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InfoQ Homepage News Microsoft Announces Azure Managed Instance for Apache Cassandra

Microsoft Announces Azure Managed Instance for Apache Cassandra

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At this year’s Ignite conference, Microsoft announced the public preview of Azure Managed Instance for Apache Cassandra, a NoSQL database product to manage Cassandra-based workloads into Azure cloud.

In a similar way to the Azure SQL Managed Instance, the new service is designed to simplify the lift and shift of Cassandra deployments running as a single tenant implementation to a partially managed cloud service. Targeting hybrid scenarios, the new service provides automated deployment and scaling operations for managed open-source Apache Cassandra datacenters with the scaling up and scaling down nodes fully managed by the orchestrator within the Cassandra ring. Other Apache Cassandra tasks that the new service manages automatically are provisioning a cluster, starting a repair action on a keyspace, setting up backups and maintaining audit logs.

Azure Managed Instance for Apache Cassandra is different from Azure Cosmos DB and there is no architectural dependency between the two Azure services; they both support multiple availability zones and multi-region deployments, but they run different storage engines. The new service is a deployment of dedicated bare metal instances running Cassandra while Cosmos DB supports a compatible engine where Cassandra is one of different data models available. Nikisha Reyes-Grange, director of product marketing, explains the goal of the new service:

The introduction of Azure Managed Instance for Apache Cassandra (preview) offers a second path of Cassandra data support on Azure, with zero-downtime migrations from self-managed on-premises deployments. It removes the need for developers and database administrators to manage infrastructure or update database versions.

Originally developed at Facebook and then open-sourced in 2008, Apache Cassandra is a free, wide-column store, distributed NoSQL database that delivers continuous availability and high performance with no single point of failure. Azure is not the only cloud provider targeting deployments of Apache Cassandra and in the last few years many options have been introduced: AWS offers Amazon Keyspaces, a highly available Apache Cassandra–compatible database service, while Astra, DataStax’s Cassandra as a service, is available on the Google Cloud Marketplace. DataStax recently introduced Astra serverless, a multi-cloud serverless database-as-a-service, combining a pay-as-you-go model with a multi-cloud and open source deployment. Tony Baer, founding principal of dbInsight LLC, tweets:

Very healthy development for the Cassandra community. Cassandra is finally getting the love from the cloud providers. Amazing given that it's such a top ranked database that this has only happened within the past 2 - 3 years.

A few months ago, Microsoft introduced the Azure Cosmos DB Cassandra API and at Ignite announced Azure Cosmos DB API for MongoDB v4.0, a solution to migrate applications using MongoDB 4.0 to Azure Cosmos DB. According to Microsoft, Azure Managed Instance for Apache Cassandra will be integrated and offer data movement capabilities with Azure Cosmos DB API for Cassandra before general availability.

Azure Managed Instance for Apache Cassandra is currently in preview and is priced according to how many cores, which VM SKU, memory size, and disks are required.

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