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March 29, 2024

Linux Foundation Backs ‘Valkey’ Open-Source Fork of Redis

The Linux Foundation has shared its intent to form Valkey as its own Redis alternative. Redis is a popular open-source, in-memory, NoSQL key/value store that is used primarily as a quick-response database or application cache.

Developed by Redis contributors, Valkey is aimed at furthering the development of an open-source, in-memory, NoSQL data store that serves as a robust alternative to Redis.  The new platform is backed by major tech players including Google, AWS, Oracle, and Snap Inc.

Valkey is essentially a fork of Redis. Forking is the process of copying a code base and then developing it independently of the originator. 

The introduction of Redis comes in response to recent licensing changes by Redis, who recently announced that they are moving the software from open-source to proprietary licensing. Valkey will now use the BSD 3-clause license which until recently covered Redis’s open-source platform.

Since the Redis project was founded in 2009, thousands of open-source developers have contributed to its growth. The primary use cases of Redis included caching web pages and reducing the load on servers. It provides fast and reliable storage for session data in web applications. It ranks high as one of the most popular databases for professional developers around the world. 

“Valkey is an impressive effort by long-standing contributors in the Redis community to uphold the open-source principles that the project was founded on. I applaud their commitment to true collaboration and look forward to the innovations that they bring to the broader tech community as a project at the Linux Foundation,” said Jim Zemlin, Executive Director, The Linux Foundation.

(ZinetroN/Shutterstock)

Redis had expressed business reasons for moving their code base out of open-source licensing, following in the wake of the likes of Elastic, MongoDB, and Hashicorp. They wanted to move to establish fair licensing agreements with the cloud providers and be able to fund further innovation in the Redis platform and protect its intellectual property. 

However, there have been some reports that the Redis leadership, including its CEO Rowan Trollope, has expressed concerns about the formation of Valkey. The leadership claims the formation of Valkey is an attempt by cloud providers to get out of paying licensing fees. 

According to a statement by Linux Foundation, “Valkey will be community-driven without surprise license changes that break trust and disrupt a level open source playing field”. 

“I worked on open source Redis for six years, including four years as one of the core team members that drove Redis open source until 7.2. I care deeply about open-source software and want to keep contributing. By forming Valkey, contributors can pick up where we left off and continue to contribute to a vibrant open-source community,” said Madelyn Olson, former Redis maintainer, co-creator of Valkey, and a principal engineer at AWS.

Valkey will continue to follow an open governance model, empowering all users and contributors to work on making the platform better. Some of the features on the future roadmap include the addition of vector search support, multi-threaded performance improvements, and more reliable slot migration.

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