A Redis client written with Akka's IO package
Clone or download
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Failed to load latest commit information.



Build Status

A lightweight Redis client for use with Akka.


In your build.sbt

resolvers += "chrisdinn" at "http://chrisdinn.github.io/releases/"

libraryDependencies += "com.digital-achiever" %% "brando" % "3.0.3"

Getting started

Brando is a lightweight wrapper around the Redis protocol.

Create a Redis actor with your server host and port.

  import brando._

  val redis = system.actorOf(Redis("localhost", 6379))

You should specify a database and password if you intend to use them.

  val redis = system.actorOf(Redis("localhost", 6379, database = 5, auth = "password"))

This is important; if your Redis actor restarts you want be sure it reconnects successfully and to the same database.

Next, send it a command and get your response as a reply.

  redis ! Request("PING")

  // Response: Some(Pong)

The Redis protocol supports 5 standard types of reply: Status, Error, Integer, Bulk and Multi Bulk as well as a special NULL Bulk/Multi Bulk reply.

Status replies are returned as case objects, such as Pong and Ok.

  redis ! Request("SET", "some-key", "this-value")

  // Response: Some(Ok)

Error replies are returned as akka.actor.Status.Failure objects containing an an exception with server's response as its message.

  redis ! Request("EXPIRE", "1", "key")
  // Response: Failure(brando.RedisException: ERR value is not an integer or out of range)

Integer replies are returned as Option[Long].

  redis ! Request("SADD", "some-set", "one", "two")

  // Response: Some(2)

Bulk replies as Option[akka.util.ByteString].

  redis ! Request("GET", "some-key")

  // Response: Some(ByteString("this-value"))

Multi Bulk replies as Option[List[Option[ByteString]]].

  redis ! Request("SMEMBERS", "some-set")

  // Response: Some(List(Some(ByteString("one")), Some(ByteString("two"))))

NULL replies are returned as None and may appear either on their own or nested inside a Multi Bulk reply.

  redis ! Request("GET", "non-existent-key")

  // Response: None

If you're not sure what to expect in response to a request, please refer to the Redis command documentation at http://redis.io/commands where the reply type for each is clearly stated.

To ensure that a list of requests are executed back to back, the Redis actor can receive the following message :

redis ! Batch(Request("MULTI"), Request("SET", "mykey", "somevalue"), Request("GET", "mykey"), Request("EXEC"))

// Response : List(Some(Ok), Some(Queued), Some(Queued), Some("somevalue"))

This is very usefull in that case since it'll make sure no other requests are executed between the MULTI and EXEC commands. Responses will also be grouped in a single list of the same size as the Batch requests.

Response extractors

Use the provided response extractors to map your Redis reply to a more appropriate Scala type.

  for{ Response.AsString(value) ← redis ? Request("GET", "key") } yield value
  //value: String
  for{ Response.AsStrings(values) ← redis ? Request("KEYS", "*") } yield values
  //values: Seq[String]
  for{ Response.AsByteSeqs(value) ← redis ? Request("GET", "key") } yield value
  //value: Seq[Byte]
  for{ Response.AsStringsHash(fields) ← redis ? Request("HGETALL", "hash-key") } yield fields
  //fields: Map[String,String]

Monitoring Connection State Changes

If a set of listeners is provided to the Redis actor when it is created , it will inform the those listeners about state changes to the underlying Redis connection. For example (from inside an actor):

  val redis = context.actorOf(Redis("localhost", 6379, listeners = Set(self)))

Currently, the possible messages sent to each listener include the following:

  • Connecting: When creating a TCP connection.
  • Connected: When a TCP connection has been created, and Authentication (if applicable) has succeeded.
  • Disconnected: The connection has been lost. Redis transparently handles disconnects and will automatically reconnect, so typically no user action at all is needed here. During the time that Redis is disconnected, Redis commands sent will be queued be processed once the connection is reestablished.
  • AuthenticationFailed: The TCP connected was made, but Redis auth failed.
  • ConnectionFailed: A connection could not be established after the number of attempts defined during creation connectionRetryAttempts. Brando will not attempt to recover from this state; the user should take action.

All these messages inherit from the Connection.StateChange trait.

Requests stashing when connection is not established

Current Brando implementation throws an exception when the connection is not established and it receives a request. However, sometimes you do not need the answer right now and you can wait a bit before the connection gets established. The StashingRedis actor provides this functionality, it is designed as a proxy to be used. When it receives requests while the connection is not established, it stashes them. Once the connection gets established, it unstashes them and passed them to the actual Redis actor. When the connection is established, all incoming requests are passed right through.

This was the built-in behavior of Brando 2.x.x

  // create the Redis actor
  val brando = system.actorOf(Redis(listeners = Set(self)))
  // create the stashing proxy
  val proxy = system.actorOf(StashingRedis(brando))
  // query the proxy
  proxy ? Request("PING")

Note: StashingRedis cannot be used with a sharded connection.


Sentinel Client

Sentinel provides support for monitoring, notification and automatic failover using sentinel. It is implemented based on the following guidelines and requires redis 2.8.12 or later.

A sentinel client can be created like this. Here, we are using two servers and we provide a listener to receive Connection.StateChange events.

val sentinel = system.actorOf(Sentinel(Seq(
      Server("localhost", 26380),
      Server("localhost", 26379)), Set(probe.ref)))

You can listen for events using the following:

sentinel ! Request("SENTINEL","SUBSCRIBE", "failover-end")

You can also send commands such as

sentinel ! Request("SENTINEL", "MASTERS")

Redis with Sentinel

Redis can be used with Sentinel to provide automatic failover and discovery. To do so you need to create a Sentinel and a RedisSentinel actor. In this example we are connecting to the master mymaster

	val sentinel = system.actorOf(Sentinel(Seq(
      Server("localhost", 26380),
      Server("localhost", 26379))))

    val redis = system.actorOf(RedisSentinel("mymaster", sentinel))

    redis ! Request("PING")

For reliability we encourage to pass connectionHeartbeatDelay when using RedisSentinel, this will generate a heartbeat to Redis and will improve failures detections in the case of network partitions.


Brando provides support for sharding, as outlined in the Redis documentation and in this blog post from antirez.

To use it, simply create an instance of ShardManager, passing it a list of Redis shards you'd like it to connect to. From there, we create a pool of Redis instances - one for each shard.

val shards = Seq(RedisShard("redis1", "", 6379),
				 RedisShard("redis2", "", 6379),
				 RedisShard("redis3", "", 6379))

val shardManager = context.actorOf(ShardManager(shards))

Once an instance of ShardManager has been created, it can be sent several types of messages:

  • Request objects for inferring the shard key from the params
  • Tuple2[String, Request] objects for specifying the shard key explicitly
  • ShardBroadcast objects for broadcasting requests to all shards

Here are some examples,

shardManager ! Request("SET", "mykey", "some_value")
shardManager ! ("myshardkey", Request("SET", "mykey", "some_value"))
shardManager ! BroadcastRequest("LPOP", "mylistkey") // don't use the ask pattern

Note that the ShardManager explicitly requires a key for all operations except for the BroadcastRequest. This is because the key is used to determined which shard each request should be forwarded to. In this context, operations which operate on multiple keys (e.g. MSET, MGET) or no keys at all (e.g. SELECT, FLUSHDB) should be avoided, as they break the Redis sharding model. Also note that the BroadcastRequest must not be used with the ask pattern in Akka or responses will be lost!

Individual shards can have their configuration updated on the fly. To do this, send a Shard message to ShardManager.

shardManager ! RedisShard("redis1", "", 6379)

val shardManager = context.actorOf(ShardManager(shards, listeners = Set(self)))

The ShardManager will forward all Connection.StateChange messages when a shard changes state.

Sharding with sentinel

It's possible to use sharding with Sentinel, to do so you need to use SentinelShard instead of RedisShard

    val shards = Seq(

    val sentinel = system.actorOf(Sentinel()) //defaults host and port are localhost:26379

    val shardManager = context.actorOf(ShardManager(shards,sentinel))

Run the tests

  • Start sentinel

      sudo redis-sentinel redis-config/sentinel.conf --sentinel
  • Start a Redis master and slave

      sudo redis-server test-config/redis.conf --loglevel verbose
      sudo mkdir /var/lib/redis-slave
      sudo redis-server test-config/redis-slave.conf --loglevel verbose
  • Run the tests

      sbt test


Read the API documentation here: http://chrisdinn.github.io/api/brando-3.0.3/

Mailing list

Send questions, comments or discussion topics to the mailing list brando@librelist.com.


This project is released under the Apache License v2, for more details see the 'LICENSE' file.


Fork the project, add tests if possible and send a pull request.


Chris Dinn, Jason Goodwin, Tyson Hamilton, Gaetan Hervouet, Damien Levin, Matt MacAulay, Arron Norwell



Brando no longer implements akka.actor.Stash. In consequence, all incoming requests throw a RedisDisconnectedException if the Connection is not established. This version delegates the responsibility to the sender, it is no longer handled by the Brando itself. In older versions, when the connection was not established, the requests were stashed. When established, all stashed requests were unstashed and processed. For smoother migration, there is StashingRedis providing the same behavior. For more details see Requests stashing when connection is not established