Redis vs Varnish

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Redis vs Varnish: What are the differences?

Redis and Varnish are both popular tools used in web development and caching. While both serve similar purposes, there are key differences between the two.

  1. Data Storage: Redis is a data store that allows storing and retrieving data, whereas Varnish is a caching layer that stores and serves pre-rendered HTML pages or static content. Redis can be used as a full-fledged database, while Varnish focuses on caching and accelerating web content.

  2. Data Structure: Redis supports various data structures like strings, sets, lists, hashes, and more, providing flexibility in data modeling. Varnish, on the other hand, does not have complex data structures and primarily focuses on caching and delivering static content efficiently.

  3. Use Case: Redis is commonly used as a primary database, cache, or message broker in applications where high-speed data access is critical, such as real-time analytics or session management. Varnish, on the other hand, is typically used as a front-end caching layer in web architectures to improve website performance by serving static content quickly.

  4. HTTP Optimization: Varnish includes built-in HTTP optimization features like content compression, request/response rewriting, and load balancing. It can cache and serve static assets like images, CSS, and JS files efficiently. Redis, however, does not provide these HTTP-specific optimizations and primarily focuses on data storage and retrieval.

  5. Storage Capacity: Redis is limited by the amount of available memory and can handle a substantial amount of data as long as it fits in memory. Varnish, on the other hand, can store larger amounts of data as it can be configured to use disk-based storage when the available memory is exhausted.

  6. Configuration Complexity: Redis has a relatively simpler configuration and can be easily integrated into existing applications. Varnish, on the other hand, requires more expertise in web server administration and configuration due to its more complex caching and proxying nature.

In summary, Redis is a versatile in-memory data store with advanced features, suitable for use cases where fast data access is critical, while Varnish is a web application accelerator and caching layer focused on optimizing website performance by caching and serving static content efficiently.

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Pros of Redis
Pros of Varnish
  • 886
  • 542
    Super fast
  • 513
    Ease of use
  • 444
    In-memory cache
  • 324
    Advanced key-value cache
  • 194
    Open source
  • 182
    Easy to deploy
  • 164
  • 155
  • 121
  • 42
  • 40
    High Availability
  • 35
    Data Structures
  • 32
    Very Scalable
  • 24
  • 22
    Great community
  • 22
  • 19
    "NoSQL" key-value data store
  • 16
  • 13
  • 11
    Sorted Sets
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
    Async replication
  • 9
    BSD licensed
  • 8
  • 8
    Integrates super easy with Sidekiq for Rails background
  • 7
    Keys with a limited time-to-live
  • 7
    Open Source
  • 6
    Lua scripting
  • 6
  • 5
    Awesomeness for Free
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
    Outstanding performance
  • 4
    Runs server side LUA
  • 4
    LRU eviction of keys
  • 4
    Feature Rich
  • 4
    Written in ANSI C
  • 4
  • 3
    Data structure server
  • 3
    Performance & ease of use
  • 2
    Dont save data if no subscribers are found
  • 2
    Automatic failover
  • 2
    Easy to use
  • 2
    Temporarily kept on disk
  • 2
  • 2
    Existing Laravel Integration
  • 2
    Channels concept
  • 2
    Object [key/value] size each 500 MB
  • 2
  • 104
  • 67
    Very Fast
  • 57
    Very Stable
  • 44
    Very Robust
  • 37
    HTTP reverse proxy
  • 21
    Open Source
  • 18
    Web application accelerator
  • 11
    Easy to config
  • 5
    Widely Used
  • 4
    Great community
  • 2
    Essential software for HTTP

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Cons of Redis
Cons of Varnish
  • 15
    Cannot query objects directly
  • 3
    No secondary indexes for non-numeric data types
  • 1
    No WAL
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    What is Redis?

    Redis is an open source (BSD licensed), in-memory data structure store, used as a database, cache, and message broker. Redis provides data structures such as strings, hashes, lists, sets, sorted sets with range queries, bitmaps, hyperloglogs, geospatial indexes, and streams.

    What is Varnish?

    Varnish Cache is a web application accelerator also known as a caching HTTP reverse proxy. You install it in front of any server that speaks HTTP and configure it to cache the contents. Varnish Cache is really, really fast. It typically speeds up delivery with a factor of 300 - 1000x, depending on your architecture.

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    May 6 2020 at 6:34AM


    Nov 20 2019 at 3:38AM


    Jun 6 2019 at 5:11PM


    What are some alternatives to Redis and Varnish?
    Memcached is an in-memory key-value store for small chunks of arbitrary data (strings, objects) from results of database calls, API calls, or page rendering.
    MongoDB stores data in JSON-like documents that can vary in structure, offering a dynamic, flexible schema. MongoDB was also designed for high availability and scalability, with built-in replication and auto-sharding.
    RabbitMQ gives your applications a common platform to send and receive messages, and your messages a safe place to live until received.
    With its various distributed data structures, distributed caching capabilities, elastic nature, memcache support, integration with Spring and Hibernate and more importantly with so many happy users, Hazelcast is feature-rich, enterprise-ready and developer-friendly in-memory data grid solution.
    Partitioning means that Cassandra can distribute your data across multiple machines in an application-transparent matter. Cassandra will automatically repartition as machines are added and removed from the cluster. Row store means that like relational databases, Cassandra organizes data by rows and columns. The Cassandra Query Language (CQL) is a close relative of SQL.
    See all alternatives