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Using Redis Enterprise in Azure

NoSQL storage comes in many types. Some are document databases, others store key/value pairs, all supporting many different types of index and query. There are disk-based systems and ones designed to work in memory. Some handle large amounts of data efficiently; others focus on delivering speed. With so many different products it’s sometimes hard to pick one.

One of the more popular in-memory systems is Redis, the Remote Dictionary Server. It’s built on the open source Redis server, sponsored by RedisLabs, with a set of commercial enterprise options. Microsoft has offered its own implementation of the open source Redis on Azure for some time now, where it’s mainly used as a high-performance cache. However, it recently announced a partnership with RedisLabs, bringing a fully managed Redis Enterprise stack to Microsoft’s cloud.

Adding Redis Enterprise to Azure

The new service is perhaps best thought of as adding two new tiers to the existing Basic, Standard, and Premium services: Enterprise and Enterprise SSD. Microsoft’s Redis implementation has been focused on delivering a high-performance cache for your data in large cloud-native applications, where the cache helps manage messages for event-driven code or session state when you’re building containerized or serverless systems.

Caches aren’t only for managing incoming data. Modern apps can use them as a way to preload content that’s regularly accessed by users. You can preload Azure’s Redis with your common assets, such as headers and logos, which don’t change that often. By hosting them in memory they can be delivered much more quickly, rather than pulling them from disk every time a page is loaded.

Using Redis is all about performance. Putting your cache data in an in-memory system can reduce application latency significantly, especially when you’re building and running distributed applications at scale. Content in Redis stores can be replicated between Azure regions, reducing the risk of users in one region having to access content stored half the world away.

Starting with Azure Cache for Redis

Microsoft’s open source implementation, Azure Cache for Redis, comes in Basic, Standard, and Premium, with a maximum size of 1.2TB for Premium databases. Basic is a relatively simple single-node implementation, with no SLA but a choice of memory sizes. Standard gives you more reliability by implementing a two-node system and adding a SLA. If you need better performance and lower latency, the Premium option uses a different grade of Azure hardware, giving higher throughput than Standard for what would otherwise be the same configuration.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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