You can secure traffic between the driver and Cassandra with SSL. There are two aspects to that:

  • client-to-node encryption, where the traffic is encrypted, and the client verifies the identity of the Cassandra nodes it connects to;
  • optionally, client certificate authentication, where Cassandra nodes also verify the identity of the client.

This section describes the driver-side configuration; it assumes that you’ve already configured SSL in Cassandra:

  • the Cassandra documentation covers a basic approach with self-signed certificates, which is fine for development and tests.
  • this blog post details a more advanced solution based on a Certificate Authority (CA).

Preparing the certificates

Client truststore

This is required for client-to-node encryption.

If you’re using self-signed certificates, you need to export the public part of each node’s certificate from that node’s keystore:

keytool -export -alias cassandra -file cassandranode0.cer -keystore .keystore

Then add all public certificates to the client truststore:

keytool -import -v -trustcacerts -alias <cassandra_node0> -file cassandranode0.cer -keystore client.truststore
keytool -import -v -trustcacerts -alias <cassandra_node1> -file cassandranode1.cer -keystore client.truststore

If you’re using a Certificate Authority, the client truststore only needs to contain the CA’s certificate:

keytool -import -v -trustcacerts -alias CARoot -file ca.cer -keystore client.truststore

Client keystore

If you also intend to use client certificate authentication, generate the public and private key pair for the client:

keytool -genkey -keyalg RSA -alias client -keystore client.keystore

If you’re using self-signed certificates, extract the public part of the client certificate, and import it in the truststore of each Cassandra node:

keytool -export -alias client -file client.cer -keystore client.keystore
keytool -import -v -trustcacerts -alias client -file client.cer -keystore server.truststore

If you’re using a CA, sign the client certificate with it (see the blog post linked at the top of this page). Then the nodes’ truststores only need to contain the CA’s certificate (which should already be the case if you’ve followed the steps for inter-node encryption).

Driver configuration

By default, the driver’s SSL support is based on the JDK’s built-in implementation: JSSE (Java Secure Socket Extension),.

To enable it, you need to define an engine factory in the configuration.

JSSE, property-based

datastax-java-driver {
  advanced.ssl-engine-factory {
    class = DefaultSslEngineFactory

    # This property is optional. If it is not present, the driver won't explicitly enable cipher
    # suites on the engine, which according to the JDK documentations results in "a minimum quality
    # of service".
    // cipher-suites = [ "TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA", "TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA" ]

    # Whether or not to require validation that the hostname of the server certificate's common
    # name matches the hostname of the server being connected to. If not set, defaults to true.
    // hostname-validation = true

    # The locations and passwords used to access truststore and keystore contents.
    # These properties are optional. If either truststore-path or keystore-path are specified,
    # the driver builds an SSLContext from these files.  If neither option is specified, the
    # default SSLContext is used, which is based on system property configuration.
    // truststore-path = /path/to/client.truststore
    // truststore-password = password123
    // keystore-path = /path/to/client.keystore
    // keystore-password = password123

Alternatively to storing keystore and truststore information in your configuration, you can instead use JSSE system properties:
# If you're using client authentication:

JSSE, programmatic

If you need more control than what system properties allow, you need to write your own engine factory. If you just need specific configuration on the SSLEngine, you can extend the default factory and override newSslEngine. For example, here is how you would configure custom AlgorithmConstraints:

public class CustomSslEngineFactory extends DefaultSslEngineFactory {

  public CustomSslEngineFactory(DriverContext context) {

  public SSLEngine newSslEngine(SocketAddress remoteEndpoint) {
    SSLEngine engine = super.newSslEngine(remoteEndpoint);
    SSLParameters parameters = engine.getSSLParameters();
    return engine;

Then declare your custom implementation in the configuration:

datastax-java-driver {
  advanced.ssl-engine-factory {
    class = com.mycompany.CustomSslEngineFactory


Netty provides a more efficient SSL implementation based on native OpenSSL support. It’s possible to customize the driver to use it instead of JSSE.

This is an advanced topic and beyond the scope of this document, but here is an overview:

  1. add a dependency to Netty-tcnative: follow these instructions;
  2. write your own implementation of the driver’s SslHandlerFactory. This is a higher-level abstraction than SslEngineFactory, that returns a Netty SslHandler. You’ll build this handler with Netty’s own SslContext;
  3. write a subclass of DefaultDriverContext that overrides buildSslHandlerFactory() to return the custom SslHandlerFactory you wrote in step 2. This will cause the driver to completely ignore the ssl-engine-factory options in the configuration;
  4. write a subclass of SessionBuilder that overrides buildContext to return the custom context that you wrote in step 3.
  5. build your session with your custom builder.

Note that this approach relies on the driver’s internal API.