1.1.0 • Public • Published

Connect Smart Redis

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connect-smart-redis is inspired by connect-redis. It's fast, light, and (you guessed it) smart!


Install with:

npm install --save connect-smart-redis


// Import Express, make the app and the redis client
var express = require('express');
var client = require('redis').createClient();
var app = express();
// Express session finagling
var session = require('express-session');
var SmartRedis = require('connect-smart-redis')(session);
// Actually use the session middleware
var thirtyDays = 30 * 24 * 60 * 60;
    store: new SmartRedis({ client: client, ttl: thirtyDays }),
    secret: 'hello world!',
    resave: false,
    saveUninitialized: false
// Voila!
app.get('/', function (req, res) {
    req.session.visits = (req.session.visits || 0) + 1;
    res.send('You visited this site ' + req.session.visits + ' times!');


Connect-redis is great, but it was missing several features necessary for some production environments (like ours!). Several improvements were necessary, including:

  • Update as Needed. The original middleware updated redis at the end of every single request, regardless of whether or not the session was actually updated.
  • Locking. As our traffic increased, race conditions appeared where sessions to one request would get overwritten by a request that was happening in parallel. We use the Redlock algorithim to ensure there's only one update at a time. With that:
  • Smart Updates. Only changed properties are updated. This goes well with locking -- there's less a chance of one request stepping on another's feet.
  • Smart Deletions. As a result of the race conditions, we were having difficulty destroying sessions because it would get re-set right over again! Using locking we delete things as expected.


The following options can be passed in its constructor:

  • ttl Time in seconds sessions should last for
  • client a node-redis (or compatible) client
  • prefix=session: The prefix for redis sessions
  • lockExpiry=5000 Time in milliseconds session locks should last for.
  • retryTime=100 Time we should wait if we did no acquire a session lock.
  • deleteExpiry=5000 - The length of a DESTROYED session record should last. This should be at least as long as your longest API request (but does not need to be longer).


Non-trival parts of the code have been optimized for performance, and of course the middleware itself is built to be a "lazy" as possible. Based on data from our benchmark (using a fake Redis client) the middleware has an overhead of about 3090 nanoseconds (0.03 ms) per transaction. Comparatively, connect-redis ran an overhead of 2610 nanoseconds (0.03 ms) per transaction.

$ node bench\head-to-head.js
connect-redis x 382,937 ops/sec ±0.21% (97 runs sampled)
connect-smart-redis x 323,181 ops/sec ±0.22% (100 runs sampled)

The overhead is pretty minimal on an application level.

But, the locking and updating process does involve four addition Redis queries. If you update the client session in more than 20% of your requests, performance will be degregated using this system. However, you are, it may be a good idea to use smart-redis due to its mitigation of race conditions; it's always a trade off. If you are changing the session in less than 20% of your total requests, you'll see substantially better performance using smart-redis due to the saved request.


There is a race condition if two requests simultaneously edit the same attribute of the session. In this event, the request which acquires the lock last will take precedence. There is no way to effectively mitigate this; this is a situation you should bear in mind when building your application.

Additionally, due to the locking, it's possible that if you get very many requests which all edit the session during the same time interval, requests for the particular user may take an unusually long time.


This software is MIT licensed, copyright 2015 by Beam LLC.

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