Robin Schumacher

A Closer Look at DataStax Enterprise 3.0 – Part 2

By Robin SchumacherFebruary 27, 2013

In my last post, I looked at the new security enhancements in DataStax Enterprise 3.0. I’d like to turn the attention now to the second main objective we had in bringing 3.0 to market, which is improved enterprise manageability.

Tools are Cool

When I first began to work heavily in database, everything was command line driven. Then, the first set of graphical tools for databases began to appear, which were immediately scoffed at by most hard-core database pro’s.

Over time, though, the tools (which were bad to begin with) got a lot better and began to win converts, including me. I wrote some of my own graphical database monitoring software that was bought by a database tools company and spent six years there creating admin, data modeling, development, and performance tools for a lot of different databases. So, needless to say, I’m definitely a proponent of using good DB tools.

Today, while you still have folks who are command-line only, the vast majority of database pro’s are happy to use tools software if they get the job done.

A key component of our DataStax Enterprise Edition is OpsCenter, which is our visual big data management solution. With version 3.0 of OpsCenter, we’ve delivered some great new features that I know you’ll be interested in because they help reduce the time it takes to tackle many common administration tasks. Let me briefly walk through each with you.

Enterprise Provisioning

Apache Cassandra got a lot of knocks a few years back for being hard to install and get going. If anyone today tells you that’s still true, they’re just wrong mainly for two reasons: (1) They likely haven’t seen all the improvements made in Cassandra that make it much more simple to install and run; (2) They haven’t downloaded and used OpsCenter 3.0.

Version 3.0 of OpsCenter has full visual support for creating new Cassandra / Hadoop / Solr database clusters either on premise or in the cloud. Plus, you can now handle a lot more admin tasks visually than you could in the past: adding nodes, starting and stopping nodes, editing config files, doing rolling restarts, etc.

For more info on 3.0’s new provisioning features, see my other blog post on our dev blog that showcases these items in more depth.

Visual Restore with Object Level Reach

I think it’s fair to say that, outside of a major software upgrade, nothing strikes fear into the hearts of DB admins more than a critical database restore. When the pressure is on, systems are down, nothing tests whether your deodorant works or not more than this. Add to that the complexity of a database running across many machines and datacenters and things just get tougher.

That’s why, in OpsCenter 3.0, we added visual restore capabilities that work with our visual backup functionality that was added back in version 2.0. Now, you can point and click your way through a complex restore with confidence because OpsCenter does all the heavy lifting for you.

Plus, OpsCenter’s restore provides for object-level recovery. Why is this important? Let’s say you have a 10TB database cluster and you drop a critical table or delete some key rows in a column family. The last thing you want to do is be forced to do a full 10TB restore just to get back one object or rows in a table. With OpsCenter’s restore interface, you can just bring back selected objects vs. the whole database, which is definitely a time saver.

Custom Backup Management

One thing we added to OpsCenter’s backup functionality in 3.0 is the ability to customize what happens before and after a backup runs. This lets you do things like send backup files off to a cloud storage provider for safekeeping and more.

Software Update Notifications

With OpsCenter 3.0, you don’t have to wonder if you’re on the latest software release of any DataStax software. OpsCenter visually notifies you of any updates to DataStax Enterprise server, OpsCenter, and Apache Cassandra, so you’ll never be behind.

Diagnostic Collections

If a cluster begins to slow down or if problems seem to be developing, oftentimes admins need help in knowing what logs and statistics to look at to understand what’s happening underneath the covers. OpsCenter 3.0 helps in this regard by providing one button that an admin can click that collects all relevant logs and diagnostics into a single package that can be downloaded and reviewed or sent off to DataStax support for quick analysis.

And More…

OpsCenter 3.0 includes more enhancements such as writing metadata to non-monitored clusters, better visual object creation and management, new alerts, and more.

For More Information

To try out OpsCenter 3.0’s new management features, download a copy today. DataStax Enterprise Edition w/ OpsCenter Enterprise is completely free to use in development environments with no restrictions, however production deployments do require that a subscription be purchased.

For more information on how to use the new OpsCenter features, please see our online documentation, our “What’s New in DataStax 3.0?” white paper, as well as some tech blog posts that I and the OpsCenter team have written, which are coming in our DataStax dev blog.



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