Connect your client applications to ZDM Proxy

The ZDM Proxy is designed to look and feel very much like a conventional Cassandra® cluster. You communicate with it using the CQL query language used in your existing client applications. It understands the same messaging protocols used by Cassandra, DataStax Enterprise (DSE) server and DataStax Astra DB. As a result, most of your client applications won’t be able to distinguish between connecting to ZDM Proxy and connecting directly to your Cassandra cluster.

On this page, we explain how to connect your client applications to a Cassandra cluster. We then move on to discuss how this process changes when connecting to a ZDM Proxy. We conclude by describing two sample client applications that serve as real-world examples of how to build a client application that works effectively with ZDM Proxy.

You can use the provided sample client applications, in addition to your own, as a quick way to validate that the deployed ZDM Proxy is reading and writing data from the expected Origin and Target clusters.

Finally, we will explain how to connect the cqlsh command-line client to the ZDM Proxy.

DataStax drivers

At DataStax, we’ve developed and maintain a set of drivers for client applications to use when connecting to Cassandra, DSE, or Astra DB:

These drivers provide a native implementation of the messaging protocols used to communicate with a Cassandra or DSE cluster or Astra DB. They allow you to execute queries, iterate through results, access metadata about your cluster, and perform other related activities.

Connecting DataStax drivers to Cassandra

Perhaps the simplest way to demonstrate how to use the DataStax drivers to connect your client application to a Cassandra cluster is an example in the form of some sample code. But there’s a bit of a problem: the DataStax drivers are independent projects implemented natively in the relevant programming language.

This approach offers the benefit of allowing each project to provide an API that makes the most sense for the language or platform on which it’s implemented. Unfortunately it also means there is some variation between languages. With that in mind, the following pseudocode provides reasonable guidance for understanding how a client application might use one of the drivers.

// Create an object to represent a Cassandra cluster listening for connections at
// on the default port (9042).  The username and password are necessary
// only if your Cassandra cluster has authentication enabled.
Cluster my_cluster = Cluster.build_new_cluster(contact_points = "", username="myusername", password="mypassword")

// Connect our Cluster object to our Cassandra cluster, returning a Session
Session my_session = my_cluster.connect()

// Execute a query, returning a ResultSet
ResultSet my_result_set = my_session.execute("select release_version from system.local")

// Retrieve the "release_version" column from the first row of our result set
String release_version = my_result_set.first_row().get_column("release_version")

// Close our Session and Cluster

// Display the release version to the user

As noted, you’ll see some differences in individual drivers:

  • New versions of the Java driver no longer define a Cluster object. Client programs create a Session directly.

  • The Node.js driver has no notion of a Cluster or Session at all, instead using a Client object to represent this functionality.

The details may vary but you’ll still see the same general pattern described in the pseudocode in each of the drivers.

This topic does not describe details or APIs for any of the DataStax drivers mentioned above. All the drivers come with a complete set of documentation for exactly this task. The following links provide some good starting points for learning about the interfaces for each specific driver:

The links above lead to the documentation for the most recent version of each driver. You can find the documentation for earlier versions by selecting the appropriate version number from the drop-down menu in the upper right.

Connecting DataStax drivers to ZDM Proxy

We mentioned above that connecting to a ZDM Proxy should be almost indistinguishable from connecting directly to your Cassandra cluster. This design decision means there isn’t much to say here; everything we discussed in the section above also applies when connecting your DataStax driver to a ZDM Proxy. There are a few extra considerations to keep in mind, though, when using the proxy.

Client-side compression

Client applications must not enable client-side compression when connecting through the ZDM Proxy, as this is not currently supported. This is disabled by default in all drivers, but if it was enabled in your client application configuration it will have to be temporarily disabled when connecting to the ZDM Proxy.

Client application credentials

The credentials provided by the client application are used when forwarding its requests. However, the client application has no notion that there are two clusters involved: from its point of view, it talks to just one cluster as usual. For this reason, the ZDM Proxy will only use the client application credentials when forwarding requests to one cluster (typically Target), and it will resort to using the credentials in its own configuration to forward requests to the other cluster (typically Origin).

This means that, if your ZDM Proxy is configured with an Origin or Target cluster with user authentication enabled, your client application has to provide credentials when connecting to the proxy:

  • If both clusters require authentication, your client application must pass the credentials for Target. This is also the case if only Target requires authentication but Origin does not.

  • If Origin requires authentication but Target does not, your client application must supply credentials for Origin.

  • If neither cluster requires authentication, no credentials are needed.

Auth enabled on Origin

Auth enabled on Target

Client application credentials












No credentials

ZDM proxy credentials usage
How different sets of credentials are used by the ZDM Proxy when authentication is enabled on both clusters

A note on the Astra Secure Connect Bundle

If your ZDM Proxy is configured to use Astra DB as an Origin or Target, your client application does not need to provide an Astra Secure Connect Bundle (SCB) when connecting to the proxy. It will, however, have to supply the Astra client ID and client secret as a username and password (respectively).

Sample client applications

The documentation for the DataStax drivers provides information about how to connect these drivers to your Cassandra cluster or ZDM Proxy and how to use them to issue queries, update data and perform other actions. In addition to the smaller code samples provided in the documentation, we also provide a few sample client applications which demonstrate the use of the DataStax Java driver to interact with ZDM Proxy as well as Origin and Target for that proxy.

ZDM Demo Client

ZDM Demo Client is a minimal Java web application which provides a simple, stripped-down example of an application built to work with ZDM Proxy. After updating connection information you can compile and run the application locally and interact with it using HTTP clients such as curl or wget.

You can find the details of building and running ZDM Demo Client in the README.

Themis client

Themis is a Java command-line client application that allows you to insert randomly-generated data into some combination of these three sources:

  • Directly into Origin

  • Directly into Target

  • Into the ZDM Proxy, and subsequently on to Origin and Target

The client application can then be used to query the inserted data. This allows you to validate that the ZDM Proxy is reading and writing data from the expected sources. Configuration details for the clusters and/or ZDM Proxy are defined in a YAML file. Details are in the README.

In addition to any utility as a validation tool, Themis also serves as an example of a larger client application which uses the Java driver to connect to a ZDM Proxy — as well as directly to Cassandra or Astra DB clusters — and perform operations. The configuration logic as well as the cluster and session management code have been cleanly separated into distinct packages to make them easy to understand.

Connecting CQLSH to the ZDM Proxy

CQLSH is a simple, command-line client that is able to connect to any CQL cluster, enabling you to interactively send CQL requests to it. CQLSH comes pre-installed on any Cassandra or DSE node, or it can be downloaded and run as a standalone client on any machine able to connect to the desired cluster.

Using CQLSH to connect to a ZDM Proxy instance is very easy:

  • Download CQLSH for free from here on a machine that has connectivity to the ZDM Proxy instances:

    • To connect to the ZDM Proxy, any version is fine.

    • The Astra-ready version additionally supports connecting directly to an Astra DB cluster by passing the cluster’s Secure Connect Bundle and valid credentials.

  • Install it by uncompressing the archive: tar -xvf cqlsh-<…​>.tar.gz.

  • Navigate to the cqlsh-<…​>/bin directory, for example cd cqlsh-astra/bin.

  • Launch CQLSH:

    • Specify the IP of a ZDM Proxy instance.

    • Specify the port on which the ZDM Proxy listens for client connections, if different to 9042.

    • Use the appropriate credentials for the ZDM Proxy, as explained above.

For example, if one of your ZDM Proxy instances has IP Address and listens on port 14002, the command would look like:

./cqlsh 14002 -u <my_creds_user> -p <my_creds_password>

If the ZDM Proxy listens on port 9042, you can omit the port from the command above. If credentials are not required, just omit the -u and -p options.

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