How to Switch Snitches

This procedure describes the steps that need to be done when switching from one type of snitch to another. Such a scenario can be when increasing the cluster and adding more data-centers in different locations. Snitches are responsible for specifying how Scylla distributes the replicas. The procedure is dependent on any changes in the cluster topology.

Note - Switching a snitch requires a full cluster shutdown, so It is highly recommended to choose the right snitch for your needs at the cluster setup phase.

Cluster Status

Needed Procedure

No change in network topology

Set the new snitch

Network topology was changed

Set the new snitch and run repair

Changes in network topology mean that there are changes in the racks or data-centers where the nodes are located.

For example:

No topology changes

Original cluster: three nodes cluster on a single data-center with Simplesnitch or Ec2snitch.

Change to: three nodes in one data-center and one rack using a GossipingPropertyFileSnitch or Ec2multiregionsnitch.

Topology changes

Original cluster: three nodes using the Simplesnitch or Ec2snitch in a single data-center.

Change to: nine nodes in two data-centers using the GossipingPropertyFileSnitch or Ec2multiregionsnitch (add a new data-center).


  1. Stop all the nodes in the cluster.

sudo systemctl stop scylla-server
sudo service scylla-server stop
docker exec -it some-scylla supervisorctl stop scylla

(without stopping some-scylla container)

  1. In the scylla.yaml file edit the endpoint_snitch. The file can be found under /etc/scylla/. Change the endpoint_snitch to all the nodes in the cluster.

For example:

endpoint_snitch: GossipingPropertyFileSnitch

  1. In the file edit the rack and data-center information.

For example, Ec2MultiRegionSnitch:

A node in the us-east-1 region, us-east is the data center name, and 1 is the rack location.

  1. Start the nodes in the cluster one by one.

sudo systemctl start scylla-server
sudo service scylla-server start
docker exec -it some-scylla supervisorctl start scylla

(with some-scylla container already running)

  1. Run full repair (consult with the table above if this action is needed).