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Cassandra Summit Preview:Guerilla Tactics for Building Scalable E-Commerce Services with Apache Cassandra®, Apache Pulsar®, and Vector Search

Melissa Logan on October 24, 2023

Cassandra Summit Preview:Guerilla Tactics for Building Scalable E-Commerce Services with Apache Cassandra®, Apache Pulsar®, and Vector Search

Aaron Ploetz is a developer advocate at DataStax. He’s been a professional software developer since 1997 and has several years of experience working on and leading DevOps teams for startups and Fortune 50 enterprises. He is a three-time Cassandra MVP, and has worked as an author on the books “Seven NoSQL Databases in a Week” and “Mastering Apache Cassandra 3.x.” 

The importance of a good e-commerce website is illustrated by the fact that worldwide digital sales in 2021 eclipsed five trillion dollars (USD). Most consumers will leave a web page or a mobile app if it takes longer than a few seconds to load. Businesses that want to compete, need a high performing e-commerce website.

At Cassandra Summit this December, Aaron will host a talk titled, “Guerilla Tactics for Building Scalable E-Commerce Services with Apache Cassandra®, Apache Pulsar®, and Vector Search.” During his session, Aaron will cover how to architect high-performing data models and services, helping you to build an e-commerce site with high throughput and low latency. The datastore backend will be built on Apache Cassandra®, allowing you to leverage Cassandra’s well-known features like high-availability and data center awareness.

Modern E-commerce websites consist of many smaller subsystems, as shown in figure 1. These subsystems are really just smaller pieces of a puzzle that, when put together correctly, are capable of working together to provide a positive customer experience.

Figure 1 – The many subsystems which go into building a large-scale E-commerce website are smaller pieces of a larger whole.

However, not all of these subsystems are created equally. Some of them are “nice-to-haves,” which can help maintain customer loyalty or drive additional sales. But some are critical to the function of the site overall, and are absolutely essential for all E-commerce sites to have. These critical systems are Product, User Profile, Shopping Cart, and Order Processing. Aaron will walk through each of these systems during his talk: 


Every e-commerce site needs a good product system. Aaron will talk about how to model that in the database, with the aim of making it easy for customers to find what they are looking for. The product system will be further broken down into three smaller services, Category Navigation, Product data, and Pricing.

User Profile

All websites need systems for user management and sign-in. Aaron will also talk through how to implement a seamless login process using Google single-sign-on. This way we are helping to ensure a customer experience that is both convenient and secure.

Shopping Cart

Every E-commerce site has a shopping cart, but you want yours to be high-performing and easily expandable in the future. During his talk, Aaron will present ways to model the cart system to accommodate both of these requirements. This way the shopping cart runs well in a distributed environment, while also being highly-available and geographically aware.

Order Processing

Processing an order can be a complex task, especially at the enterprise level. Aaron will cover how to move orders between different business units using Apache Pulsar®.

In addition to covering how to build out and model these systems, we will also cover one of the “nice-to-have” subsystems, and demonstrate a simple way to build a recommendation system.

Product Recommendations

Want to drive additional sales by recommending valid products to your customers? Legacy recommendation systems can be large, complex, and cumbersome. But we can show you how to quickly build real-time recommendations using Vector Search. We will also cover ways to generate vector embeddings.


In the digital age, having a solid, functional and flexible e-commerce system is paramount to success. This session will show you how to architect these systems to take advantage of Apache Cassandra’s® features in the distributed database world. You will be well on your way to having an e-commerce website which will be high-performing, highly-available, and ultimately highly-profitable.

Aaron Ploetz will discuss this topic in more detail during one of his sessions at the Cassandra Summit. A shortened, workshop version of this talk can also be found here. More details about Aaron’s Cassandra Summit sessions can be found here

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