Announcing the Astra DB Haystack Integration

Learn how to use the new Astra DB integrations for Haystack 2.0 in your RAG pipelines.

The Haystack extension family is growing so fast, it’s hard to keep up! Our latest addition is the Astra DB extension by Datastax. It’s an open source package that helps you use Astra DB as a vector database for your Haystack pipelines.

Let’s learn about the benefits of Astra DB and how to use it with Haystack.

Benefits of Astra DB

DataStax Astra DB is a serverless vector database built on Apache Cassandra. What makes Astra DB special?

  • Interoperability with Cassandra’s open source ecosystem and tooling.
  • Astra DB supports a variety of different embedding models. One Astra database instance can have multiple collections with different vector sizes. This makes it easy to test different embedding models and find the best one for your use case.
  • It’s serverless. What does that mean for a database? You don’t have to manage individual instances, or deal with cumbersome upgrading or scaling. All of that is taken care of for you behind the scenes.
  • Enterprise scalability. Astra DB can be deployed across the major cloud providers (AWS, GCP, or Azure) and across multiple regions depending on your needs.
  • At the time of this writing, there’s a free tier available so you can try it without a credit card.

Create your Astra DB database

To ensure these instructions remain up to date, we’re going to point you to the Astra DB docs to explain how to create a database.

  1. Create a free Astra DB database. Make a note of your credentials - you’ll need your Astra API endpoint and Astra application token to use the Haystack extension.
  2. Choose the number of dimensions that matches the embedding model you plan on using. For this example we’ll use a 384-dimension model, sentence-transformers/all-MiniLM-L6-v2.
  3. Create a collection with the same number of dimensions as your embedding model. Save the name of your collection since you’ll need this as well.

Get started with the Astra DB Haystack Integration

First, install the integration:

pip install astra-haystack sentence-transformers

Remember earlier when I mentioned you were going to need your credentials? I hope you saved them. If not, that’s okay, you can go back to the Astra Portal and grab them.

Note: if you were running this code in production, you’d want to save these as environment variables to keep things nice and secure.

from getpass import getpass
import os

os.environ["OPENAI_API_KEY"] = getpass("Enter your openAI key:")
os.environ["ASTRA_DB_API_ENDPOINT"] = getpass("Enter your Astra API Endpoint:")
os.environ["ASTRA_DB_APPLICATION_TOKEN"] = getpass("Enter your Astra application token (e.g.AstraCS:xxx ):")

Using the Astra DocumentStore in an index pipeline

Next, we’ll make a Haystack pipeline, create some embeddings from documents, and add them into the AstraDocumentStore.

import logging

from haystack import Document, Pipeline

from haystack.components.embedders import SentenceTransformersDocumentEmbedder, SentenceTransformersTextEmbedder
from haystack.components.writers import DocumentWriter
from haystack.document_stores.types import DuplicatePolicy
from haystack_integrations.document_stores.astra import AstraDocumentStore

logger = logging.getLogger(__name__)

embedding_model_name = "sentence-transformers/all-MiniLM-L6-v2"

# Make sure ASTRA_DB_API_ENDPOINT and ASTRA_DB_APPLICATION_TOKEN environment variables are set before proceeding

# embedding_dim is the number of dimensions the embedding model supports.
document_store = AstraDocumentStore(

# Add Documents
documents = [
    Document(content="There are over 7,000 languages spoken around the world today."),
        content="Elephants have been observed to behave in a way that indicates"
        " a high level of self-awareness, such as recognizing themselves in mirrors."
        content="In certain parts of the world, like the Maldives, Puerto Rico, "
        "and San Diego, you can witness the phenomenon of bioluminescent waves."
index_pipeline = Pipeline()
index_pipeline.add_component(instance=DocumentWriter(document_store=document_store, policy=DuplicatePolicy.SKIP), name="writer")
index_pipeline.connect("embedder.documents", "writer.documents"){"embedder": {"documents": documents}})


If all has gone well, there should be 3 documents. 🎉

Use the AstraEmbeddingRetriever in a Haystack RAG pipeline

In Haystack, every DocumentStore is tightly coupled with the Retriever that fetches from it. Astra DB is no exception. Here we’ll create a RAG pipeline, where the AstraEmbeddingRetriever will fetch documents relevant to our query.

from import AnswerBuilder
from import PromptBuilder
from haystack.components.generators import OpenAIGenerator
from haystack_integrations.components.retrievers.astra import AstraEmbeddingRetriever

prompt_template = """
                Given these documents, answer the question.
                {% for doc in documents %}
                    {{ doc.content }}
                {% endfor %}
                Question: {{question}}

rag_pipeline = Pipeline()
rag_pipeline.add_component(instance=AstraEmbeddingRetriever(document_store=document_store), name="retriever")
rag_pipeline.add_component(instance=PromptBuilder(template=prompt_template), name="prompt_builder")
rag_pipeline.add_component(instance=OpenAIGenerator(), name="llm")
rag_pipeline.add_component(instance=AnswerBuilder(), name="answer_builder")
rag_pipeline.connect("embedder", "retriever")
rag_pipeline.connect("retriever", "prompt_builder.documents")
rag_pipeline.connect("prompt_builder", "llm")
rag_pipeline.connect("llm.replies", "answer_builder.replies")
rag_pipeline.connect("llm.meta", "answer_builder.meta")
rag_pipeline.connect("retriever", "answer_builder.documents")

# Run the pipeline
question = "How many languages are there in the world today?"
result =
        "embedder": {"text": question},
        "retriever": {"top_k": 2},
        "prompt_builder": {"question": question},
        "answer_builder": {"query": question},


The output should look like this:

{'answer_builder': {'answers': [GeneratedAnswer(data='There are over 7,000 languages spoken around the world today.', query='How many languages are there in the world today?', documents=[Document(id=cfe93bc1c274908801e6670440bf2bbba54fad792770d57421f85ffa2a4fcc94, content: 'There are over 7,000 languages spoken around the world today.', score: 0.9267925, embedding: vector of size 384), Document(id=6f20658aeac3c102495b198401c1c0c2bd71d77b915820304d4fbc324b2f3cdb, content: 'Elephants have been observed to behave in a way that indicates a high level of self-awareness, such ...', score: 0.5357444, embedding: vector of size 384)], meta={'model': 'gpt-3.5-turbo-0613', 'index': 0, 'finish_reason': 'stop', 'usage': {'completion_tokens': 14, 'prompt_tokens': 83, 'total_tokens': 97}})]}}

Wrapping it up

If you’ve gotten this far, now you know how to use Astra DB as a data source for your Haystack pipeline. To learn more about Haystack, join us on Discord or sign up for our monthly newsletter.