The cassandra utility

Cassandra start-up parameters can be run from the command line (in Tarball installations) or specified in the file (Package or Tarball installations).

Cassandra start-up parameters can be run from the command line (Tarball installations) or specified in the file (Package or Tarball installations).

Note: You can also use the file to pass additional options, such as maximum and minimum heap size, to the Java virtual machine rather than setting them in the environment.
The location of the cassandra.yaml file depends on the type of installation:
Package installations /etc/cassandra/cassandra.yaml
Tarball installations install_location/resources/cassandra/conf/cassandra.yaml
The location of the file depends on the type of installation:
Package installations /etc/cassandra/
Tarball installations install_location/conf/


Add the following to the file:
The location of the file depends on the type of installation:
Package installations /etc/cassandra/
Tarball installations install_location/conf/
For Tarball installations, you can run this tool from the command line:
cassandra [OPTIONS]


  • JVM_OPTS="$JVM_OPTS -Dcassandra.load_ring_state=false"
  • Command line: bin/cassandra -Dcassandra.load_ring_state=false

The Example section contains more examples.

Command line only options

Option Description
-f Start the cassandra process in foreground. The default is to start as background process.
-h Help.
-p filename Log the process ID in the named file. Useful for stopping Cassandra by killing its PID.
-v Print the version and exit.

Start-up parameters

The -D option specifies the start-up parameters in both the command line and file.

Facilitates setting auto_bootstrap to false on initial set-up of the cluster. The next time you start the cluster, you do not need to change the cassandra.yaml file on each node to revert to true.
In a multi-instance deployment, multiple Cassandra instances will independently assume that all CPU processors are available to it. This setting allows you to specify a smaller set of processors.
If JNA fails to initialize, Cassandra fails to boot. Use this command to boot Cassandra without JNA.
The directory location of the cassandra.yaml file. The default location depends on the type of installation.
cassandra.ignore_dynamic_snitch_severity=true|false (Default: false)
Setting this property to true causes the dynamic snitch to ignore the severity indicator from gossip when scoring nodes. Future versions will default to true and this setting will be removed. See Failure detection and recovery and Dynamic snitching in Cassandra: past, present, and future.
Use when virtual nodes (vnodes) are not used. Sets the initial partitioner token for a node the first time the node is started. (Default: disabled)
Note: Vnodes are highly recommended as they automatically select tokens.
Set to false to start Cassandra on a node but not have the node join the cluster. (Default: true) You can use nodetool join and a JMX call to join the ring afterwards.
Set to false to clear all gossip state for the node on restart. (Default: true)
Enable pluggable metrics reporter. See Pluggable metrics reporting in Cassandra 2.0.2.
Set the port on which the CQL native transport listens for clients. (Default: 9042)
Set the partitioner. (Default: org.apache.cassandra.dht.Murmur3Partitioner)
Set the cache size for prepared statements, see the Cassandra driver documentation for more information.
cassandra.replace_address=listen_address or broadcast_address of dead node
To replace a node that has died, restart a new node in its place specifying the listen_address or broadcast_address that the new node is assuming. The new node must not have any data in its data directory, that is, it must be in the same state as before bootstrapping.
Note: The broadcast_address defaults to the listen_address except when using the Ec2MultiRegionSnitch.
Allow restoring specific tables from an archived commit log.
Defines the amount of time a node waits to hear from other nodes before formally joining the ring. (Default: 1000ms)
Set the port for the Thrift RPC service, which is used for client connections. (Default: 9160).
Set the SSL port for encrypted communication. (Default: 7001)
Enable or disable the native transport server. See start_native_transport in cassandra.yaml. (Default: true)
Enable or disable the Thrift RPC server. (Default: true)
Set the port for inter-node communication. (Default: 7000)
Set the default location for the trigger JARs. (Default: conf/triggers)
For testing new compaction and compression strategies. It allows you to experiment with different strategies and benchmark write performance differences without affecting the production workload. See Testing compaction and compression.
True makes Cassandra 2.1 bootstrapping behavior effective. False makes Cassandra 2.0 behavior effective.


Clear gossip state when starting a node:
  • Command line: bin/cassandra -Dcassandra.load_ring_state=false
  • JVM_OPTS="$JVM_OPTS -Dcassandra.load_ring_state=false"
Start Cassandra on a node and do not join the cluster:
  • Command line: bin/cassandra -Dcassandra.join_ring=false
  • JVM_OPTS="$JVM_OPTS -Dcassandra.join_ring=false"
Replacing a dead node:
  • Command line: bin/cassandra -Dcassandra.replace_address=
  • JVM_OPTS="$JVM_OPTS -Dcassandra.replace_address="