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Introduction

Redis offers several deployment options including:

  • A sharded, highly available Redis Cluster
  • A single master with one or more replicas, with or without Sentinel service for automated failovers.

These deployments do not offer a strong consistency guarantee, as they generally trade it for better performance or availability.

There are certain controls that can be used to provide better consistency for specific operations (e.g. WAIT), but this does not make the system strongly consistent overall.

RedisRaft is a Redis module extension that introduces a new form of strongly consistent deployment, based on the Raft Consensus Algorithm.

What can it do?

Using RedisRaft, you can create a cluster of Redis nodes that serve as true replicas of the same dataset.

The cluster will handle the process of electing a leader, which is responsible for handling all reads and writes (Raft follows the principle of a strong leader).

You can use Redis commands (with some exceptions) to perform reads and writes in a strongly consistent manner: an acknowledged write will not be lost, and will be available for all consequent readers (as long as they're quorum reads, more on that later).

The cluster supports configuration changes: it is possible to add or remove nodes from the cluster. Configuration changes are also handled in a way that does not violate consensus.

The cluster uses heartbeat messages to detect failed nodes, and in the event of a failed leader will elect a new one.

RedisRaft clusters are available as long as the majority of the configured nodes is up and able to communicate with each other. If that is not the case, the cluster becomes unavailable until.

RedisRaft nodes may persist data to disk for better durability, or operate in-memory only. If an in-memory node goes down (i.e. process stopped or crashed, host OS restarted) it can no longer join the cluster and should be removed and replaced by a new node; this is the equivalent of a disk-based node losing its files.

What CAN'T it do?

RedisRaft does not aim to be a drop-in replacement for Redis or Redis Cluster deployments.

Not all Redis commands and capabilities are supported, or even possible in this mode of operation.

The typical performance profile of RedisRaft is significantly different (and lower) than Redis:

  • Consensus mandates network round-robin trips between nodes, so latency is significantly higher.
  • When persisting to disk, additional latency can be expected (same as using a Redis Append-Only File with an always policy).