Redis isn't open-source anymore

Redis isn't open-source anymore


3 min read


We need to talk and it isn't you. It's Redis.

Our beloved in-memory DB & caching best friend is leaving us. It's time to buckle up because Redis is about to shake things up in the IT community.


Redis (or REmote DIctionary Server) is an in-memory data store that stores data as key-value pairs. It is commonly used as a database, cache, message broker, and streaming engine.

Redis stores data in RAM for high performance but also offers on-disk persistent storage as an additional feature while.

Why Redis is used?

Redis offers excellent performance and the ability to quickly read and write data to memory. Thus, it is used in applications that require fast access to large amounts of data, such as real-time analytics, online gaming, e-commerce, and social media.

It is also used in applications that require high performance and scalability, as in-memory databases can handle high volumes of data and transactions without sacrificing performance.

The Changes

Redis is switching away from the open-source three-clause BSD license a.k.a. the Open Source License.

Redis will now be dual-licensed under the Redis Source Available License (RSALv2) and Server Side Public License (SSPLv1). Under this new license, cloud service providers hosting Redis will need to enter into a commercial agreement with Redis.

With the new licenses in place, Redis's offerings would be called "source available" instead of "open-source".

The new License

In some way, the licensing move is no surprise. We’ve seen other open-source companies like MongoDB, Elastic and, Confluent make similar moves.

It was in late 2018 and early 2019 when the company introduced the first version of its Redis Source Available License. Also, it was the same time when we could hear about the friction between the founding team and investors. Shortly after that, the founder of Redis (Salvatore Sanfilippo, a.k.a Antirez) left the project in 2020.

According to CEO Rowan Trollope, this move is aimed at protecting the investment that Redis makes in the open-source market. Redis aims to get in legal contracts with cloud service providers if they want to use Redis for their cloud offerings.

But for now, it is also possible that the key players in the market may come up with already available alternatives such as KeyDB. It is also anticipated that these key players may come up with their open-source alternatives such as Microsoft's Garnet which is already Redis compatible.

It would be interesting to see if Amazon also comes with its offering or chooses a legal contract with Redis.

The Future

While it is true that the open-source community does not seem to like this move at all.

However, according to Redis, this move is made in favor of protecting Redis' innovations and investors from other companies that easily get away while using Redis' products and charging its customers a hefty price for the same.

According to the news, Microsoft has already got a deal with Redis. It is only a matter of time before we get to know about Google and Amazon's plans with Redis.

With these new changes in place, the company is now also consolidating Redis Stack and the Redis Community Edition into a single distribution. Redis Stack, launched in 2022, combines some of the most popular modules including a visualization tool and a client SDK.

With this license change, Redis now aims to put its latest innovations into Redis Core and aims will remove complexity for users who previously had to download multiple pieces.

In addition, Redis also announced its acquisition of storage engine Speedb to take it beyond the in-memory space. But let's keep it aside for some other time.

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