releases, announced last year.

Among other things, this release externalizes key functions that extend Cassandra, enabling an expanded ecosystem without compromising the stable core code. It makes the database both easier to use for end users and easier to onboard key development requests from the community.

"With an incredibly stable core that was delivered in 4.0, the project is now building on that milestone toward a more cloud native future," said Mick Semb Wever, Apache Cassandra PMC member, in a statement. "The latest release emphasizes externalizing important key functions into a pluggable interface, allowing developers to extend Cassandra without altering the stable core code. Organizations using Cassandra can be more selective how each combination of features is deployed and can add a layer of flexibility to future use cases that may not exist today. This includes storage engine choice, security components, schema, and user management. Users of Cassandra will see the decoupled innovation in the ecosystem in the future without the need for a major release of the project."

Apache Cassandra, which is an Apache Software Foundation project, is an open-source, 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 ("NoSQL Market by Type, Application and Industry Vertical: Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2019-2026") 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 improvements in the Cassandra 4.1 release addresses four specific areas, including:

The Cassandra ecosystem

  • Pluggable persistent memory providers via new Memtable API
  • Paxos v2 improves LWT transaction performance by 50%
  • Pluggable external schema manager services
  • SSLContext creation pluggable/extensible

CQL developers

  • Users can now group by time range
  • Users can now use CONTAINS and CONTAINS KEY conditions in conditional update
  • Users can now use IF EXISTS and IF NOT EXISTS in ALTER statements


  • Configurable system level guardrails to guide users in scalable use of the database
  • Partition denylisting tool for reducing the impact of overloaded partitions
  • Improved syntax for cassandra.yaml
  • Several new systems tables
  • Monitoring of top partitions by size/tombstones
  • Improvements to nodetool, backup and restore

The security posture

  • Credentials file support to CQLSH
  • Allow to grant permission for all tables in a keyspace
  • Support for pre hashed passwords in CQL
  • Add support for PEM based key material for SSL

The Cassandra development community announced its new release and support schedule last February, committing to supporting three GA releases (major and/or minor) at any given time. Each new minor or major release will cause the oldest supported GA release to go End of Life. The one exception to this new rule is version 3.0, which the community will support for one more cycle (making four GA release cycles).

Version 4.1 of the Apache Cassandra NoSQL database can be downloaded  here:

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].