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Cassandra vs Apache Spark: What are the differences?

What is Cassandra? A partitioned row store. Rows are organized into tables with a required primary key. Partitioning means that Cassandra can distribute your data across multiple machines in an application-transparent matter. Cassandra will automatically repartition as machines are added and removed from the cluster. Row store means that like relational databases, Cassandra organizes data by rows and columns. The Cassandra Query Language (CQL) is a close relative of SQL.

What is Apache Spark? Fast and general engine for large-scale data processing. Spark is a fast and general processing engine compatible with Hadoop data. It can run in Hadoop clusters through YARN or Spark's standalone mode, and it can process data in HDFS, HBase, Cassandra, Hive, and any Hadoop InputFormat. It is designed to perform both batch processing (similar to MapReduce) and new workloads like streaming, interactive queries, and machine learning.

Cassandra belongs to "Databases" category of the tech stack, while Apache Spark can be primarily classified under "Big Data Tools".

"Distributed" is the top reason why over 96 developers like Cassandra, while over 45 developers mention "Open-source" as the leading cause for choosing Apache Spark.

Cassandra and Apache Spark are both open source tools. It seems that Apache Spark with 22.5K GitHub stars and 19.4K forks on GitHub has more adoption than Cassandra with 5.27K GitHub stars and 2.35K GitHub forks.

Uber Technologies, Facebook, and Spotify are some of the popular companies that use Cassandra, whereas Apache Spark is used by Uber Technologies, Slack, and Shopify. Cassandra has a broader approval, being mentioned in 342 company stacks & 240 developers stacks; compared to Apache Spark, which is listed in 266 company stacks and 112 developer stacks.

What is Cassandra?

Partitioning means that Cassandra can distribute your data across multiple machines in an application-transparent matter. Cassandra will automatically repartition as machines are added and removed from the cluster. Row store means that like relational databases, Cassandra organizes data by rows and columns. The Cassandra Query Language (CQL) is a close relative of SQL.

What is Apache Spark?

Spark is a fast and general processing engine compatible with Hadoop data. It can run in Hadoop clusters through YARN or Spark's standalone mode, and it can process data in HDFS, HBase, Cassandra, Hive, and any Hadoop InputFormat. It is designed to perform both batch processing (similar to MapReduce) and new workloads like streaming, interactive queries, and machine learning.

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What are some alternatives to Cassandra and Apache Spark?
HBase
Apache HBase is an open-source, distributed, versioned, column-oriented store modeled after Google' Bigtable: A Distributed Storage System for Structured Data by Chang et al. Just as Bigtable leverages the distributed data storage provided by the Google File System, HBase provides Bigtable-like capabilities on top of Apache Hadoop.
Hadoop
The Apache Hadoop software library is a framework that allows for the distributed processing of large data sets across clusters of computers using simple programming models. It is designed to scale up from single servers to thousands of machines, each offering local computation and storage.
Redis
Redis is an open source, BSD licensed, advanced key-value store. It is often referred to as a data structure server since keys can contain strings, hashes, lists, sets and sorted sets.
Couchbase
Developed as an alternative to traditionally inflexible SQL databases, the Couchbase NoSQL database is built on an open source foundation and architected to help developers solve real-world problems and meet high scalability demands.
MySQL
The MySQL software delivers a very fast, multi-threaded, multi-user, and robust SQL (Structured Query Language) database server. MySQL Server is intended for mission-critical, heavy-load production systems as well as for embedding into mass-deployed software.
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How developers use Cassandra and Apache Spark
Avatar of Soundcloud
Soundcloud uses CassandraCassandra

Stitch is a wrapper around a Cassandra database. It has a web application that provides read-access to the counts through an HTTP API. The counts are written to Cassandra in two distinct ways, and it's possible to use either or both of them:

  • Real-time: For real-time updates, Stitch has a processor application that handles a stream of events coming from a broker and increments the appropriate counts in Cassandra.

  • Batch: The batch part is a MapReduce job running on Hadoop that reads event logs, calculates the overall totals, and bulk loads this into Cassandra.

Avatar of Vital Labs, Inc.
Vital Labs, Inc. uses CassandraCassandra

Cassandra is our data management workhorse. It handles all our key-value services, supports time-series data storage and retrieval, securely stores all our audit trails, and backs our Datomic database.

Avatar of SocialCops
SocialCops uses CassandraCassandra

While we experimented with Cassandra in the past, we are no longer using it. It is, however, open for consideration in future projects.

Avatar of ShareThis
ShareThis uses CassandraCassandra

We are using Cassandra in a few of our apps. One of them is as a count service application to track the number of shares, clicks.. etc

Avatar of Wei Chen
Wei Chen uses Apache SparkApache Spark

Spark is good at parallel data processing management. We wrote a neat program to handle the TBs data we get everyday.

Avatar of Kaiko
Kaiko uses CassandraCassandra
Avatar of Ralic Lo
Ralic Lo uses Apache SparkApache Spark

Used Spark Dataframe API on Spark-R for big data analysis.

Avatar of Kalibrr
Kalibrr uses Apache SparkApache Spark

We use Apache Spark in computing our recommendations.

Avatar of BrainFinance
BrainFinance uses Apache SparkApache Spark

As a part of big data machine learning stack (SMACK).

Avatar of Dotmetrics
Dotmetrics uses Apache SparkApache Spark

Big data analytics and nightly transformation jobs.

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