Redis vs MySQL – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons)

Redis vs MySQL – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons). Both Redis and MySQL are reliable database tools for easier data management. They store data in a structured form to enable quick access and support internal operations within an organization. These tools come with a wide variety of features and functionalities and are ideal for a wide range of purposes, including application development, streaming services, and more. 

Some developers prefer Redis while others MySQL. Each tool is unique and packed with a wide variety of features. As a result, choosing the best tool for your operations can be challenging. Luckily, this article analyses Redis and MySQL in depth, enabling you to choose the most appropriate. Read on!

Shall we start with Redis vs MySQL – What’s the Difference? 

What is Redis?

Redis (Remote Dictionary Server) is an open source, in memory data store that is used as a cache, message broker, streaming engine, and database. It is a suitable tool for developers who want fast queries, high end caching, and high performance. Written in C and ANSI languages, it works seamlessly in OS X, Linux, and BSD systems without external dependencies.

Also, Redis delivers fast response times and processes millions of requests in real time. Due to its high performance, Redis is suitable for gaming, IoT, healthcare, finance, and ad-tech industries. You can use it for caching, real time analytics, pub/sub apps, chat/messaging, leader boards, and more. In addition, Redis supports numerous data structures, including lists, sets, sorted sets, bitmaps, hashes, and ranges. 

How Redis Works

Generally, Redis works both as a cache and a database. You can use it to perform both functions at a go or for a specific function. Redis replicates data and stores it in multiple replica servers. This increases performance and instant recovery in case primary servers fail. 

Also, Redis is open source and supports only Redis as a cache and not as a database. As a result, you need a separate database in addition to using Redis. However, with Redis Enterprise, you can use Redis as both a primary database and cache in a single system. This eliminates the latency and complexity of running two different systems. Besides, you can use it as a multi model primary database for application development and low latency microservice architectures. 

Features of Redis

Redis has a wide variety of features including:

Built In Data Structures

At its core, Redis is a collection of native data types designed for queuing, event processing, and caching. It comes with built in data structures ideal for your application needs. Besides, it offers an extensible engine that allows you to add more capabilities. Here are examples of Redis data types:

  • Hashes– data structure for value and field storage.
  • Lists– an orderly collection of strings.
  • Strings– binary or text data not exceeding 512MB.
  • Sets– an unordered collection of strings that can union or intersect.
  • Sorted sets– sets ordered by a value.
  • StreamsMessage queue for log data structure
  • Bitmaps-data type for bit level operations

These data structures provide an efficient way of organizing and storing data in a way that enables seamless execution of operations.

Data Persistence

Persistence is the ability of data to last beyond server failure. In nutshell, Redis writes data on persistent storage, i.e, SSD or HDD. This makes the data durable for a long time. 

Additionally, Redis supports multiple persistence mechanisms such as AOF and RDB to persist data to the non volatile memory. Data persistence is achieved through journaling or snapshotting. Journaling is whereby a record of modifications is added to an append-only file (AOF) which is then rewritten. Redis rewrites data every 2 seconds to ensure you won’t lose data if the system fails.

On the other hand, snapshotting is the process of transferring datasets from memory to disk at sent intervals using the RDB Dump file format.

High Availability

Redis provides a fault tolerant and failure resistant database with minimal error cases. It has a bunch of features that help achieve high data availability, such as data replication. It provides a primary replica architecture in a single node. This enables you to build highly available applications with consistent reliability and performance.

Redis uses a master slave architecture to increase server load handling. Besides, it splits requests among servers, enabling faster recovery when the primary server experiences outages. 

Data Clustering

Redis Cluster provides automatic sharding and replication for high availability. It splits the data across multiple nodes. This clustering allows operations to continue even when a subset of nodes cannot communicate with the rest of the cluster. Ideally, a cluster is a full mesh of nodes connected with every other node through a TCP connection. 

Client Side Caching

Redis provides client side data caching for high performance. Ideally, every data request requires a lot of bandwidth. Redis caches the most commonly used keys on the client side to enhance performance. 

Redis exploits memory applicable on application servers to store subsets of the database information. The application stores popular queries within its memory. It can use those queries without having to contact the database for information. Using application memory reduces response time by a margin. 

Pros of Redis

  • Its cache can withstand failures and provide services continuously.
  • Offers a pub/sub mechanism for high performance message replication.
  • Loads millions of data pieces into the cache in seconds.
  • RESP protocol is human readable and easy to understand.
  • Has its own hashing mechanism.
  • Has clients in all popular programming languages.

Cons of Redis

  • Requires huge RAM. 
  • No GUI for managing values and keys.
  • The Command line is not suitable for non-engineers.

Up next with Redis vs MySQL – What’s the Difference? is to introduce MySQL. 

What is MySQL?

Next tool is MySQL. A relational database management system based on SQL (standard query language). Developed by Oracle, MySQL is one of the most popular databases for software stacks. Its application is diverse, ranging from web applications and mobile apps to SaaS and ecommerce. This database runs virtually on all platforms, including Windows, Mac, UNIX, and Linux

Moreover, MySQL provides a fast, powerful, and secure data storage system. It collects, organizes, and stores data according to the relational model, with data following a strict logical structure. MySQL forms an integral part of the LAMP open source enterprise stack. LAMP has Apache as its server, Linux as its OS, PHP as an object oriented scripting language.  And MySQL as the relational database management system. Most websites and web applications run on MySQL.

How MySQL Works

Another key point is that MySQL has a client server architecture. The server resides on the same virtual or physical system where database files are stored. Basically, the server is responsible for interactions with the databases. On the other hand, the client resides either on a remote host or on the same system as the server. The client performs database requests to the server through the internet or network connection.

Brief Overview of MySQL

Here is a brief on how MySQL works:

  1. MySQL creates a database for data storage and manipulation. It then stores data in tables and defines the relationship between tables.
  2. Clients make requests by typing specific SQL statements on MySQL.
  3. The server application responds with the requested information.

Generally, that’s how MySQL works. You can use the client side GUI that’s lighter and more user friendly for all data management.

Features of MySQL

MySQL is a fast and efficient database. Some of its top features include:

High Performance

MySQL has an efficient architecture that is fast and robust. Its server responds fast when compared to other databases. Besides, it has different cache memories that enable fast loading utilities. Also, it uses Triggers and Stored procedures to deliver high performance.

Open Source

MySQL is open source and free to use. You can download, use, and modify it according to your needs. Besides, it’s easy to understand without a steep learning curve. MySQL uses the General Public License to define the extent of what you can do with it.

Multiple Data Types

MySQL contains multiple data types such as double (DOUBLE), float (FLOAT), character (CHAR), and variable character (VARCHAR). Other data types include timestamp, time, blob, text, year, date, and integers.

Support for Large Databases

Also, MySQL provides support for large databases. It can support databases with over 40 million records, up to 200,000 tables, and up to 5 billion rows.

Multi Threaded Server

MySQL is designed to enable multiple requests at a time. Clients can use multiple databases at a go. Besides, it provides several interfaces like GUI interface, command line interface, or web browsers. You can use your preferred interface to make queries and view the desired results.

Multi Language Support

Additionally, it is available in multiple languages, such as Java, Go, Python, Javascript, C, PHP, and Perl. Due to the support for popular development languages, it’s a preferred choice for many developers.

Pros of MySQL

  • Seamless connectivity via UNIX and TCP/IP sockets
  • High security through SSL protocol, dual passwords, and access management.
  • Deliver 24/7/365 uptime with accuracy and speed.
  • Freely available and open source.
  • Backed by a huge community of developers.

Cons of MySQL

  • Lacks a great debugging tool.
  • Does not support SQL check constraints.
  • Reduced efficiency for abnormally large transactions.

Now it is time to talk about differences of the two solutions. So, Redis vs MySQL – What’s the Difference? (Pros and Cons).

Redis vs MySQL Main Differences

Both Redis and MySQL are handy database tools. However, they differ significantly, and it’s ideal comparing both before making a choice. Here are some factors that differentiate Redis from MySQL:

Primary Database Model

On one side is Redis, which has  Key Value Store as the primary database model. This non relational database uses the key value method to store data as a collection of key value pairs. A key can be anything from simple to compound objects with a unique and arbitrary large data field.

On the other hand, there is MySQL, with relational database management system. The primary key is a single or combination of the field used to identify each record uniquely.

Partition Methods

In Redis, sharding is the primary data partitioning method. This technique is used across multiple Redis instances to ensure each instance contains a subset of the keys. In MySQL, there are multiple partitioning methods, such as Sharding with MySQL Cluster and Horizontal partitioning. The MySQL Cluster partitions (shards) tables across nodes. This enables databases to scale horizontally at minimal costs. Horizontal partitioning means that table rows are assigned to different physical partitions.

Data Schema

Redis has a free data schema. It manages information without the need for a blueprint. It does not rely on tables, fields, or data model structures. On the other hand, MySQL has a defined data schema that it follows. This schema contains tables used to store information alongside data modelling structures.

Access Control

Redis uses simple password based access control to manage who can modify the database. On the other hand, MySQL has a fine grained authorization concept that involves two stages. In the first stage, the server accepts or rejects the connection based on the identity information you provide as well as the password. In the second stage, the server examines each statement you issue to establish whether it’s sufficient or not.

Connection Methods

In Redis, clients use RESP (REdis Serialization Protocol), a text based protocol to connect with the Redis server. This protocol can serialize different data types like arrays, strings, and integers.

On the other hand, MySQL uses protocols such as ADO.NET to provide consistent access to MySQL. Other connection methods include standard TCP/Ip connection, standard TCP/IP over Secure Shell (SSH), and local socket.


So, Redis is open source and free. However, it has various limitations. The Redis Enterprise version has all desirable features and provides cost upon request. With MySQL Community Edition is free and open source. Besides, it has three premium plans: Standard Edition, Enterprise Edition, and Cluster Carrier Grade Edition. The Standard Edition is the most basic and costs $2000 per year, while the Enterprise Edition costs $5000 per year. The Cluster Carrier edition costs $10,000 per year. Each plan has its set of features depending on your individual business needs.

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

Redis vs MySQL - What's the Difference? Conclusion

Both Redis and MySQL are desirable database tools. Redis is a nonrelational database tool, while MySQL is a relational database based on the SQL language. Each database has a unique set of features and functionalities. MySQL is more suitable for web applications, while Redis is suitable for streaming and real-time data availability. Therefore, your choice of database should depend on the workload you are running.

Why don’t you also check our our content for Redis over here and MySQL over here.

Avatar for Dennis Muvaa
Dennis Muvaa

Dennis is an expert content writer and SEO strategist in cloud technologies such as AWS, Azure, and GCP. He's also experienced in cybersecurity, big data, and AI.

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