DataStax Vector: Making Cassandra NoSQL DBMS clusters more manageable

DataStax is readying Vector AI to make monitoring and managing Apache Cassandra easier.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Apache Cassandra is a great NoSQL database, but no one's ever said it was easy to monitor or manage. Now, DataStax is bringing out a private beta of Vector, an AIOps service for Cassandra. Vector will continually assess the behavior of a Cassandra cluster to provide developers and operators with automated diagnostics and advice. This will help them deal successfully with Cassandra and DataStax Enterprise (DSE) clusters.

DataStax and Apache Cassandra have had a frenemy relationship for some time. But ever since former Google exec and ex-Apigee CEO Chet Kapoor took DataStax's wheel, DataStax and Cassandra are working closer again. As DataStax' VP of developer relations, Patrick McFadin, said in a DevClass story, "We've gotten into this mode where we're reaffirming our mission to make Apache Cassandra the default database for people building applications."

Vector will provide database administrators with management recommendations, These will come with detailed background knowledge and multiple ways to fix a given problem. The idea is, with Vector, developers and operators can resolve issues quickly while at the same time learning more about the cluster's overall performance. 

It does this using AI and an embedded knowledge base based on a decade of expert guidance and learnings. The beta release uses reactive learning, a form of machine learning (ML) to produce its advice. Using this, Vector can analyze individual nodes, compare behavior to other cluster nodes, and serve up recommendations. For example, it can suggest optimal Cassandra and operating system configuration, schema design, and Cassandra performance and query techniques.

Vector features include: 

  • Automated expert advice: Proactively identifies current and potential issues to help developers and operators solve problems quickly. Automated advice provides contextual learning with background knowledge to build skills.
  • Continuous updates: Rules and advice are continuously updated, deployed to Software as a Service (SaaS) and on-premises applications, and automatically applied to clusters. 
  • Hands-off management: Advanced visualizations of system usage with insightful charting to understand tables, keyspaces, and nodes. Vector helps developers and operators see and understand how the cluster is performing and its configuration without having to log into Cassandra nodes.
  • Cassandra skills development: Helps strengthen Cassandra skills and knowledge by providing detailed advice and recommendations. Vector helps to reduce unexpected and unplanned items so experts can spend more time innovating.

Early beta testers are impressed. Bidhu Das, Cisco's senior lead database domain architect, said: "Vector is a very good service, which helps not only identify the issues but also provides the suggestions and recommendations along with the solutions. This will be a great help to the Developer/Application team." 

"Our enterprises requested a service like Vector because, as a community, we know it takes a high level of skill to be consistently successful with Cassandra," said DataStax Chief Product Officer Ed Anuff. "Our goal is to provide an AIOps service to proactively monitor the health of clusters to help developers and operators be more productive and effective with Cassandra."

At this point, Vector is in private beta, but you can apply to join the Vector beta. To get an idea of what you can expect, you can see Vector in action in a demo

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