Create and configure a Spring Boot app to use Azure Cache for Redis


While your Azure Cache for Redis installation is being created, let's have a look at what Redis is and what its recommended use cases are.

What is Redis?

Redis is an open-source (BSD licensed) data store. It's a distributed, in-memory key-value database that you can use as cache and as a message broker. It has optional durability.

Redis is often ranked as the most popular key-value database. Its ease of use, performance, and scalability make it an excellent choice for many application developers.

What is Azure Cache for Redis?

Azure Cache for Redis is a managed version of Redis that's maintained and operated by Azure.

Azure Cache for Redis provides all the benefits or Redis: excellent throughput and performance to handle millions of requests per second. Because Azure manages it, you benefit from all the advantages of a cloud service, like automatic patches, updates, scaling, and provisioning.

Several tiers are available. The most advanced ones can provide clustering, replication, and high availability. You can rely on those advanced tiers for critical workloads.

Azure Cache for Redis has the following main use cases:

  • As a distributed cache, it speeds up applications that rely on a SQL database. It can also lower the cost of an application, because scaling a Redis cluster is cheaper than scaling a database.
  • As an HTTP session data store, it enables the scaling of session-based applications. This mechanism is typically useful for applications that use JSF (JavaServer Faces), or applications that store security data in the user's session.
  • As a message broker, Azure Cache for Redis is a solution for implementing publish/subscribe or queue architectures.

Using Redis in Java and with Spring Boot

For Java developers, Redis doesn't provide an official library. In fact, developers from various organizations have made several open-source libraries. Choice is good, and one of your main decisions is to select the one that fits your needs best.

Here are the three most popular ones:

  • Jedis is the most used library, and it's simple and easy to use.
  • Lettuce is the library we'll use in this module, because it comes bundled with Spring Data for Redis. It has great asynchronous support, which is important if you want to create a reactive Spring application.
  • Redisson is the most advanced Redis client. You can also use it as a Hibernate second-level cache if you need that feature.

Creating and configuring a distributed cache by using Spring Data Redis

Let's focus on the first recommended use case that we listed earlier: creating a distributed cache by using Redis.

Using Spring Boot, typically with Spring Initializr, you'll have three main tasks to achieve:

  • Add the Spring Data Redis library to your application.
  • Configure your application.yml file to connect to your Azure Cache for Redis instance.
  • Code some business logic by using Spring Data Redis to store and retrieve data from the cache.

This setup will use the Lettuce library underneath. But you won't need to use that library directly unless you require some advanced configuration. Spring Data handles all the data access code, by using a mechanism that most Spring developers should be familiar with. Spring Data is also used for accessing SQL databases (by using JPA) and NoSQL databases (like MongoDB).

Spring Data requires you to create two classes:

  • A Java bean that will hold your data. You should annotate it with the @RedisHash Java annotation. This annotation is used to store and retrieve data in Redis through a specific key.
  • A Spring repository. This repository is a specific Java class that can do database operations (create, retrieve, update, delete) on the Java bean that stores the data. For example, it can store one instance of the bean or retrieve a list of beans.

Then, you can inject this Spring repository into any standard Spring bean. For instance, you can inject it inside a Spring MVC REST controller, which will be used to store and access that data. It's what we're going to achieve in the next unit's exercise.