Microsoft has made a commitment to extend its support for the aging Apache Cassandra 3.11 open-source NoSQL database for an additional year, provided users are running it as an Azure Managed Instance. The announcement comes after the declaration by the team behind Apache Cassandra that support for versions 3.0 and 3.11 would conclude after the release of the 5.0 version and by the end of 2023. The extended support, which will last until the end of 2024, attempts to ease the concerns of administrators worried about an unsuitable upgrade cadence.
What Microsoft Support Entails
In addition to offering continued support for Cassandra 3.11, Microsoft is also developing turnkey in-place upgrades to assist administrators with the transition. While the intention is to encourage users to move towards Cassandra versions 4.0 or 4.1, the tech giant promises to maintain the life of 3.11 as long as required. This support will encompass any obligatory CVE patches, as well as fixes to any bugs that could potentially interfere with production. The functionality for the upgrades, although currently in private preview, is expected to be available soon.
Migrating to Azure Managed Instance
Microsoft is also proposing a solution for self-hosting users of Apache Cassandra version 3.11 and higher, by allowing them to migrate to the Azure service via the configuration of a hybrid cluster. This will enable newly deployed data centers to join the existing Apache Cassandra ring, with data seamlessly streamed into Azure through the gossip replication process. However, this service requires users to run their operations as a managed instance on Azure, which implies some complications, including a potential increase in costs.
This move from Microsoft reflects the broader challenges faced by administrators and businesses in managing software updates and maintaining older versions of software. As release cadences for important software updates increase rapidly, many organizations find it difficult to support products long after their release and businesses must decide whether to prolong existing operations or invest resources in an expedited upgrade.