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Callista Enterprise medarbetare Peter Larsson

Apache Cassandra and time series with TimeUUIDType in Java

// Peter Larsson

As almost everybody knows; one of the main benefits with Apache Cassandra is the possibility to create column indexed time series, i.e. use TimeUUIDType as comparator and you get a chronologically arranged list of indexed column names and an excellent performance when performing slice queries.

If millisecond precision is good enough for you to create an unique id, then you might skip the rest of this article.

However Apache Cassandra uses UUID of type 1, and java.util.UUID has poor support for this type. Fortunately a utility class com.eaio.uuid.UUIDGen created by Johann Burkard  can be used to create unique java.util.UUID of type 1, and this utility also is included in the Hector Client API.

// create a unique java.util.UUID of type 1, and use it to create a column name (Hector API)
UUID uuid = new UUID(UUIDGen.createTime(timestamp), UUIDGen.getClockSeqAndNode());
HColumn<UUID, Composite> column = HFactory.createColumn(uuid, <some_value>,
    UUIDSerializer.get(), CompositeSerializer.get());

The problem

Now I wan’t to query my columns, and the main question is; how do I create a java.util.UUID of type 1 to position my slice query in the column name index?

UUIDGen is designed to generate unique times (nano), but the actual algorithm to create a corresponding query java.util.UUID is not provided, i.e. UUIDGen can only be used to create new unique java.util.UUID column names. There’s actually an implementation in me.prettyprint.cassandra.utils.TimeUUIDUtils, but this method  is private, so this class can calculate the original timestamp in millis, but can’t help out creating UUID for queries.

The solution

To solve the problem, I had to copy the actual unique time generation from UUIDGen and remove the stuff that makes the generated time unique, and then it was pretty simple to create java.util.UUID that could be used in my queries. Furthermore to retrieve the original timestamp in millis the helper TimeUUIDUtils.getTimeFromUUID fix this for you.


  1. Create a unique UUID based on an origin timestamp in millis with UUDIGen and use this as a column name
  2. Create a query UUID with your own createQueryTime described below.
  3. Retrieve the actual origin timestamp in millis with TimeUUIDUtils.getTimeFromUUID

Pretty heavy stuff to perform such a simple task, and please enlighten me if I’ve missed something fundamental!

Method to use to cerate query UUIDs:

private static long createQueryTime(long currentTimeMillis) {
  long time;
  final long timeMillis = (currentTimeMillis * 10000) + 0x01B21DD213814000L;
  time = timeMillis << 32;
  time |= (timeMillis & 0xFFFF00000000L) >> 16;
  time |= 0x1000 | ((timeMillis >> 48) & 0x0FFF); // version 1
  return time;

And now it’s just to start browsing the column name index with timestamps that means something like log record timestamps etc.

UUID queryUUID = new UUID(createQueryTime(timestamp), UUIDGen.getClockSeqAndNode());
SliceQuery<Composite, UUID, Composite> query = HFactory.createSliceQuery(getKeySpace(),
    CompositeSerializer.get(), UUIDSerializer.get(), CompositeSerializer.get());
query.setRange(queryUUID, null, false, 100);
// use TimeUUIDUtils to get the original timestamp in millies
long timestamp = TimeUUIDUtils.getTimeFromUUID(col.getName());


See also this article for a nice way to iterate over a lot of columns, at least with some modifications attached.

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