Cassandra: The Definitive Guide is one of the few in-depth books available on Cassandra at the moment. For that reason, it’s a good purchase in e-book format for those interested in Cassandra, and it provides a decent introduction to the approach to data used in the product. I would not purchase the paper book, because it’s already outdated.
The initial chapters on downloading and installing the product get the reader started using Cassandra immediately. Then the bumps in the road appear. The current version of Cassandra requires a semicolon to end each statement in the command line interface (CLI) client – that ‘s missing in the book. This is noted in the errata on the O’Reilly site as “unconfirmed”, and if you’re coming from a MySQL/Oracle background it’s something you might try, otherwise, it’s frustrating.
A similar issue crops up two chapters later when the user is told to “start jconsole” to load a YAML schema file. Granted jconsole is not a core Cassandra component, but for the non-Java programmer, this probably entails another trip to Google searching for direction.
This book would be well-served by having an active web site backing it to keep pace with the changes in Cassandra. For now, it’s an interesting read, but not very satisfying.