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README.md

redis-cuckoofilter

Hashing-function agnostic Cuckoo filters for Redis.

What's a Cuckoo Filter?

Cuckoo filters are a probabilistic data structure that allows you to test for membership of an element in a set without having to hold the whole set in memory.

This is done at the cost of having a probability of getting a false positive response, which, in other words, means that they can only answer "Definitely no" or "Probably yes". The false positive probability is roughly inversely related to how much memory you are willing to allocate to the filter.

The most iconic data structure used for this kind of task are Bloom filters but Cuckoo filters boast both better practical performance and efficiency, and, more importantly, the ability of deleting elements from the filter.

Bloom filters only support insertion of new items. Some extensions of Bloom filters have the ability of deleting items but they achieve so at the expense of precision or memory usage, resulting in a far worse tradeoff compared to what Cuckoo filters offer.

What Makes This Redis Module Interesting

Cuckoo filters offer a very interesting division of labour between server and clients.

Since Cuckoo filters rely on a single hashing of the original item you want to insert, it is possible to off-load that part of the computation to the client. In practical terms it means that instead of sending the whole item to Redis, the clients send hash and fingeprint of the original item.

What are the advantages of doing so?

  • You need to push trough the cable a constant amount of data per item instead of N bytes (Redis is a remote service afterall, you're going through a UNIX socket at the very least).
  • To perform well, Cuckoo filters rely on a good choice of fingerprint for each item and it should not be left to the library.
  • The hash function can be decided by you, meaning that this module is hashing-function agnostic.

The last point is the most important one. It allows you to be more flexible in case you need to reason about item hashes across different clients potentially written in different languages.

Additionally, different hashing function families specialize on different use cases that might interest you or not. For example some work best for small data (< 7 bytes), some the opposite. Some focus more on performance at the expense of more collisions, while some others behave better than the rest on peculiar platforms.

This blogpost shows a few benchmarks of different hashing function families.

Considering all of that, the choice of hashing and fingerprinting functions has to be up to you.

For the internal partial hashing that has to happen when reallocating a fingerprint server-side, this implementation uses FNV1a which is robust and fast for 1 byte inputs (the size of a fingerprint).

Thanks to how Cuckoo filters work, that choice is completely transparent to the clients.

Installation

  1. Download a precompiled binary from the Release section of this repo or compile it yourself (instructions at the end of this README).

  2. Put libredis-cuckoofilter.so module in a folder readable by your Redis server.

  3. To try out the module you can send MODULE LOAD /path/to/libredis-cuckoofilter.so using redis-cli or a client of your choice.

  4. Once you save on disk a key containing a Cuckoo filter you will need to add loadmodule /path/to/libredis-cuckoofilter.so to your redis.conf, otherwise Redis will not load complaining that it doesn't know how to read some data from the .rdb file.

Quickstart

redis-cli> MODULE LOAD /path/to/libredis-cuckoofilter.so
OK

redis-cli> CF.INIT test 64K
OK 
 
redis-cli> CF.ADD test 5366164415461427448 97
OK

redis-cli> CF.CHECK test 5366164415461427448 97
(integer) 1

redis-cli> CF.REM test 5366164415461427448 97
OK 

redis-cli> CF.CHECK test 5366164415461427448 97
(integer) 0

Client-side quickstart

import redis

r = redis.Redis()

# Load the module if you haven't done so already
r.execute_command("module", "load", "/path/to/libredis-cuckoofilter.so")

# Create a filter
r.execute_command("cf.init", "test", "64k")

# Define a fingerprinting function, for hashing we'll use python's builtin `hash()` 
def fingerprint(x):
  return ord(x[0]) # takes the first byte and returns its numerical value

item = "banana"

# Add an item to the filter
r.execute_command("cf.add", "test", hash(item), fingerprint(item))

# Check for its presence
r.execute_command("cf.check", "test", hash(item), finterprint(item)) # => true

# Check for a non-existing item
r.execute_command("cf.check", "test", hash("apple"), fingerprint("apple")) # => false

Fingerprint size and error rates

In Cuckoo filters the number of bytes that we decide to use as fingerprint will directly impact the maximum false positive error rate of a given filter. This implementation supports 1, 2 and 4-byte wide fingerprints.

1 (3% error)

Error % -> 3.125e-02 (~0.03, i.e. 3%)

2 (0.01% error)

Error % -> 1.22070312e-04 (~0.0001, i.e. 0.01%))

4 (0.0000001% error)

Error % -> 9.31322574e-10 (~0.000000001, i.e. 0.0000001%)

Complete command list

- CF.SIZEFOR universe [fpsize] [EXACT]

Complexity: O(1)

Example: CF.SIZEFOR 1000 2 EXACT

Returns the correct size for a filter that must hold at most universe items. Default fpsize is 1, specify a different value if you need an error rate lower than 3%. Cuckoo filters should never be filled over 80% of their maximum theoretical capacity both for performance reasons and because a filter that approaces 100% fill rate will start refusing inserts with a ERR too full error. This command will automatically pad universe for you. Use EXACT if you don't want that behavior.

- CF.CAPACITY size [fpsize]

Complexity: O(1)

Example: CF.CAPACITY 4G 2

Returns the theoretical maximum number of items that can be added to a filter of given size and fpsize. Default fpsize is 1.

- CF.INIT key size [fpsize]

Complexity: O(size)

Example: CF.INIT mykey 64K

Instantiates a new filter. Use CF.SIZEFOR to know the correct value for size. Supported sizes are a power of 2 in this range: 1K .. 8G. Default error rate is 3%, use fpsize to specify a different target error rate.

- CF.ADD key hash fp

Complexity: O(1)

Example CF.ADD mykey 100 97

Adds a new item to the filter. Both hash and fp must be numbers. In particular, hash has to be a 64bit representable number, while fp should be a fpsize representable number. As an example, a filter with fpsize set to 1 will cause the maximum recommended value of fp to be 255. The fp argument is a u32 so (2^32)-1 is its maximum valid value, but when fpsize is lower than 4, high bits will be truncated (e.g. -1 == 255 when fpsize == 1).

You can use both signed and unsigned values as long as you are consistent in their use. Internally all values will be transalted to unsigned. If a filter is undersized/overfilled or you are adding multiple copies of the same item or, worse, you're not properely handling information entropy, this command will return ERR too full. Read the extented example in kristoff-it/zig-cuckoofilter to learn more about misusage scenarios.

- CF.REM key hash fp

Complexity: O(1)

Example CF.REM mykey 100 97

Deletes an item. Accepts the same arguments as CF.ADD. WARNING: this command must be used to only delete items that were previously inserted. Trying to delete non-existing items will corrupt the filter and cause it to lockdown. When that happens all command will start returning ERR broken, because at that point it will be impossible to know what the correct state would be. Incurring in ERR broken is a usage error and should never happen. Read the extented example in kristoff-it/zig-cuckoofilter to learn more about misusage scenarios.

- CF.CHECK key hash fp

Complexity: O(1)

Example CF.CHECK mykey 100 97

Checks if an item is present in the filter or not. Returns 1 for the positive case and 0 otherwise. Accepts the same arguments as CF.ADD.

- CF.COUNT key

Complexity: O(1)

Example: CF.COUNT mykey

Returns the number of items present in the filter.

- CF.ISBROKEN key

Complexity: O(1)

Example: CF.ISBROKEN mykey

Returns 1 if the filter was broken because of misusage of CF.REM, returns 0 otherwise. A broken filter cannot be fixed and will start returning ERR broken from most comamnds.

- CF.ISTOOFULL key

Complexity: O(1)

Example: CF.ISTOOFULL mykey

Returns 1 if the filter is too full, returns 0 otherwise. This command can return 1 even if you never received a ERR too full from a call to CF.ADD. Read the extented example in kristoff-it/zig-cuckoofilter to learn more about misusage scenarios.

- CF.FIXTOOFULL key

Complexity: O(1) big constant

Example: CF.FIXTOOFULL mykey

If you are adding and also deleting items from the filter but in a moment of congestion you ended up ovferfilling the filter, this command can help re-distribute some items to fix the situation. It's not a command you should ever rely on because it should never be needed if you properly sized your filter using CF.SIZEFOR. Read the extented example in kristoff-it/zig-cuckoofilter to learn more about misusage scenarios.

Advanced usage

Checkout kristoff-it/zig-cuckoofilter for more information about advanced usage of Cuckoo filters and how to deal (and most importantly, prevent) failure scenarios.

Planned Features

  • Advanced client-side syncrhonization Given that now the logic is bundled in zig-cuckoofilter and that it can now be used by any C ABI compatible target (checkout the repo for examples in C, JS, Python and Go), combined with Streams it would be possible to keep a client-side Cuckoo filter synced with one in Redis, allowing clients to keep reads locally and asyncrhonously sync with Redis to obtain new updates to the filter.

Compiling

Download the latest Zig compiler version from http://ziglang.org.

To compile for your native platform

$ zig build-lib -dynamic -isystem src --release-fast src/redis-cuckoofilter.zig

To cross-compile

$ zig build-lib -dynamic -isystem src --release-fast -target x86_64-linux --library c src/redis-cuckoofilter.zig

Use zig targets for the complete list of available targets.

License

MIT License

Copyright (c) 2019 Loris Cro

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

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