What Cassandra users think of their NoSQL DBMS

They love it, but they really, really wish there were more expert Cassandra NoSQL DBMS administrators out there.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

With the NoSQL market expected to be worth $22 Billion by 2026, big business is paying Apache Cassandra a lot of attention. While MongoDB dominates NoSQL, 52.71% to Cassandra's 9.73%, Cassandra, with its ability to deliver continuous availability, high performance, and scalability to large volumes of unstructured data, will always be a player. Now, if only there were more expert Cassandra administrators!

A global survey of 1,404 Cassandra practitioners found a plurality thought the lack of skilled staff and the challenge of migration was blocking Cassandra's adoption. To be exact, 36% of users currently using Cassandra for mission-critical apps said that a lack of Cassandra-skilled team members was deterring its broader adoption. 

When asked what it would take for practitioners to use Cassandra for more applications and features in production, they said it needs to be "easier to migrate" and "easier to integrate." That's because "we don't have time to train a ton of developers, so that time to deploy, time to onboard, that's really key. All the other stuff, scalability, that all sounds fine," said a London-based senior Cassandra user. 

That may be in part because of those surveyed, 89% were using open-source Cassandra. If they were using DataStax, the most popular Cassandra distro, it might be a different story. 

Regardless, people are turning to Cassandra because it works well for mission-critical apps due to numerous reasons. These include that it is easy to use to build "good hybrid solutions" (62%); "very secure" (60%); "highly scalable" (57%); "fast" (57%); and "easy to build apps with" (55%). 

How scalable and fast? One Cassandra administrator said, "We're scheduling 100s of millions of messages to be sent. Per day. If it's two weeks, we're talking about a couple billion [messages]."
There are other reasons as well. One UK user said his company "saw zero downtime at global scale with Apache Cassandra. That's a powerful statement to make. For our business that's quite crucial." I think any business would agree with that. 

Interestingly, Cassandra users don't tend to be database administrators, 8%, or engineers, 11%. Instead, users tend to be DevOps developers (52%), and DevOps Architects (29%). Most of them, as you'd guess, work in IT (45%). This is followed by financial services (11%), manufacturing (8%), and health care (4%). 

Put it all together and it's clear that Cassandra users like it for high-end, high-stress jobs. Now, if they could only find more Cassandra experts to go around, life would be great.

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