How to Benchmark CassandraDB with YCSB Workloads on All-Flash Block Storage?

Dawood Munavar Jun 03 - 5 min read

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The purpose of this blog is to showcase how YCSB can be used to benchmark Cassandra DB, bench-marking Cassandra Cluster with YCSB on CentOS 7.4. Below are the 5 key steps to follow before benchmarking CassandraDB with YCSB workloads on all-flash block storage.

1. Configuration

Below is the setup we used for experimenting Cassandra DB benchmarking with YCSB

Three VM’s (VMware) with CentOS release 7.4.x installed.

  • 1st VM have YCSB 0.15.0 installed.
  • 3 VM’s has Cassandra 3.11.4 installed (Clustered node Cassandra).

Below are the versions of software used to benchmark Cassandra on YCSB:

  • OS version : Centos 7.4.1708
  • YCSB : 0.15.0
  • Cassandra : 3.11.4
  • Open JDK version : 1.8.0_212
  • Python version : 2.7.

2. Prerequisites

Below are some the prerequisites before we proceed for Cassandra and YCSB installation.

  • Yum package management application must be installed.
  • Root or sudo access to the install machines.
  • Latest version of Oracle Java Platform, Standard Edition 8 (JDK) is recommended
  • Python 2.7+

3. Cassandra Setup

Apache Cassandra is an open source distributed database management system designed to handle large amounts of data across many commodity servers to provide high availability.

This section covers steps on how to install and configure Apache Cassandra.

Setting up Cassandra on all 3 VM’s running CentOS 7

Step 1:  To install OpenJDK, on your system type:
sudo yum install java-1.8.0-openjdk-devel
Step 2:  Verify the Java version:
[root@cassandra1 ~]# java -version
openjdk version “1.8.0_212”
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (build 1.8.0_212-b04)
OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM (build 25.212-b04, mixed mode)
Step 3: Setup test cassandra cluster. On all 3 centos7 install add cassandra repository in /etc/yum.repos.d/
# cat cassandra.repo
name=Apache Cassandra
Step 4: Install cassandra package
# yum install -y cassandra
Step 5: Edit /etc/cassandra/default.conf/cassandra.yaml and setup there below parameters (ip address of all 3 VMs)
seeds: “,,”

Note:   Adapt above to specific cluster environment vars. listen_address and rpc_address has to be address of cassandra node

Step 6: Open ports, 7000/tcp, 9042/tcp
firewall-cmd –zone=public –permanent –add-port=7000/tcp
firewall-cmd –zone=public –permanent –add-port=9042/tcp>
systemctl restart firewalld
Step 7: start cassandra on all three boxes
# service cassandra start
# chkonfig cassandra on
Step 8: Check Cassandra service status :
[root@cassandra1 ~]# /etc/init.d/cassandra status
● cassandra.service – LSB: distributed storage system for structured data
Loaded: loaded (/etc/rc.d/init.d/cassandra; bad; vendor preset: disabled)
Active: active (running) since Sun 2019-05-05 04:04:42 EDT; 4 days ago
Step 9: After this nodetool status should list cassandra nodes
[root@cassandra1 ~]# nodetool status
Datacenter: datacenter1
|/ State=Normal/Leaving/Joining/Moving
—  Address        Load       Tokens       Owns    Host ID                               Rack
UN   308.1 KiB  256          ?       b5c36d19-9442-4616-b462-932c0e667e2c  rack1
UN  306.86 KiB  256          ?       9036ce41-b9d2-4dad-8c1e-629307cafc43  rack1
UN   319.35 KiB  256          ?       0f70d522-8c48-4da5-ab44-c8b5714642c0  rack1
Note: Non-system keyspaces don’t have the same replication settings, effective ownership information is meaningless

Apache Cassandra data is stored in the /var/lib/Cassandra directory, configuration files are located in /etc/Cassandra and Java start-up options can be configured in the /etc/default/Cassandra file

4.Verifying Cassandra Installation

Once you are done with Cassandra installation, you need to verify a few things to make sure Cassandra is up and connectable state.

Check if you are able to connect to the database using cqlsh.

The Cassandra Query Language (CQL) is the primary language for communicating with the Cassandra database. The most basic way to interact with Cassandra is using the CQL shell, cqlsh. Using cqlsh, you can create keyspaces and tables, insert and query tables, plus much more.

[root@cassandra1 ~]# cqlsh 9042
Connected to Test Cluster at
[cqlsh 5.0.1 | Cassandra 3.11.4 | CQL spec 3.4.4 | Native protocol v4]
Use HELP for help.

As you can see above, you are able to connect to Cassandra using cqlsh. Its displays the Cassandra version as 3.11.4.

5. Installation and configuration of YCSB:

Step 1: Download latest release of YCSB on VM1 (
sudo mkdir ycsb
cd ycsb
curl -O –location
tar xfvz ycsb-0.15.0.tar.gz
cd ycsb-0.15.0
(0.15.0 is the latest,
Step 2: Run YCSB:
  1. Now we are ready to use YCSB:

2. Enter the following command in the command prompt (or terminal) from YCSB folder location, YCSB should          invoke the help menu:
This describes the supported commands, databases and options for YCSB to be used.
[root@cassandra1 ~]# cd ycsb/
[root@cassandra1 ycsb]# ls
ycsb-0.15.0  ycsb-0.15.0.tar.gz
[root@cassandra1 ycsb]# cd ycsb-0.15.0
[root@cassandra1 ycsb-0.15.0]# bin/ycsb
usage: bin/ycsb command database [options]
load           Execute the load phase
run            Execute the transaction phase
shell          Interactive mode

Step 3:  Examples of usage: Cassandra using YCSB
  1. Create a keyspace called ‘ycsb’
  2. Create a table called ‘usertable’
[root@cassandra1 ycsb-0.15.0]# cqlsh 9042
cqlsh> create keyspace ycsb
… WITH REPLICATION = {‘class’ : ‘SimpleStrategy’, ‘replication_factor’: 3 };
cqlsh:ycsb> create table usertable (
… y_id varchar primary key,
… field0 varchar,
… field1 varchar,
… field2 varchar,
… field3 varchar,
… field4 varchar,
… field5 varchar,
… field6 varchar,
… field7 varchar,
… field8 varchar,
… field9 varchar);
Step 4: Run basic load test
[root@cassandra1 ycsb-0.15.0]# ./bin/ycsb load cassandra-cql -p hosts=”″ -s -P workloads/workloada
[root@cassandra1 ycsb-0.15.0]# ./bin/ycsb run cassandra-cql -p hosts=”″ -s -P workloads/workloada

Benchmarking test:
Now we are ready to benchmark Cassandra using YCSB.
Workloads Used: A, B, C.

  • Workload A: Update heavy workload: 50/50% Mix of Reads/Writes
  • Workload B: Read mostly workload: 95/5% Mix of Reads/Writes
  • Workload C: Read-only: 100% reads.

The following command was used to run workload A, B & C where threads were 8, 16, 32, and 64:

Cassandra configurations:

YCSB workloads:

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