Step 4: Configure cqlsh COPY FROM settings - Amazon Keyspaces (for Apache Cassandra)

Step 4: Configure cqlsh COPY FROM settings

This section outlines how to determine the parameter values for cqlsh COPY FROM. The cqlsh COPY FROM command reads the CSV file that you prepared earlier and inserts the data into Amazon Keyspaces using CQL. The command divides up the rows and distributes the INSERT operations among a set of workers. Each worker establishes a connection with Amazon Keyspaces and sends INSERT requests along this channel.

The cqlsh COPY command doesn’t have internal logic to distribute work evenly among its workers. However, you can configure it manually to make sure that the work is distributed evenly. Start by reviewing these key cqlsh parameters:

  • DELIMITER – If you used a delimiter other than a comma, you can set this parameter, which defaults to comma.

  • INGESTRATE – The target number of rows that cqlsh COPY FROM attempts to process per second. If unset, it defaults to 100,000.

  • NUMPROCESSES – The number of child worker processes that cqlsh creates for COPY FROM tasks. The maximum for this setting is 16, the default is num_cores - 1, where num_cores is the number of processing cores on the host running cqlsh.

  • MAXBATCHSIZE – The batch size determines the maximal number of rows inserted into the destination table in a single batch. If unset, cqlsh uses batches of 20 inserted rows.

  • CHUNKSIZE – The size of the work unit that passes to the child worker. By default, it is set to 5,000.

  • MAXATTEMPTS – The maximum number of times to retry a failed worker chunk. After the maximum attempt is reached, the failed records are written to a new CSV file that you can run again later after investigating the failure.

Set INGESTRATE based on the number of WCUs that you provisioned to the target destination table. The INGESTRATE of the cqlsh COPY FROM command isn’t a limit—it’s a target average. This means it can (and often does) burst above the number you set. To allow for bursts and make sure that enough capacity is in place to handle the data load requests, set INGESTRATE to 90% of the table’s write capacity.


Next, set the NUMPROCESSES parameter to equal to one less than the number of cores on your system. To find out what the number of cores of your system is, you can run the following code.

python -c "import multiprocessing; print(multiprocessing.cpu_count())"

For this tutorial, we use the following value.


Each process creates a worker, and each worker establishes a connection to Amazon Keyspaces. Amazon Keyspaces can support up to 3,000 CQL requests per second on every connection. This means that you have to make sure that each worker is processing fewer than 3,000 requests per second.

As with INGESTRATE, the workers often burst above the number you set and aren’t limited by clock seconds. Therefore, to account for bursts, set your cqlsh parameters to target each worker to process 2,500 requests per second. To calculate the amount of work distributed to a worker, use the following guideline.


  • If INGESTRATE / NUMPROCESSES > 2,500, lower the INGESTRATE to make this formula true.


Before you configure the settings to optimize the upload of our sample data, let's review the cqlsh default settings and see how using them impacts the data upload process. Because cqlsh COPY FROM uses the CHUNKSIZE to create chunks of work (INSERT statements) to distribute to workers, the work is not automatically distributed evenly. Some workers might sit idle, depending on the INGESTRATE setting.

To distribute work evenly among the workers and keep each worker at the optimal 2,500 requests per second rate, you must set CHUNKSIZE, MAXBATCHSIZE, and INGESTRATE by changing the input parameters. To optimize network traffic utilization during the data load, choose a value for MAXBATCHSIZE that is close to the maximum value of 30. By changing CHUNKSIZE to 100 and MAXBATCHSIZE to 25, the 10,000 rows are spread evenly among the four workers (10,000 / 2500 = 4).

The following code example illustrates this.

INGESTRATE = 10,000 NUMPROCESSES = 4 CHUNKSIZE = 100 MAXBATCHSIZE. = 25 Work Distribution: Connection 1 / Worker 1 : 2,500 Requests per second Connection 2 / Worker 2 : 2,500 Requests per second Connection 3 / Worker 3 : 2,500 Requests per second Connection 4 / Worker 4 : 2,500 Requests per second

To summarize, use the following formulas when setting cqlsh COPY FROM parameters:

  • INGESTRATE = write_capacity_units * .90

  • NUMPROCESSES = num_cores -1 (default)

  • INGESTRATE / NUMPROCESSES = 2,500 (This must be a true statement.)

  • MAXBATCHSIZE = 30 (Defaults to 20. Amazon Keyspaces accepts batches up to 30.)


Now that you have calculated NUMPROCESSES, INGESTRATE, and CHUNKSIZE, you’re ready to load your data.