Redis vs Amazon ElastiCache – What’s the Difference ? Pros Cons

Redis vs Amazon ElastiCache – What’s the Difference ? Pros Cons In this post, we introduce both technologies, and explain the key differences between them.

First of all, Redis is open source software operating as a non relational database.  It stores data in a key value structure in server memory. Well, it is designed to act as a classic database, cache storage and message broker. Then, we have ElastiCache, a fully managed in memory data store and caching service from Amazon Web Services. All in all, the service improves the performance of web applications by retrieving information from a managed in memory cache, rather than relying solely on slow disk based databases.

What is more, Redis also provides built in replication and persistence features, making it a highly available and durable data store. All in all, Redis is a useful tool for companies looking to improve the performance and scalability of their applications.

But, using Elasticache helps companies to improve the performance and scalability of their applications while reducing the operational costs and complexity associated with managing an in memory cache.

So let’s move on with Redis vs Amazon ElastiCache – What’s the Difference ? Pros Cons

What is Redis?

One of the main advantages of Redis is that it stores data in memory, so it processes and retrieves data quickly with high performance and low latency. Redis also provides built-in replication and persistence features, making it a highly available and reliable  application to store your data. 

Even more, it also supports a wide range of data structures that are used to store and manipulate various types of data. Also, it has a rich set of data manipulation commands such as GET, SET, INCR and LPUSH.

For that reason, Redis is used in a variety of applications such as real time analytics, leader boards and message queuing. It also has a large and active community and is supported by many programming languages ​​and frameworks such as Java, Python, and Ruby.

Pros of Redis

  • Redis provides data replication. Cloning is the process of setting up master slave cache nodes. Slave nodes always listen to the master node. That is, when the master node is updated, the slave nodes are automatically updated as well. For that purpose Redis also update slaves asynchronously.
  • It’s very easy to insert huge amounts of data into the cache. Sometimes you need to load millions of pieces of data into the cache in a short amount of time. This is easily done using bulk inserts, a feature supported by Redis.
  • The protocol simplifies client implementation. Redis clients communicate with servers using the Redis Serialization Protocol (RESP). This protocol is easy to implement and easy to read.
  • It supports transactions. That is, commands are executed in a queue rather than one at a time. Normally, commands after MULTI enqueued, and after executing the EXEC command, all enqueued commands are executed simultaneously.
  • Stores key/value pairs up to 512MB in size. You can have huge object keys and values ​​up to 512 MB. In other words, Redis supports up to 1 GB of data per item.
  • The cache withstands crashes and keep things running smoothly. Used to set up efficient replication so that the caching service is always running even if one of the downstream nodes goes down. However, nodes are resilient and survive failures and continue providing services.

Cons of Redis

  • Only supports basic security options. For instance, Redis does not provide access control, which must be provided in a separate authentication layer. Redis also does not support any kind of encryption mechanism and must be implemented using a separate layer such as an SSL proxy.
  • As Redis is an in memory data store, it stores as much data as it can fit in memory. Although it can be much faster than traditional disk based databases. This is a limitation for very large data sets.
  • Persistence affects performance because it uses memory dumps to create snapshots that are used for persistence. Depending on the configuration of the fsync linux command, taking a snapshot can slow down your database.
  • Becomes expensive over time and need to keep a close watch on the usage.
  • If the instance goes down, there is no backup preserved.
  • Storing all data in memory can be very expensive. You should be able to save some data to disk.
  • There is no GUI to manage keys and values ​​stored in Redis. Command line tools are useful but not user friendly for non engineers.

What is Amazon ElastiCache?

With Elasticache developers easily deploy, use and scale an in memory cache in the cloud, reducing database hits and improving the performance of web applications by caching frequently accessed data in memory. Nonetheless, also used to offload read traffic from the primary datastore, reducing the load on the primary datastore and improving performance.

And because ElastiCache is a managed service, companies don’t have to worry about underlying infrastructure like patches, software updates, and crash detection and recovery. This allows the company’s developers to focus on building applications without worrying about the underlying infrastructure, increasing productivity and reducing time to market.

This is important to companies because it helps to improve the performance and scalability of web applications and reduce the cost of running those applications by offloading read traffic from the underlying data store.

Pros of Elasticache

  • ElastiCache improves the performance of web applications by reducing database hits and caching frequently accessed data in memory. This reduces application response time and improves user experience.
  • Automatically performs tasks such as scaling, software updates, failure detection and recovery. This ensures that the cache is always available and can handle traffic changes.
  • It supports two engine options, Redis and Memcached, so it is used in a variety of use cases and scenarios. Whilst, Redis supports data persistence, replication, and automatic failover, while Memcached is a simpler distributed caching mechanism.
  • Amazon ElastiCache is integrated with CloudWatch. You get metrics out-of-the-box, and it is easy to create alerts for them.
  • Used to offload read traffic from the primary data store, which helps to reduce the load on the primary data store and improves its performance.
  • Operating in both cluster mode and non cluster mode, AWS ElastiCache provides high availability through automatic failover detection and mitigation. For example, a primary node failure is immediately resolved by the standby node. The same applies to read operations. When the primary is busy, the read replica comes into play, serving data and keeping applications running smoothly.

Cons of Elasticache

  • Generally, ElastiCache can be cost effective, but it can become expensive if the cache is misconfigured or usage exceeds expected usage. It’s important to keep a close eye on your usage and costs.
  • Doesn’t quite have all the same rich feature set in some places. Some of the more advanced setups may not be able to be replicated on ElastiCache, so if you need to do anything in that area you may need to rethink the architecture or run your own nodes instead.
  • Client could be added on console to access the data stores.
  • Most of the time cache data are not distributivity stored to secondary, mostly goes to primary.
  • Not to get lost cache data in order to change ElasitCache instance type.
  • Nodes are in a specific region, so if your application is running in a different region, latency can increase, which can affect performance.
  • The AWS Console for ElastiCache is not the most intuitive console.

We have arrived to main part of the article Redis vs Amazon ElastiCache – What’s the Difference ? 

Redis vs Amazon ElastiCache – What’s the Difference ?

Primarily, the key differences between Redis and Elasticache is that Redis is an open source software, whereas Elasticache is a managed service provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS).


Security is important, because ElastiCache for Redis also helps you build HIPAA compliant applications. Versions 3.2.6 and later support encryption at rest, Redis AUTH, and encryption in transit, all of which can be enabled when creating a Redis cluster.

Moreover, in version 6 and later, ElastiCache for Redis  supports role based access control (RBAC). Instead of authenticating users with the Redis AUTH command, you can use the RBAC feature. You can also create users with specific privileges via access strings. You can also assign users to user groups with specific roles.

Conversely, Redis clients communicate with the Redis server over TCP using RESP (REdis Serialization Protocol) protocol. However, Redis does not provide sufficient protection in environments that are directly connected to the Internet or where an attacker can directly manipulate Redis TCP ports.

Setup and maintenance

On one hand, ElastiCache is a fully managed service for Redis, so it does the management of Redis, such as monitoring, backups, patching, and automatic failover. Developers then focus on other areas of the business rather than monotonous tasks that can be automated.

Also, Redis allows you to manage (create, manage, and optimize) your own caching environment. Choosing your own cache configuration gives you more control than using a management service that gives you limited control. On the other hand, it can be time consuming and difficult to implement, especially cost effectively.

Important to note, ElastiCache only works within the Amazon Web Services ecosystem, something to think about if you are concerned about vendor lock-in.


Both, Amazon ElastiCache and self hosted Redis offer high performance services. Additionally, both support Active technology that provides simultaneous reads and writes across multiple geographic locations.

However, when running Redis on Amazon EC2, you customize your Redis environment however you like. Oppositely, ElastiCache limits this level of customization, which can impact performance.

Amazon ElastiCache for Redis 5.0.3 and later adds dynamic networking to improve I/O performance. Nodes with at least 4 vCPUs can increase throughput by 83% and reduce latency by 47%. Additionally M5 and R5 instances are available for additional performance gains.

Project or product?

Here, to compare Redis is an open source project under the BSD license, but Amazon ElastiCache is a proprietary AWS service.

Moreover, Redis creates custom high performance in memory databases or key and value stores. Alternatively, you use the paid version of Redis Enterprise to extend Redis and get expert support. 

ElastiCache is a fully managed paid service with expert support from the AWS team. Amazon ElastiCache for Redis has a free tier. Access a limited number of features and resources for a limited amount of time, giving you time to decide, if it better suits your in memory caching and data storage needs.

Key Differences Redis Amazon ElastiCache
Redis can be used as a cache, message broker, or primary data store.
Elasticache is primarily used as a cache for read-intensive workloads or as a primary data store for real time data processing.
Monitoring and Management
Additional tools or custom scripts are required to manage these features.
Offers built in monitoring, backup and recovery capabilities.
Storing data in memory using all available memory.
Used for some for administrative and internal purposes.
Supports various save options such as RDB, AOF and memory dump.
Only Redis persistence options are supported.


Here, each service has different scalability parameters:


  • Scales horizontally by adding more instances to the cluster and using a technique called sharding to split the data between the instances.
  • Scales vertically by increasing the size and resources of the machine it runs on.
  • Also, can be scaled by using Redis Sentinel or Redis Cluster, which provide high availability and automatic failover.


  • A managed service that automatically scales instances based on usage patterns.
  • Scale it up or down by adjusting the number of read replicas and the cache node type.
  • Provides automatic failover and replication, as well as monitoring and backups.

Lastly, Elasticache offers more autoscaling options and management capabilities, while Redis offers more flexibility in terms of scaling and requires more configuration and management.

Thank you for reading Redis vs Amazon ElastiCache – What’s the Difference ? We shall conclude. 

Redis vs Amazon ElastiCache – What’s the Difference ? Conclusion

In conclusion, Redis and Elasticache are in memory data stores that are used to improve the performance of read intensive workloads. Choosing between the two depends on your specific use case and requirements.

Finally, it is essential to evaluate the specific requirements of your company’s application and choose the data store that best meets those needs. Additionally, you should also consider the costs and the resources that you have available to manage the solution that you choose.

Ultimately, it’s important to evaluate the specific needs of your application and choose the data store that best fits those needs.

Explore more of the Redis content in our blog, by navigating to this section of our blog

Avatar for Kamil Wisniowski
Kamil Wisniowski

I love technology. I have been working with Cloud and Security technology for 5 years. I love writing about new IT tools.

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