Illustration Image
Company: Cengage
Industry: Education
Functional Use Case: Personalization

In the era of digital transformation, many industries are leveraging technology to enhance their services and operations. The education sector is no exception. In this blog, we will explore how Cengage, a leading education and technology company, is using Apache Cassandra® to revolutionize the way students access educational materials.

The Problem

Cengage, the largest U.S.-based education and technology company for the college course materials market, has been undergoing a significant digital transformation. The company has migrated from physical textbook learning to digital content creation, launching Cengage Unlimited in 2018, a subscription-style service akin to Netflix for education.

However, the transition to digital wasn’t without its challenges. As Mike Heinen, the customer platform operations manager at Cengage, explains, the company’s Cassandra environments, which hold the keys to many of their centralized applications, faced stability issues due to minimal centralized management.

The Solution with Cassandra

Cassandra came to the rescue. Cassandra’s ability to handle large amounts of data across many commodity servers while providing high availability without a single point of failure made it an ideal solution for Cengage’s needs.
Under Heinen’s leadership, the operations team at Cengage managed to enhance the stability of their Cassandra environments. This not only improved the reliability of their applications but also built trust within their app teams.
Cassandra now powers Cengage’s large test question ingestion application and content creation systems, which are critical to the company’s operations. The database’s scalability and performance have proven invaluable, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when online learning saw a significant surge.

Tech Stack

Cengage’s tech stack includes:

  • Cassandra: Used for managing large amounts of data across many commodity servers, providing high availability without a single point of failure.
  • AWS: Cengage heavily invests in AWS for cloud services.
  • Kubernetes: Cengage is investigating running DataStax Enterprise on Kubernetes for container orchestration.

    The Future

    Looking ahead, Cengage aims to establish Cassandra as a Platform as a Service (PaaS), with all the necessary instrumentation in place to detect system stresses and issues before they impact application teams. The company is also exploring the possibility of running Kubernetes, further enhancing their infrastructure.
    Cassandra continues to be a significant player at Cengage, supporting the company’s mission to provide accessible and affordable education to students everywhere. As Heinen puts it, they want to make Cassandra a valued enterprise resource, a testament to the database’s power and versatility.


    Cengage’s journey illustrates the transformative potential of Cassandra in the education sector. By leveraging Cassandra’s robust capabilities, Cengage has not only improved its services but also paved the way for a more flexible and responsive educational landscape. As more educational institutions and companies embark on their digital transformation journeys, Cassandra will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping the future of education.

Stack Includes: AWS, Kubernetes

Want to share your use case?

Planet Cassandra is the home page for the Cassandra Community, where everyone in the community can share their use cases.

Show off what you've done & help others learn following your example & contribution.

Become part of our
growing community!
Welcome to Planet Cassandra, a community for Apache Cassandra®! We're a passionate and dedicated group of users, developers, and enthusiasts who are working together to make Cassandra the best it can be. Whether you're just getting started with Cassandra or you're an experienced user, there's a place for you in our community.
A dinosaur
Planet Cassandra is a service for the Apache Cassandra® user community to share with each other. From tutorials and guides, to discussions and updates, we're here to help you get the most out of Cassandra. Connect with us and become part of our growing community today.
© 2009-2023 The Apache Software Foundation under the terms of the Apache License 2.0. Apache, the Apache feather logo, Apache Cassandra, Cassandra, and the Cassandra logo, are either registered trademarks or trademarks of The Apache Software Foundation. Sponsored by Anant Corporation and Datastax, and Developed by Anant Corporation.

Get Involved with Planet Cassandra!

We believe that the power of the Planet Cassandra community lies in the contributions of its members. Do you have content, articles, videos, or use cases you want to share with the world?