WTF Is a SuperColumn? An Intro to the Cassandra Data Model

If you’re coming from an RDBMS background (which is almost everyone) you’ll probably trip over some of the naming conventions while learning about Cassandra’s data model. It took me and my team members at Digg a couple days of talking things out before we “got it”. In recent weeks a bikeshed went down in the dev mailing list proposing a completely new naming scheme to alleviate some of the confusion. Throughout this discussion I kept thinking: “maybe if there were some decent examples out there people wouldn’t get so confused by the naming.” So, this is my stab at explaining Cassandra’s data model; It’s intended to help you get your feet wet & doesn’t go into every single detail but, hopefully, it helps clarify a few things.

BTW: this is long. If you’d rather have a PDF version of this you can download it here.


Great breakdown of the data schema for Cassandra.