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March 8, 2022

DataStax Announces New K8ssandra Operator

DataStax has announced a new operator for K8ssandra, the cloud native, open source distribution of Apache Cassandra that runs on Kubernetes. For organizations dependent on high Kubernetes availability for real-time applications, the new K8ssandra operator supports multiple Kubernetes clusters across multiple regions. 

“Organizations today are deploying global, data-driven applications that are critical to their business. These must remain online even in the event of natural disasters or cloud and data center outages and have no geographic limitations,” said Patrick McFadin, vice president of developer relations at DataStax. “With the new K8ssandra Operator, the barriers and expertise needed to easily deploy and manage Cassandra in the most demanding environments with the flexibility of Kubernetes are eliminated.” 

DataStax released K8ssandra, a NoSQL database, to the open source community in November of 2020, touting its combination of Kubernetes’ flexibility and Cassandra’s scale-out abilities. According to its website, “K8ssandra provides an ecosystem of tools to provide richer data APIs and automated operations alongside Cassandra. This includes metrics monitoring to promote observability, data anti-entropy services to support reliability, and backup/restore tools to support high availability and disaster recovery.” 

Organizations use Kubernetes operators to automate certain functions, including application deployment, backups and restorations, upgrading application code, and cluster resilience simulation testing. By creating an operator for K8ssandra, DataStax is bringing those capabilities to the cloud. 

In its press release, DataStax cites a recent Data on Kubernetes Community (DoKC) report that reveals how many organizations would like to standardize their Kubernetes operations, but operator challenges are still a barrier to broad adoption. The company states that Kubernetes was not developed for cross-regional orchestration, and users have needed to use Helm charts, a package manager for Kubernetes, to separately manage multiple components and installations. This can greatly increase latency.  

With DataStax’s new K8ssandra Operator, a single Cassandra cluster spanning multiple Kubernetes clusters and regions can provide “a single control plane for simplified configuration, management and operations,” according to the press release. “This delivers low latency as data sits close to users who are distributed across the globe.” 

DataStax already has a lineup of products complementary to Cassandra, including its cloud database-as-a-service DataStax Astra that simplifies Cassandra’s complex setup and configuration. The company also offers Luna, a tiered technical support plan for users of Cassandra. It also developed a previous open source operator for Cassandra, Cass Operator, which is a separate but related project that is “packaged with K8ssandra and deployed via Helm as part of a K8ssandra install.”

As reported by its developers, “The K8ssandra Operator project represents a new, fully distributed K8ssandra experience in more alignment with the globally geographic Cassandra deployments.”

The project seems well-positioned in a time of increased Kubernetes enthusiasm. The aforementioned DoKC report concludes that open source solutions like the new K8ssandra Operator can promote a community-built future where Kubernetes is standardized for data-intensive workloads, data infrastructure, and data governance.

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