June 11th, 2014



HQ: San Antonio, TX

Cassandra powers Rackspace’s MyCloud, a control panel for managing cloud deployments, to provide Rackspace’s customers a highly available, real-time front-end; making use of Cassandra’s multi-datacenter replication, distributing a 15 node cluster across 3 regions.

Cassandra Version: 2.0.7

Datacenters: 3

Nodes: 15


Key Points

What does Rackspace do?

Rackspace is a leader in hybrid cloud and founder of Open Stack, an operating system for the cloud. We’re a global company with nine data centers around the world including the U.S., London, Hong Kong and Sydney.

MyCloud is  the portal for working with servers, load balancers, editing your DNS entries, anything you would use on public cloud.


Why Cassandra?

From the business perspective, we made the leap to Cassandra because our customers wanted to be able to look at the control panel in real-time, whenever there was an issue with their servers. If a data center went down, then the control panel still has be up for them to be able to access; this is important because it allows users to see why their server might be down and to be able to add support tickets.

From an engineering perspective, our project had grown from single-region to a multi-region applications, so our data store was lagging behind and we needed an update. We had a MySQL master in one region and automated scripts to switch between MySQL master in case our master went down; however, it would incur down time to make that happen.


Key Quotes

Cassandra has a bit of a learning curve especially for someone coming from a relational database background. Like with any distributed system, there are lots of concepts to wrap your head around. With Cassandra there’s a wealth of information online, a great community to jump into. Our team read documentation, watched tech talks, chatted in IRC while wrapping up on our understanding. We were able to go from less understanding Cassandra to a 15 node production cluster in just a matter of a few months and that was actually with moving our whole application to it and removing a single point of failure from our system.

— Alex Meng, Software Developer at Rackspace


You know coming from a background of mostly relational databases, it was an interesting change. There was definitely a learning curve, understanding structure and day to day operation, but the willingness of the Cassandra community to collaborate into your knowledge always made it feel like there was somewhere we could go to for help.

— Andrew Mussey, Software Developer at Rackspace


“Exciting and challenging. No one on the team had any deep experience using Cassandra. We were all learning it together. There were a lot of discussions and experimentation at the beginning of our project so really I think the community is like what helped us get to where we were with Cassandra.”

— Matt Green, Linux Systems Engineer at Rackspace


About Sam Toriel

Hi I am Samuel Toriel (@rilt). I work at Rackspace as a Software Developer on the Cloud Control Panel. Specifically, I am on the team that handles our continuous delivery, infrastructure, and some of the developer tools. Removing barriers and making it easier for other developers to get work done is what I like to do.