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August 6, 2021

Apache Cassandra 4.0 Launches

Nearly six years after the 3.0 release of Apache Cassandra NoSQL database in November 2015 – and more than a year since it launched into beta – Apache Cassandra 4.0 has finally released to general customers. Apache Cassandra now includes a wide range of new features, and the project is further committing to a more regular release schedule for future iterations.

The new release includes hundreds of improvements, advertising a fivefold improvement in the speed of scaling operations (such as adding a new node or datacenter) as a result of “zero copy streaming” functionality; an audit logging feature for operators to track data activity with low overhead on workloads; more granular data access controls; the ability to selectively expose system metrics; and much more.

The project is also calling the new release “the most stable Apache Cassandra in history.”

“The scale that Cassandra clusters can reach means that there is an enormous surface area for potential bugs or data corruption,” the press release reads, “so we purpose-built new tools to cover every requirement.” These included tools for performance testing, fuzz testing, replay testing, diff testing, fault injection, and more.

“Over the past six years, those tools were perfected and deployed to help meet our quality goals,” they wrote. “This sets an important baseline for any future version of Cassandra and provides the needed infrastructure to ensure future releases maintain a high level of quality and correctness; this has resulted in over 1,000 bugs being identified and fixed. Many only surfaced in the largest scale production workloads, which are notoriously hard to find.”

In a testament to its stability, the project notes that the new release has already been deployed at a number of major clients. “Cassandra 4.0 is running in production today at Apple, DataStax, Instaclustr, Netflix, Orange, Pythian, Sky UK, Yelp, and many more,” the press release reads.

Of course, the gap between releases remains the elephant in the room – and Apache Cassandra is here to address it with a new commitment to a more regular release schedule.

“Six years is a long time between major releases and many in our community have asked why it has taken so long,” explains the press release. “The shortest and easiest answer is that the project decided to become uncompromising on one important feature: quality.” That said, the project is now planning to adopt a six-month release cycle for interim releases and a one-year release cycle for major releases.

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