Initializing a multiple node cluster (single data center)

A deployment scenario for a Cassandra cluster with a single data center.

This topic contains information for deploying a Cassandra cluster with a single data center.


Each node must be correctly configured before starting the cluster. You must determine or perform the following before starting the cluster:
  • Install Cassandra on each node.
  • Choose a name for the cluster.
  • Get the IP address of each node.
  • Determine which nodes will be seed nodes. (Cassandra nodes use the seed node list for finding each other and learning the topology of the ring.)
  • Determine the snitch.
  • If using multiple data centers, determine a naming convention for each data center and rack, for example: DC1, DC2 or 100, 200 and RAC1, RAC2 or R101, R102.
  • Other possible configuration settings are described in The cassandra.yaml configuration file.

This example describes installing a six node cluster spanning two racks in a single data center. Each node is configured to use the RackInferringSnitch (multiple rack aware) and 256 virtual nodes (vnodes). It is recommended to have more than one seed node per data center.

In Cassandra, the term data center is a grouping of nodes. Data center is synonymous with replication group, that is, a grouping of nodes configured together for replication purposes. 


  1. Suppose you install Cassandra on these nodes:
    node0 (seed1)
    node3 (seed2)
    It is a best practice to have more than one seed node per data center.
  2. If you have a firewall running on the nodes in your cluster, you must open certain ports to allow communication between the nodes. See Configuring firewall port access.
  3. If Cassandra is running:

    Packaged installs:

    1. Stop Cassandra:
      $ sudo service cassandra stop
    2. Clear the data:
      $ sudo rm -rf /var/lib/cassandra/*
    Tarball installs:
    1. Stop Cassandra:
      $ ps auwx | grep cassandra
      $ sudo  kill <pid>
    2. Clear the data:
      $ cd <install_location>
      $ sudo rm -rf /var/lib/cassandra/*
  4. Modify the following property settings in the cassandra.yaml file for each node:
    • num_tokens: <recommended value: 256>
    • -seeds: <internal IP address of each seed node>
    • listen_address: <localhost IP address>
    • endpoint_snitch: <name of snitch> (See endpoint_snitch.)
    • auto_bootstrap: false (Add this setting only when initializing a fresh cluster with no data.)


    cluster_name: 'MyDemoCluster'
    num_tokens: 256
      - class_name: org.apache.cassandra.locator.SimpleSeedProvider
             - seeds:  ","
    endpoint_snitch: RackInferringSnitch

    node1 to node5

    The properties for these nodes are the same as node0 except for the listen_address.

  5. After you have installed and configured Cassandra on all nodes, start the seed nodes one at a time, and then start the rest of the nodes.

    If the node has restarted because of automatic restart, you must stop the node and clear the data directories, as described above.

    For packaged installs, run the following command:

    $ sudo service cassandra start

    For binary installs, run the following commands:

    $ cd <install_location> 
    $ bin/cassandra
  6. To check that the ring is up and running, run the nodetool status command.