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Cassandra Total Cost of Ownership Studyv1.2022

Product Evaluation: Serverless Cassandra and Self-Managed OSS Cassandra: 3-year Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. From Open Source to Serverless
  3. Cassandra TCO Test Setup
  4. Test Results
  5. Conclusion
  6. Disclaimer
  7. About DataStax
  8. About William McKnight
  9. About Jake Dolezal

1. Executive Summary

This study examines the full cost and true value of self-managed OSS Apache Cassandra® vs DataStax AstraDB fully managed DBaaS in Google Cloud. Our three-year total cost of ownership (TCO) calculations account for dedicated compute hardware (for self-managed Cassandra), cost per read and write operation (on Astra DB), storage growth (each write operation adds new data) and people cost. People costs consider that certain capabilities in Astra DB needed for the workload were not available in self-managed Cassandra, requiring workarounds. We used market rates and typical splits of full-time equivalent (FTE) and consulting to determine our people costs.

A realistic performance test, based on a usage pattern relatable to a modern enterprise, was established using NoSQLBench, an open-source benchmarking tool for the NoSQL ecosystem. This set the basis for our Astra DB pricing and helped determine the configuration of the self-managed Cassandra platform.

For our test, we selected a 12-node, self-managed Cassandra cluster of n2-highmem-16 virtual machines (VM) using the Ubuntu 20.04 operating system and installed the latest version of OSS Apache Cassandra 4.0.4 available at the time of testing. Since Astra DB is fully managed, there was no configuration to select.

The use case was built on a consumer application, which typically experiences a peak and a trough of activity each day. In our workload, on average, the peak is around midday and the trough around midnight. For simplicity, and given the ongoing nature of online commerce and business activity today, we also assumed this usage pattern continued seven days a week, 365 days a year.

For Astra DB, we used the pay-as-you-go pricing on GCP (without any discounts) available at the time of this testing. For self-managed Cassandra on GCP, we considered the cost of an enterprise-grade deployment, a production cluster with 12 nodes. We also provisioned enough storage to cover data growth, replication, and re-indexing.

Our final three-year total TCO figures for the study showed a cost of $353,346 for Astra DB and $2,797,123 for self-managed Cassandra. That makes Astra DB approximately one-eighth the cost of self-managed Cassandra in our test. Astra DB proved out with 95% less staffing costs, 3x less complexity, and 80% lower infrastructure costs than self-managed Cassandra.

This test shows the immense value of choosing an Astra DB database as a service to deploy Cassandra for an enterprise project.