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Comcast: Sprinting from Cassandra to Scylla

Comcast’s Philip Zimich said on the stage at Scylla Summit 2019 that the Xfinity X1 platform saw such dramatically improved performance with Scylla over Apache Cassandra, especially on long-tail latency, they were also going to rip out the caching layer for its UI. The performance Scylla provides is “a massive, massive gain compared to where we are today.” In his twenty minute presentation, Philip, Senior Director of Software Development & Engineering at Comcast, ventured back in history to Comcast’s move from Oracle to NoSQL via Apache Cassandra, its subsequent shift from Cassandra to Scylla, and laid out the roadmap through to 2022. He showed how with Scylla the Xfinity X1 team will save on their costs and reduced their node count by an order of magnitude (from 962 Cassandra nodes to only 78 Scylla nodes), while ensuring their user base still has ample room to grow.

Philip leads the architecture, development and operations of the Comcast’s X1 Scheduler system. The X1 Scheduler powers the DVR and program reminder experience on the Comcast X1 platform, a cable and streaming video service that supports more than 31 million set top boxes and “second screen” devices used on a monthly basis for 15 million households. Their X1 Scheduler processes more than 2 billion RESTful calls daily. To meet that scale, the X1 Scheduler uses multiple datastore technologies, including Cassandra, MongoDB, Elasticsearch and Scylla.

Click the link below to hear his talk in full. You can start with this short preview:

In the full video you’ll learn:

  • The issues Comcast faced in their use of Cassandra and DataStax
  • How Scylla’s performance has created a “snappier” UI for Comcast users
  • How they anticipate saving over 60% of their Cassandra operating costs once the migration is complete.
  • The methodology Comcast used through their evaluation, risk analysis and testing processes, plus
  • Details of their benchmarking, migration and deployment plans