Using Cassandra

And now for the moment of truth, start up Cassandra by invoking ‘bin/cassandra -f‘ from the command line1. The service should start in the foreground and log gratuitously to the console. Assuming you don’t see messages with scary words like “error”, or “fatal”, or anything that looks like a Java stack trace, then everything should be working.

Press “Control-C” to stop Cassandra.

If you start up Cassandra without the “-f” option, it will run in the background. You can stop the process by killing it, using ‘pkill -f CassandraDaemon‘, for example.

  • Cassandra Users of recent Linux distributions and Mac OS X Snow Leopard should be able to start up Cassandra simply by untarring and invoking bin/cassandra -f. Since Cassandra 2.1, the tar.gz download has shipped with the log and data directories defaulting to the Cassandra directory. Versions prior defaulted to/var/log/cassandra and /var/lib/cassandra/. Due to this it is necessary to either start Cassandra with root privileges or change the conf/cassandra.yaml to use a directory owned by the current user. Snow Leopard ships with Java 1.6.0 and does not require changing the JAVA_HOME environment variable or adding any directory to your PATH. On Linux just make sure you have a working Java JDK package installed such as the openjdk-6-jdk on Ubuntu Lucid Lynx.

Using cqlsh

bin/cqlsh is an interactive command line interface for Cassandra. cqlsh allows you to execute CQL (Cassandra Query Language) statements against Cassandra. Using CQL, you can define a schema, insert data, execute queries. Run the following command to connect to your local Cassandra instance with cqlsh:

$ bin/cqlsh

You should see the following prompt, if successful:

Connected to Test Cluster at localhost:9160.
[cqlsh 2.3.0 | Cassandra 1.2.2 | CQL spec 3.0.0 | Thrift protocol 19.35.0]
Use HELP for help.

For clarity, we will omit the cqlsh prompt in the following examples.

You can access the online help with ‘help;’ command. Commands are terminated with a semicolon (‘;’) in cqlsh.

First, create a keyspace — a namespace of tables.

CREATE KEYSPACE mykeyspace
WITH REPLICATION = { 'class' : 'SimpleStrategy', 'replication_factor' : 1 };

Second, authenticate to the new keyspace:

USE mykeyspace;

Third, create a users table:

CREATE TABLE users (
  user_id int PRIMARY KEY,
  fname text,
  lname text
);

Now you can store data into users:

INSERT INTO users (user_id,  fname, lname)
  VALUES (1745, 'john', 'smith');
INSERT INTO users (user_id,  fname, lname)
  VALUES (1744, 'john', 'doe');
INSERT INTO users (user_id,  fname, lname)
  VALUES (1746, 'john', 'smith');

Now let’s fetch the data you inserted:

SELECT * FROM users;

You should see output reflecting your new rows:

 user_id | fname | lname
---------+-------+-------
    1745 |  john | smith
    1744 |  john |   doe
    1746 |  john | smith

You can retrieve data about users whose last name is smith by creating an index, then querying the table as follows:

CREATE INDEX ON users (lname);

SELECT * FROM users WHERE lname = 'smith';

 user_id | fname | lname
---------+-------+-------
    1745 |  john | smith
    1746 |  john | smith
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