K8ssandra glossary

Helpful definitions of common Kubernetes terms along with the K8ssandra or Apache Cassandra context.


The Azure Kubernetes Service from Microsoft. One of the “top 3” major cloud providers supported by K8ssandra, along with EKS from Amazon, and GKE from Google. AKS offers serverless Kubernetes, an integrated continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) experience, and enterprise-grade security and governance.


The process of comparing the data of all replicas and updating each replica to the newest version. Cassandra has two phases to the process: Build a Merkle tree for each replica. Compare the Merkle trees to discover differences. K8ssandra provides Reaper as one of its deployed components, enabling you to perform Cassandra repair operations.


A CNDB product from DataStax that gives you the ability to develop and deploy data-driven applications with a cloud-native service, without the hassles of database and infrastructure administration. By automating tuning and configuration, Astra radically simplifies database and streaming operations.


Helm charts are a YAML-based packaging format to create, version, share, and publish software in Kubernetes. A Helm chart is a collection of templates and settings that describe a set of Kubernetes resources. For details about each Helm chart provided by K8ssandra, see this reference topic.


An acronym for Cloud Native DataBase, which refers to a database that is created and managed in a cloud environment. DataStax Astra is a CNDB, as well as an Apache Cassandra instance that’s deployed to a Kubernetes cloud provider (such as GKE, EKS, AKS) by K8ssandra.


An image that is a ready-to-run software package with everything needed to run an application: code, runtime, system tools, system libraries, and settings.


Cassandra Query Language is a set of DDL and DML statements designed for communicating with Apache Cassandra databases. CQL offers a model close to SQL in the sense that data is put in tables containing rows of columns.


A command-line shell (Cassandra Query Language Shell) for interacting with Cassandra through CQL. CQLSH is included with every Cassandra package, and can be found in the bin/ directory alongside the cassandra executable. CQLSH utilizes the Python native protocol driver, and connects to the single node specified on the command line.


Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service is one of the “top 3” major cloud providers supported by K8ssandra, along with GKE from Google, and AKS from Microsoft. EKS allows you to start, run, and scale Kubernetes applications in the AWS cloud or on-premises.


Google Kubernetes Engine is one of the “top 3” major cloud providers supported by K8ssandra, along with EKS from Amazon, and AKS from Microsoft. GKE includes a set of UI-based tools that are part of the Google Cloud Console for GCP environments.


In Cassandra, a protocol to discover location and state information about the other nodes participating in the cluster. Gossip is a peer-to-peer communication protocol in which nodes periodically exchange state information about themselves and about other known nodes.


A multi-platform open source analytics and interactive visualization web application. It provides charts, graphs, and alerts for the web when connected to supported data sources. K8ssandra provides preconfigured Grafana dashboards that visualize Cassandra, cluster, OS and node metrics that are captured at runtime by Prometheus (also provided by K8ssandra). See the Metrics Collector component, and the monitor task.


Commonly used tool that helps you manage Kubernetes applications. K8ssandra works with Helm v3. It includes a command-line tool, a standard for chart definitions, and a repository for use in Kubernetes.

Helm chart

Used to define, install, and upgrade Kubernetes applications. See the chart summary on the Helm site. Also refer to the K8ssandra reference topics for details about the Helm charts deployed by K8ssandra.

Helm repository

The place where charts are collected and shared for Kubernetes packages. For example, you can use helm repo add k8ssandra https://helm.k8ssandra.io/stable, and helm repo update, to stay current with the latest K8ssandra software. See configure the K8ssandra Helm repository in the K8ssandra quickstarts.


The top-level database object that controls the replication for the object it contains at each datacenter in the cluster. Keyspaces contain tables, materialized views, user-defined types, functions, and aggregates.


A command-line tool that allows you to run commands against Kubernetes clusters. You can use kubectl (Kubernetes control) to deploy applications, inspect and manage cluster resources, and view logs.


A portable, extensible, open source platform for managing containerized workloads and services, that facilitates both declarative configuration and automation. It has a large, rapidly growing ecosystem. The name Kubernetes originates from Greek, meaning helmsman or pilot.


An open source, production-ready platform for running Apache Cassandra® on Kubernetes. K8ssandra includes automation for operational tasks such as repairs, backup/restore, and monitoring.


An open source backup and restore tool for Cassandra data, deployed by K8ssandra for Kubernetes environments. For more, see Medusa component and backup and restore tasks.


A tool that lets you run Kubernetes locally. Minikube runs a single-node Kubernetes cluster on your personal computer (including Windows, macOS and Linux PCs) so that you can try out Kubernetes, or for daily development work.


An Amazon S3-compatible server-side software storage stack. MinIO is one of the local or cloud-based storage objects (“buckets”) supported by K8ssandra’s Medusa backup/restore operations. For more, see Backup and restore with MinIO buckets.


A way to provide a scope for names. Names of resources need to be unique within a namespace, but not across namespaces. Note that namespaces cannot be nested inside one another and each Kubernetes resource can only be in one namespace.


In Cassandra, a data replication strategy that places replicas in the same CassandraDatacenter by walking the ring clockwise until reaching the first node in another rack. See also SimpleStrategy.


A Cassandra command-line interface for monitoring a cluster and performing routine database operations. It is typically run from an operational node, and includes commands such as nodetool repair. For repair operations in Kubernetes, K8ssandra recommends an alternative: Reaper, which is deployed by K8ssandra. Also see the Cassandra repair tasks.


Represents a single instance of a running process in your cluster. Pods contain one or more containers, such as Docker containers. When a Pod runs multiple containers, the containers are managed as a single entity and share the Pod’s resources. here, just checking format options. For Cassandra and DataStax Enterprise users, a “node” in a cluster is the equivalent of a pod.

port forwarding

An application of network address translation that redirects a communication request from one address and port number combination to another, while the packets are traversing a network gateway, such as a router or firewall. For information about using port forwarding with K8ssandra deployments, see:


An open source tool deployed by K8ssandra and used for event monitoring and alerting. Prometheus records real-time metrics in a time series database built using a HTTP pull model, with flexible queries and real-time alerting. K8ssandra provides preconfigured Grafana dashboards that display the cluster, OS, and node metrics collected by Prometheus in your Kubernetes environment.


In the context of a CassandraDatacenter topology, a rack is a logical grouping of Cassandra nodes within the ring. Cassandra uses racks so that it can ensure replicas are distributed among different logical groupings. The number of racks should equal the replication factor (RF) of your application keyspaces. Cassandra ensures that replicas are spread across racks, versus having multiple replicas within the same rack. For example, let’s say you are using RF = 3 with a 9-node cluster and 3 racks (and 3 nodes per rack). There will be one replica of the dataset spread across each rack. See the rack-related properties in the K8ssandra Helm Chart reference.


An open source tool deployed by K8ssandra that lets you schedule and orchestrate repairs of Apache Cassandra clusters. Reaper improves the existing Cassandra nodetool repair process by:

  • Splitting repair jobs into smaller tunable segments.
  • Handling back-pressure through monitoring running repairs and pending compactions.
  • Adding ability to pause or cancel repairs and track progress precisely. For details, see the K8ssandra documentation topics covering the Reaper component and repair tasks.


In the context of Cassandra data, anti-entropy is the process of comparing the data of all replicas, and updating each replica to the newest version. Cassandra has two phases to the process: Build a Merkle tree for each replica, and then compare the Merkle trees to discover differences. K8ssandra deploys Reaper to your Kubernetes environment. See Repair Cassandra with Reaper.


A database in which there is no formal or rigid schema. The work to provide attributes to the data is performed in client apps, rather than by RDBMS-style DDL definitions at database creation time.


A way to store and manage sensitive information, such as passwords, OAuth tokens, and ssh keys. Storing confidential information in a secret is safer and more flexible than putting it verbatim in a Pod definition or in a container image. For more, see K8ssandra security.


In Cassandra, a seed node is used to bootstrap the gossip process for new nodes joining a cluster. To learn the topology of the ring, a joining node contacts one of the nodes in the -seeds list in cassandra.yaml. The first time you bring up a node in a new cluster, only one node is the seed node. In Kubernetes,


A cloud computing execution model in which the cloud provider allocates machine resources on demand, taking care of the servers on behalf of their customers. Serverless computing does not hold resources in volatile memory; computing is rather done in short bursts with the results persisted to storage. When an app is not in use, there are no computing resources allocated to the app. Pricing is based on the actual amount of resources consumed by an application.


In Kubernetes, a service describes a set of pods that perform the same task.


In Cassandra, the default snitch type. Used only for single-datacenter deployments. It does not recognize datacenter or rack information and can be used only for single-datacenter deployments or single-zone in public clouds. It treats strategy order as proximity, which can improve cache locality when disabling read repair.


In Cassandra, a data replication strategy that places the first replica on a node determined by the partitioner. This strategy specifies how many replicas you want in each CassandraDatacenter. See also NetworkTopologyStrategy.

Site Reliability Engineer (SRE)

See SRE.


In Cassandra, the mapping from the IP addresses of nodes to physical and virtual locations, such as racks and data centers. There are several types of snitches. The type of snitch affects the request routing mechanism. See also SimpleSnitch.


An acronym for Site Reliability Engineer. A computing professional who applies aspects of software engineering to infrastructure and operations problems. The main goal of an SRE is to create scalable and highly reliable software systems. SRE is a more recent term for a discipline that was often called operations.


An open source data gateway that sits between your app and your databases. Stargate brings together an API platform and data request coordination code into one OSS project. See https://stargate.io.


The workload API object used to manage stateful applications. Manages the deployment and scaling of a set of pods, and provides guarantees about the ordering and uniqueness of these pods. Like a deployment, a StatefulSet manages pods that are based on an identical container spec. After installing K8ssandra, in the output of subsequent commands like kubectl get pods, notice the naming convention of using -sts- in the K8ssandra StatefulSet pod name: k8ssandra-dc1-default-sts-0. That important pod deployed by K8ssandra includes the cass-operator container.

kubectl get pods


NAME                                                READY   STATUS      RESTARTS   AGE
k8ssandra-cass-operator-766849b497-klgwf            1/1     Running     0          7m33s
k8ssandra-dc1-default-sts-0                         2/2     Running     0          7m5s
k8ssandra-dc1-stargate-5c46975f66-pxl84             1/1     Running     0          7m32s
k8ssandra-grafana-679b4bbd74-wj769                  2/2     Running     0          7m32s
k8ssandra-kube-prometheus-operator-85695ffb-ft8f8   1/1     Running     0          7m32s
k8ssandra-reaper-655fc7dfc6-n9svw                   1/1     Running     0          4m52s
k8ssandra-reaper-operator-79fd5b4655-748rv          1/1     Running     0          7m33s
k8ssandra-reaper-schema-dxvmm                       0/1     Completed   0          5m3s
prometheus-k8ssandra-kube-prometheus-prometheus-0   2/2     Running     1          7m27s

(In this example, the prior K8ssandra install command was helm install k8ssandra k8ssandra/k8ssandra, where the clusterName command parameter was k8ssandra and the default configured CassandraDatacenter value was dc1.)


In a database such as Cassandra, a collection of ordered (by name) columns fetched by row. A row consists of columns and have a primary key. The first part of the key is a column name. Subsequent parts of a compound key are other column names that define the order of columns in the table.


An HTTP reverse proxy and load balancer that makes deploying microservices easier. Traefik (pronounced “Traffic”) integrates with your existing infrastructure components and configures itself automatically and dynamically. The K8ssandra GitHub code and documentation include Traefik ingress configuration examples. See the Traefik ingress topics.

Next steps

  • FAQs: If you’re new to K8ssandra, these FAQs are for you.
  • Install: K8ssandra install steps for local development or production-ready cloud platforms.
  • Quickstarts: Post-install K8ssandra topics for developers or Site Reliability Engineers.
  • Components: Dig in to each deployed component of the K8ssandra stack and see how it communicates with the others.
  • Tasks: Need to get something done? Check out the Tasks topics for a helpful collection of outcome-based solutions.
  • Reference: Explore the K8ssandra configuration interface (Helm charts).