Christian Hasker

The Power of Community

By Christian HaskerMay 22, 2014

Four years ago my wife and I, like many new parents, and especially those in San Francisco it seems, were fretting about where to send our twin daughters to school. We were firm on the idea that they should attend public school, but had heard so many horror stories about the local lottery process, we weren’t sure how it would pan out. We made the prerequisite tours, and then one day my wife came home and said, “I know where I want Ruby and Lily to go to school; it’s just a small school and I love the sense of community they have there.”

Community ended up being the reason we chose that school, and in the three years since, time and time again it has proven to be a great decision. The parents, teachers and students have a wonderful dynamic, and parents are encouraged to get involved in school life. I hear from friends that there are many schools where the opposite is true; parents just drop off and pick up and have very little involvement in the direction and running of the school. Those parents and the students are missing out on a powerful and formative experience: the power of community. The definition of community is “a social unit of any size that shares common values.”

How important is community in the technology world? In some way, shape or form, I have been working with database communities for the past 15 years, mostly with proprietary software communities like Oracle and SQL Server. From 2009 onwards I got involved with the Hadoop and NoSQL communities, and now I am privileged to be involved with a fantastic technology community, the Apache Cassandra Community.

The team at Chaordic show off their Cassandra swag, and swagger

The team at Chaordic show off their Cassandra swag, and swagger

When I started with DataStax two years ago, the Cassandra community was small in number, but tight-knit, passionate and helpful. The speed at which the community has grown is outstanding, and now we are a sizable community of tens of thousands around the globe. With that rapid growth, the passion and helpfulness of the community has not changed, and as a result it is often quoted as one of the key reasons for choosing Apache Cassandra. The challenge for us in the future at DataStax as good stewards of the open-source community, will be to keep it cohesive, responsive and transparent so that the wonderful dynamics that so many users tout, continue to be reasons to pick up Apache Cassandra.

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soundcloud-logo Screen Shot 2013-08-26 at 2.17.16 PM

“I think one of the reasons why Cassandra has taken off and is doing so well is because of its awesome community; I have had the pleasure of interacting with a few committers. I have worked with a few people in the past, specifically where there was a lot of contribution done to Cassandra.”   – Vipul Sharma, Director of Data Engineering, Eventbrite

“The community has a lot of people interested in talking, discussing and supporting Cassandra.  It is helpful, and easy to find content and meetups.  Overall, a very nice experience.” – Eiti, Kimura Software Engineer, Movile

“The community is fantastic. The #cassandra IRC channel is a lively bunch; folks are always willing to help out and offer advice.” – Andres Rangel, Senior Software Engineer, Hulu

“The Cassandra community is very responsive. I’ve had positive experience with it, reporting bugs and submitting patches is very easy and you get immediate feedback. You can also include features that you would like in Cassandra. The mailing lists are very responsive. It’s easy to get your request answered quickly.” – Romid Aladini, Data Infrastructure Engineer, SoundCloud

“The community is very responsive on the mailing list and IRC, and there are loads of blogs out there with information.” – Adam Holmburg, Software Engineer, GoDaddy

If you’d like to get a taste of what the Apache Cassandra community is like join your local meet up group, or better still, attend this year’s Cassandra Summit in San Francisco for free by registering here:



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