DataStax Releases Open Source Kubernetes Operator for Apache Cassandra

DataStax has released a new open source Kubernetes Operator optimized for Apache Cassandra. IDN looks at how the new operator aims to make Cassandra the "ideal database" for Kubernetes and help scale-out cloud-native data.

Tags: Apache, Cassandra, cloud-native, database, DataStax, Kubernetes, NoSQL,

DataStax has released a new open source Kubernetes Operator optimized for Apache Cassandra. The operator, which is called cass-operator, aims to help enterprises and users succeed with scale-out, cloud-native data.


“The Apache Cassandra community spent the 2010s solving hard problems in distributed data,” said Sam Ramji, DataStax chief strategy officer in a statement. “Cassandra has become the standard for scale-out data. We see the 2020s as the decade of cloud-native data, so our priority is to bring Cassandra to Kubernetes.”


DataStax is open-sourcing the Kubernetes Operator for Apache Cassandra in partnership with the community to help make Cassandra “the ideal database for Kubernetes applications,” Ramji added. 


The release of cass-operator comes as growing evidence shows enterprises and developers are increasingly using Kubernetes to build and deploy applications and services. Last year, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation released a survey that showed 78% of respondents are using Kubernetes in production – up from 58% the prior year.


DataStax list benefits of a Kubernetes operator for Cassandra. Among them: Zero downtime, zero lock-in and global scale.


Patrick McFadin, vice president for developer relations at DataStax, shared more details about the cass-operator project in a blog post entitled Leading with Code for a Better Apache Cassandra and Kubernetes.

As a part of our ongoing commitment to open source and the Apache Cassandra™ community, DataStax is opening a version of a Kubernetes Operator for Cassandra. The code is freely available under an Apache License for anyone to use or modify. DataStax isn’t the first organization to create an open-source project for a Cassandra Kubernetes operator and that is to the point of what we are trying to accomplish by releasing this code. 

As managing infrastructure has been standardizing around Kubernetes, many organizations are looking at the data plane as something that should also be managed under the same umbrella. DataStax realized that too when building out Astra, a database-as-a-service (DBaaS) built on Cassandra. 

Earlier this year, we started talking to the community about combining efforts and rallying around using Kubernetes to manage Cassandra. The response was immediate and overwhelmingly positive. Organizations like Sky, Orange, and Instaclustr all agreed that it was time for the community to get behind this effort and help make Cassandra the default database for Kubernetes. 

What was needed first was to have our code released for all to see. We want to lead with code and not just opinions. Those of you who work with open source projects know there will be plenty of opinions as we go along. 

DataStax has opened the repository and code under an Apache License and has begun a conversation to donate components directly to Apache Cassandra project, McFadin added. 


Beyond cass-operator, DataStax also released a Management API “sidecar” for Cassandra, which McFadin said, “brings Cassandra closer to how Kubernetes wants to work.”

DataStax Eyes Cloud-Native, Data Control Plane for Kubernetes


While the cloud-native wave of app development also means the ability to access data everywhere easily, DataStax engineers felt there was a piece missing: A “highly-available, high-performing distributed NoSQL database was needed,” according to Ramji. 


One tech analyst agreed on the need to fill in this gap facing cloud-native developers. 


“Kubernetes has emerged as the global standard for deploying, scaling, and managing cloud-first, stateless application workloads,” noted Omedia analyst Bradley Shimmin.


“Yet, Kubernetes alone cannot grant this same ease of deployment and scale to the underlying, stateful data stores that power cloud-first applications. What's missing? An extension to Kubernetes built by an open community of database, cloud, and app providers that can bring data more fully into the containerization fold. All efforts along these lines will greatly simplify and speed time to market,” his statement added. 


The thinking is to combine Cassandra, which has proven to be a robust database for scale-out data with Kubernetes. The result, Ramji added, will be that enterprises and users will be able to leverage a consistent scale-out stack for compute and data. 


“Wherever Kubernetes goes, Cassandra needs to follow,” continued Ramji.


“We know Kubernetes is changing the world and that Cassandra is one of the most proven open-source, scale-out databases. Using them together is the way to build modern, cloud-scale applications. It's our goal to release open-source code, early and often, that makes Cassandra easier for users.”


The addition of the Kubernetes operator “will help enterprises succeed with mission-critical, cloud-native deployments irrespective of the scale, infrastructure, or data model requirements," added Ed Anuff, DataStax chief product officer.


Beyond the open source Kubernetes operator project, DataStax Enterprise 6.8 enables data sharing between containers for data managed with DSE. “Enterprises can now benefit from a robust integration of a Management API and Kubernetes tooling that experienced operators rely on. Users can start, stop, recover, scale, and back up DSE nodes through Kubernetes, simplifying cloud-native application development and deployment,” officials noted.

DataStax Innovation in Partnership with Leading Players

DataStax is working alongside Orange, Target, Sky and other teams in the Cassandra community. 


Mansoor Fazil, Head of Global Video Platforms at Sky, said of the partnership for cass-operator, “We are super excited to be partnering with DataStax on building an open-source Cassandra operator for Kubernetes. We hope together we find the operator of choice for the wider Cassandra community.” 


The Kubernetes Operator for Apache Cassandra can be downloaded here from GitHub.


DataStax is also using Kubernetes Operator for Apache Cassandra in its DataStax Astra, database-as-a-service (DBaaS) built on Cassandra.


DataStax provides its scalable, highly available, cloud-native NoSQL data platform built on Apache Cassandra, used by many enterprises, including Capital One, Cisco, Comcast, Delta Airlines, McDonald’s, and Walmart.