ScyllaDB in Action by Bo Ingram

ScyllaDB is a powerful NoSQL database designed for scalability and fault tolerance. In this article, we will explore some of the lessons found within ScyllaDB in Action, by Bo Ingram. We’ll dive into the fundamentals of ScyllaDB and why it’s becoming increasingly popular among developers and organizations. Whether you’re new to ScyllaDB or looking to deepen your knowledge, this guide will provide valuable insights into this robust database system.

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Getting Started with ScyllaDB:

Before diving into ScyllaDB, having a basic understanding of SQL can be helpful. Familiarity with writing simple SELECT statements is advantageous, as it will aid in grasping ScyllaDB’s concepts. Additionally, some programming language familiarity, preferably Python, will be beneficial for building sample applications and understanding the database driver and client-side features.

That being said, ScyllaDB in Action is written to be flexible and holds lessons for all skill levels novice to expert. So, let’s jump right in with a sneak peek at just some kind of the content our guide has to offer.

Lessons of ScyllaDB

Data Modeling:
Designing a database schema in ScyllaDB differs from traditional relational databases. It requires unique techniques to ensure not only an easily comprehensible database but also one that performs exceptionally well. Scalability and efficient query performance are constant themes throughout this guide.

Consistency Levels in ScyllaDB:
ScyllaDB is an eventually consistent database, which means that inconsistencies in data might be observed as the system converges toward consistency. To address these challenges, ScyllaDB offers various consistency levels for queries. These levels include ALL, QUORUM, and ONE, each with its own trade-offs in terms of availability and consistency.

  • ALL: Requires acknowledgment from all replicas, sacrificing availability.
  • QUORUM: Requires a majority of replicas, balancing consistency and availability.
  • ONE: Requires acknowledgment from a single replica, prioritizing availability.

Choosing the right consistency level is crucial for your application’s performance and data correctness.


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ScyllaDB vs. Other Database Systems

ScyllaDB vs. Relational Databases: ScyllaDB’s distributed, NoSQL wide-column store architecture provides horizontal scalability, while relational databases tend to be vertically scalable. ScyllaDB focuses on BASE (Basic Availability, Soft-State, Eventual Consistency) guarantees, enabling faster writes but weaker consistency, while relational databases adhere to ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) for stronger transactional support.

ScyllaDB vs. Cassandra: ScyllaDB is often described as “Cassandra but in C++” and is designed for better performance. It leverages C++ to eliminate Java’s garbage collection pauses, resulting in consistent and improved query execution. ScyllaDB’s shard-per-core architecture enhances performance and fault tolerance compared to Cassandra.

ScyllaDB vs. Cloud-hosted Databases: ScyllaDB offers flexibility by being open-source and deployable on various cloud providers or on-premises. In contrast, cloud-hosted databases like Amazon Aurora, Google Cloud Spanner, or Google AlloyDB may lead to vendor lock-in and higher costs.

ScyllaDB vs. Document Stores: ScyllaDB prioritizes predictable performance by requiring schema definition upfront, while document stores like MongoDB provide flexibility but can lead to inefficient queries. ScyllaDB follows a BASE model, emphasizing Basic Availability, Soft-State, and Eventual Consistency, whereas MongoDB adheres to a CP model, emphasizing Consistency and Partition Tolerance.


When to Choose ScyllaDB

While ScyllaDB offers numerous advantages, it might not be the best choice for all scenarios. Applications that require stronger transactional support, such as financial systems, might benefit from relational databases with ACID guarantees. It’s crucial to evaluate your specific needs and goals before deciding on ScyllaDB.

Practical Benefits of ScyllaDB:

  • Fault Tolerance: ScyllaDB is designed to handle failures gracefully, ensuring high availability even in the face of node crashes. Recovery processes like hinted handoff simplify complex operations, allowing nodes to rejoin the cluster seamlessly.
  • Scalability: Scaling ScyllaDB is straightforward—simply add more nodes to the cluster. Topology changes, like adding or removing nodes, don’t require rebalancing the entire dataset, thanks to ScyllaDB’s hash ring and vnode (virtual node) design.
  • Real-world Usage: ScyllaDB is used in production systems by well-known companies such as Discord, Comcast, and Epic Games. Its growing popularity attests to its reliability and performance in real-world scenarios.


ScyllaDB is a powerful and versatile NoSQL database designed for scalability and fault tolerance. By understanding its principles, data modeling techniques, and how it compares to other database systems, you can harness its potential to build robust and efficient applications. Whether you’re a novice or an expert in databases, ScyllaDB offers exciting opportunities to elevate your data management capabilities.

So what are you waiting for? Check out ScyllaDB in Action now to start taking your skills to the next level!