Redis, a type of open source NoSQL database known as a key-value store, is getting an important but long delayed addition. Today at the 2016 RedisConf conference in San Francisco, Redis creator Salvatore Sanfilippo is announcing the launch of modules, a way to extend the functionality of the software.
This type of thing is a natural addition for a widely used piece of open source software — it can’t do everything.
“Not everything is a good fit for the core, and we have an high barrier of entry for new features,” Sanfilippo told VentureBeat in an email. “We want the community to use Redis as a platform and go ‘faster’ than we can implement Redis itself, specialize Redis to solve different use cases, without forcing Redis to be bloated by each possible feature.”
So there are open source modules that people can install one at a time through a new website, modules.redis.io. Meanwhile Redis Labs, Sanfilippo’s current employer and a company that commercializes Redis with a hosted version and supported subscriptions, is launching an online module hub, at redismodules.com, that includes both open source and closed source modules.
The addition of modules could make C-based Redis a better choice for developers building new applications. Other databases to choose from include Cassandra, Couchbase, Memcached, and Riak, although their properties vary.
But it’s something that surely could have come sooner. In fact, the release notes for the Redis 1.0 release, which came out in 2009, mentioned modules as “one of the next things to do,” Sanfilippo wrote. He resisted for a long time, he wrote, “because modules were extremely tempting but also dangerous, and it was not clear how to export a proper API (application programming interface).” But at a meeting in Tel Aviv recently, he and other Redis contributors figured out a way to do it, in a way that doesn’t impact Redis’ core API.
Redis has long supported scripting in the Lua programming language, but it just “was not enough,” Sanfilippo wrote.
Now anyone can publish a module on GitHub, and there’s no approval process. Some of the first available modules are for image processing, authentication, and full-text search.
Redis Labs, formerly known as Garantia Data and briefly RedisDB, was founded in 2011 and is based in Mountain View, California. Investors include Bain Capital Ventures, Carmel Ventures, and Silicon Valley Bank.
Sanfilippo has a blog post on the news here.