Sunday, March 29, 2015

My journey and experience on upgrading apache cassandra 1.0.8 to 1.0.12

Upon request of my blog reader, today I will share with you my experience on upgrading apache cassandra version 1.0.8 to 1.0.12 on a production live cluster. By sharing this information, I hope if you are also running and/or administer cassandra cluster, you can learn from my experience and ease your worry or pain.

First, let's lay out what's the current architecture in this environment.

  • java 6

  • 12 nodes cluster.

  • two spinning disk with raid 0, 32GB total system memory where 14GB allocated to the cassandra heap instance, with 800MB for young gen. quad core cpu.

  • pretty much stock cassandra.yaml configuration with the following different like concurrent_write to 64, flush_largest_memtables_at to 0.8, compaction_throughput_mb_per_sec to 64.

  • node load per node average at 500-550GB.

As you can see, this is pretty ancient cassandra we are using at of this time of writing but because cassandra has been rock solid serving read/write requests for years, it stays like this stable condition forever and we leverage on the benefit of scalling out like adding nodes from six to nine and eventually to twelve now. Realizing that the disk failure do happened in the nodes of the cluster, because of cassandra has a no single point of failure in mind, we can afford to loose a single node out of operation while replacing it. That were a few of the reasons we stayed with cassandra 1.0 for quite sometime.

Because we would like to probably goes to cassandra 2.0 and beyond, and java 6 has been EOL for quite sometime, it would be wise to upgrade java before cassandra. Because system are integrated like an ecosystem, it would be also wise to look at java used in the client system that read/write requests to the cassandra cluster. So make a checklist brainstorming what are clients that integrate into the cluster and then check out what are the current stable java 7 available. Example:

cassandra 1.0 cassandra-1.0.12 java miniumum 6 and above.

hector client using casandra 2.0.4 so java 7 minimum

datastax cql driver use cassandra 2.1.2 so java 7 minimum

java 7 update release note

features and enhancement

java 7 in wiki

before upgrading, check if cassandra using different unicode on the data
Early versions of the Java SE 7 release added support for Unicode 5.1.0. The final version of the Java SE 7 release supports Unicode 6.0.0. Unicode 6.0.0 is a major version of the Unicode Standard and adds support for over 2000 additional characters, as well as support for properties and data files.

As of the time of checking, we picked java 7 update 72. Upgrading java 6 to java 7 update 72 in the cassandra 1.0.8 is a painless process other than just time consuming. As load per node is huge and total number of nodes in cluster. I follow this steps for java upgrade in cassandra node.

upgrade java for all cassandra node
1. write a script to automatically install java7 on node, update java stacked size to 256k in set JAVA_HOME for file to java 7.
2. execute the script in rolling fashion for all the node with one upgrade at a time.
3. stop cassandra
4. execute the script.
5. start the cassandra instance
6.0 start the cassandra instance and monitor after the node is up and then check the monitoring system after node elapsed for 30minutes, 60minutes, 1hours and 2hours.
6.1 check your client can read/write to that one upgraded node.

By now, you can perform the next node in the ring, but you can skip step 6.0 as you are sure that it is going to work. One thing I observed is that, the gc duration for cassandra using java 6 and java 7 is it is down by half! That's could means faster gc means more cpu cycle to process other tasks and less stop of the world for cassandra instance.

Leave this cluster with java 7 upgraded run a day or two and if it is okay, continue to cassandra upgrade. So which cassandra version to upgrade to? There are several guidelines I followed.

1. choose ONLY STABLE release for production cluster. How to choose? You should read this link.
2. read NEWS.txt  and Changes.txt . As time to time, change to the code base may affect example, the sstable. So pay attention especially between cassandra major upgrade.
3. read the code difference between the version you decided to upgrade too, example for this upgrade.
4. read the datastax upgrading node for minor version.

I spent a lot of time doing step 3 and by reading the code diference, realize what has been change and/or added and consider it will impact your cassandra environment. In order for further upgrade to cassandra 1.1, you will need to upgrade to the latest version of the one currently deployed. Example here. Once read the above checkpoints, you may have a lot of questions and TODOs and that will give further works. In the next step, it is best if you find out the questions and TODOs you have and then verify in the test cluster before apply to a production cluster.

For me, I have written a few bash scripts example mentioned above, java upgrade. Also I have written install test cluster for cassandra upgrade. Remember to also write script to snapshot the data directory using nodetool and then also write script to automatically downgrade. When something goes wrong, you can revert using the automatic downgrade script and using the backup from nodetool dump. Then you will need to save the configurations example,,, cassandra.yaml or any other in your environment cluster.

With these scripts written and tested, it is best if you get and acknowledgements from the management if this is to be proceed and also, it would be best if you have someone who is also administer of cassandra cluster with you just for the good and bad moments. ;-) You can also reach me by my follow button in the home page. :)

upgrade cassandra from 1.0.8 to 1.0.12

  1. stop repair and cleanup in all nodes in the cluster.

  2. write a script to automatically upgrade it and so you dont panic, waste time and composed during node upgrade. Trust me, save you a lot of time and human error free. scripts content could be the following:
    - download cassandra 1.0.12 and extract, file permission ,etc
    - backup current cassandra 1.0.8 using nodetool snapshots. make sure you write the snapshot directory name like MyKeyspace-1.0.8-date
    - drain the node.
    - stop cassandra if it is not yet stopped.
    - update cassandra 1.0.12 with your cluster settings.

  3. check the configuration changed and then start cassandra 1.0.12 new instance.

  4. monitor after the node is up and then check the monitoring system after node elapsed for 30minutes, 60minutes, 1hours and 2hours.

  5. check your client can read/write to that one upgraded node.

By now, you can perform the next node in the ring, but you can skip step 4.0 as you are sure that it is going to work. As the version of the cassandra sstable change in 1.0.10, from hc to hd, it is best all sstables in all nodes, using the hd version before perform the next major upgrade.

That's it for this article and whilst this maybe not cover all, may contain mistake, and/or if you want to comment, please leave your comment below.

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