Microsoft extends life support for aging Apache Cassandra 3.11 database

But only if you're ready to cozy up in Azure's abode

Microsoft says it plans to keep on supporting Apache Cassandra 3.11 a year past its end-of-life date... just as long as you're running it as an Azure Managed Instance.

Apache Cassandra is an open source NoSQL database. The team behind it recently said the plug would soon be pulled on versions 3.0 and 3.11 once version 5.0 was released, and certainly by the end of the year.

Version 4.0 will linger a while longer – until version 5.1 turns up. Support is expected to end around July 2024.

The problem is that 3.11, at least, dates back to 2017, presenting administrators with an upgrade cadence that might not be to their liking.

While Microsoft wants users to move to Cassandra 4.0 or 4.1, it will keep supporting Cassandra 3.11 until the end of 2024. The team said: "Support will include any required CVE patches, as well as any bug fixes that cause production issues."

Microsoft also plans turnkey in-place upgrades for administrators willing to press the big red button. The functionality is currently in Private Preview but should be available shortly and smooth the inevitable bumps of an upgrade.

However, you must be running as a managed instance on Azure.

Microsoft said: "If you are self-hosting Apache Cassandra version 3.11 (or higher), you can migrate to the service by configuring a hybrid cluster, allowing newly deployed data centers to join your existing Apache Cassandra ring. Data will be streamed into Azure via gossip replication; it's just like adding a datacenter to your existing cluster!"

So long as you don't mind your data slithering onto Azure and dropping some extra cash into Microsoft's already bulging pockets for the privilege. But hey, at least you get to put off that upgrade for another year.

Microsoft is by no means unusual in giving refuseniks options for prolonging support. Another popular open source database, MySQL, will drop support for version 5.7 this month. Moving to version 8.0 presents its own challenges. The result is a significant number of 5.7 installations in the wild, which require support.

Percona, for example, will keep the fixes coming for another three years. It will also make the fixes available as open source if you don't mind building the binaries yourself.

The moves by Microsoft and others reflect the challenges administrators and enterprises face as release cadences for significant software updates ramp up. Many projects lack the resources to support products for many years after release.

Still, a continual upgrade cycle – particularly where there could be breaking changes – represents a pain point for users. For many, the choice is simple: pay to keep things going for a little longer or spend resources on an upgrade sooner rather than later. ®

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