Photo by Dries Augustyns on Unsplash

Thursday, June 3rd, 2021,a new release of Stargate was applied to Astra. It includes an exciting new feature: aggregate functions! If you’re not familiar with aggregate functions, they are functions that look at the data as a whole and perform a function like min(), max(), sum(), count() and avg().

Until now, aggregate functions were only available using cqlsh (the CQL Shell). However, with the Stargate 1.0.25 release they are now also available using the GraphQL API. …

I recently found myself in the position to compile and deploy Stargate, an open-source project from DataStax (full disclosure, I am a DataStax employee). During this process, I discovered many sharp edges in the process and so I thought I’d share my tips to smooth the road for anyone else that needs to compile Stargate but is new to the project.

What is Stargate?

Stargate is an open-source project that provides API support for documents, REST and GraphQL for Cassandra databases. If you’ve worked with Cassandra you’re already familiar with the cqlsh command line interface. However, if you’re an application developer that needs…

Mostly I'm concerned with the clarity of the code for the reader. Performance is a whole 'nother discipline. I'm not advocating for slow code, but most code runs fast enough as is. When you are writing code to show a reader how to do something, then code clarity is king! You may not be a pro, but your code is clear and well organized.

with apologies to Dr. Hawking for appropriating this title!

The Apache Cassandra logo.
The Apache Cassandra logo.
By Apache Software Foundation —, Apache License 2.0,

Some time ago I made the move from Oracle to DataStax. DataStax is a company built around supporting Apache Cassandra and helps to improve Cassandra by contributing its work via the Cassandra Enhancement Proposals (CEP) process.

As a long-time RDBMS guy, learning Cassandra was an eye opening experience. Cassandra is a wholly different way of storing and accessing data. I’ve spent quite a while unlearning the things I learned using RDBMSs in order to get my head around Cassandra. …

Nice work. If you've written the followup article, you should to add a link to it at the bottom of this one.

Auto-scaling your servers. Source: Me!

One of the great benefits of the cloud is elasticity: the ability to scale up and down the number of servers that perform a specific task. This is certainly a core capability of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and its remarkably easy to achieve. In this article, I’ll walk you through the process of creating a web server compute instance (Apache with PHP 7.x) with a load balancer, and how to create an Instance Configuration, Instance Pool and an Auto-scaling Configuration to provide the rules for when to add or remove additional instances of the web server to support the load.


Your reward for becoming certified

I recently received my OCI Associate Architect certification as part of my ongoing professional development. To earn this certificate, I spent many hours reading up on OCI concepts and performing OCI labs. As I got to know OCI more and more, it occurred to me that the way we teach people about OCI can be improved and augmented.

Written labs are good and you can find many written labs (The level 100 labs are curated by yours truly) on GitHub. However, many people prefer video, so I also created a video channel on YouTube to help fill that void. …

If you haven’t already read Part 1 and Part 2, I strongly suggest you start there before reading this article.

In Part 2 you created a custom image with Blender installed on it, and then used that image to create a blender2 compute instance. In this article, I will show you how to render on the blender2 instance and then access the results of those renders.

To begin, we need to download a .blend file to our blender2 instance. As you learned how to do in Part 2, start an SSH session with your blender2 instance. …

Blender logo model courtesy of Joey Bennett on

In the first part of this set of articles I talked about the benefits of running Blender as a headless (ie. no user interface) renderer on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). In this article I’ll walk you through the process of installing Blender on an OCI GPU instance, running a sample render, and downloading the results back to your local machine.

NOTE: This may appear to be a long article, but it is only because I have included step-by-step instructions and screenshots to make it as easy as possible to follow along.

If you want to follow along you will need…

Photo: Me! (using Blender). Blender logo model courtesy of Joey Bennett on

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) allows you to run all sorts of workloads on the Oracle cloud. I’ve been working on some videos to help teach OCI principles and my weapon of choice is Blender to do the 3D modeling, animation and rendering. I even bought a pretty hefty gaming machine to help speed up all of the graphics calculations (I started on a MacBook pro and quickly outgrew that platform).

Even with all of that computing and GPU power, any animated video, even simplistic ones like mine, take alot of time to render. What would take days on my Mac…

Jeff Davies

Long time software engineer, software architect, technical evangelist and motorcycle enthusiast.

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