About RDB snapshots

This page gives an overview of RDB snapshots for Memorystore for Redis. This page assumes you know about open source Redis RDB Snapshots and the Memorystore import/export feature.

To learn how to enable, disable, and monitor RDB snapshots, see Managing RDB snapshots.

Memorystore for Redis is primarily used as an in-memory cache. When using Memorystore as a cache, your application can either tolerate loss of cache data or can very easily repopulate the cache from a persistent store. However, there are some use cases where downtime for a Memorystore instance, or a complete loss of instance data, can cause long application downtimes.

We recommend using the Standard Tier as the primary mechanism for high availability. Additionally, enabling RDB snapshots on Standard Tier instances provides extra protection from failures that can cause cache flushes. The Standard Tier provides a highly available instance with multiple replicas, and enables fast recovery using automatic failover if the primary fails.

In some scenarios you may also want to ensure data can be recovered from snapshot backups in the case of catastrophic failure of Standard Tier instances. In these scenarios, automated backups and the ability to restore data from RDB snapshots can provide additional protection from data loss. With RDB snapshots enabled, if needed, a recovery is made from the latest RDB snapshot.

RDB snapshots are suitable for use cases that can tolerate some amount of data staleness after recovery. You can also use RDB snapshots to automate backup and recovery of Basic Tier instances.

RDB snapshots overview

The RDB snapshots feature has the following behavior:

  • Stores complete point-in-time snapshots at user specified intervals on persistent storage.

  • You choose the frequency and schedule of routine snapshots. The minimum snapshot interval is 1h and the maximum is 24h.

  • Basic Tier instances recover data from the most recent snapshot every time an instance is restarted due to failure, undergoes a scaling operation, or undergoes an upgrade for the OSS Redis version your instance.

  • By default, Standard Tier instances recover data from the replica, not a snapshot. However, Standard Tier instances recover data from a snapshot if a replica is not available and both primary and replica experience a restart.

  • Adds no extra cost to your instance billing.

Additional behavior

  • Snapshots are used for instance recovery and are not available for manual restores. At any point in time, only the last successful snapshot is available for recovery. In addition to RDB snapshots, you can use Export and Import to manually backup and restore your data.

  • On a Standard Tier instance, the snapshot is taken on the replica to minimize memory and CPU usage on the primary. Snapshots are never taken from the primary node.


  • Available on Memorystore for Redis instances using Redis version 5.0 or greater.

  • If your instance has many keys (about 200 million or more), RDB snapshots and recoveries can be slow. At this key volume the Redis server itself can be the bottleneck which slows down snapshots and recoveries.

Scheduling RDB snapshots

When enabling RDB snapshots during instance creation you must specify a snapshot interval. You also have the option to specify a start time. Together these define the daily schedule of the snapshots. The intervals you can set are 1h, 6h, 12h, and 24h. For example, if you set the start time to 4 AM and the interval to 1 hour, the snapshots start at 4 AM on the day they are enabled, and continue every hour after that.

If a start time is not specified, the first snapshot is taken as soon as possible, and the interval is honored. For example, with an unspecified start time and an interval of 1 hour the snapshot can start at 6:13 AM and continue at 7:13 AM, 8:13 AM, etc.

If a start time is specified, the daily schedule is consistently honored if the snapshots always succeed and take no longer than the specified backup interval.

However, triggering the snapshot based on the daily schedule is best-effort. The schedule can deviate from the initially determined schedule for a number of reasons:

  • If a snapshot fails or takes longer than the specified snapshot interval to complete, the next snapshot begins immediately after completion of the current snapshot.

    • To prevent the snapshot from running continuously and overloading the instance it is recommended to set an interval that is long enough to let the snapshot complete.
  • If a snapshot is already in progress at a time aligned with the daily schedule, that snapshot completes and the next snapshot time is calculated solely on the interval from the start of the last successful snapshot.

Adjusting existing schedule

You may run into scenarios where you want to temporarily pause taking RDB snapshots for a certain period of time. This could be to ensure there are no performance impacts during critical events or to temporarily disable snapshots to troubleshoot performance issues.

To stop taking snapshots temporarily for a short period of time you can adjust the start time to be a future date. Once you adjust the start time to a future date, the next snapshot does not start till that date. If you do this, the last snapshot is retained for at least 7 days and is used in the event of a recovery.

To learn more about adjusting snapshot schedules, see Adjusting snapshot schedule.

Recovery behavior

Basic Tier Redis instances trigger a recovery anytime the instance is restarted. Common operations that trigger restarts are scaling and upgrading the version of your instance. RDB snapshots preserve Basic Tier instance data during these operations that cause restarts, planned maintenance, and unforeseen system failures.

Standard Tier Redis instances failover to a replica as the primary recovery mechanism rather than loading from a snapshot. A Standard Tier instance is recovered from the snapshot when restoring from a replica fails.

Data consistency on recovery

When enabled, RDB snapshots make a best effort to ensure backups occur on the specified interval, but this cannot be guaranteed. Snapshots can fail for a number of reasons. See the best practices for how to configure and monitor instances when RDB snapshots is enabled.

If the snapshot fails consecutively on multiple intervals, the last available backup can be arbitrarily stale.

The worst case data loss for a recovery from a snapshot is the sum of the specified interval since the last good snapshot started and the time to save the next snapshot to storage. In the case of a recovery incident, use the last_success_age metric to view the timeframe for data loss.

We recommend that you set alerts to detect failure of scheduled snapshots and take corrective action. To learn more about setting alerts, see Monitoring snapshots.

Recovery time

The instance is unavailable while the instance recovers from a snapshot. Recovery time depends on the size of the snapshot. To understand the predicted recovery time, check the RDB recovery remaining time metric using Cloud Monitoring in the Google Cloud console.

Mitigating slow recovery

Sometimes recovering from a snapshot may take longer than expected. You may need to take action to get your application reconnected to Redis as quickly as possible.

In this circumstance you can create a new Redis instance and direct application traffic to it. Then you can transfer restored data to the new instance once the original instance recovers.

Snapshot failure and recovery failure

Snapshot failure

Any failed snapshot is reported to Cloud Monitoring, and the snapshot is retried immediately. Consecutive snapshot failures increase the amount of data lost in the event of a recovery because recovered data becomes increasingly stale. For information on how to detect and troubleshoot snapshot failure, see Monitoring snapshots.

Recovery failure

Recovery failures are rare but can happen. If a recovery failure occurs the instance is recovered with no data.

Best practices

For best results backing up your instance with RDB snapshots, you should follow the best practices described below:

Memory management

RDB snapshots use a process fork and 'copy-on-write' mechanism to take a snapshot of the instance. Depending on the pattern of writes to the instance, the used memory of the instance will grows as pages touched by the writes are copied. In the worst case, the memory footprint can be double the size of the data in the instance.

To ensure the instance has sufficient memory to complete the snapshot, you should set maxmemory-gb to 80% of the instance capacity so that 20% is reserved for overhead. See Memory management best practices to learn more. This memory overhead, in addition to Monitoring snapshots helps you manage your workload to have successful snapshots.

Stale snapshots

Recovering your instance from a stale snapshot can cause performance issues for your application as it tries to reconcile a significant amount of stale keys or other changes to your database such as a schema change.

If you think your snapshot is too stale, or your instance has undergone other important changes that are hard to reconcile with the snapshot, you can disable then reenable RDB snapshots. This deletes existing snapshots, allowing you to avoid recovering from a stale snapshot.

To monitor for stale snapshots, set an alert on the RDB snapshot last_status and RDB snapshot last_success_age metrics.

Prolonged recovery from a snapshot

We recommend Setting an alert for the redis.googleapis.com/server/uptime metric to notify you if your instance becomes unavailable.

If your instance is unavailable and a recovery from a snapshot is taking too long, you can create a new Redis instance and direct traffic to it. Once the original Redis instance recovers, you can transfer restored data to the new instance.

Performance impact of RDB snapshots

Depending on your workload pattern RDB snapshots can impact the performance of the instance and increase latency for your applications.

Depending on the amount of potential data loss your application can tolerate, you can minimize the performance impact of RDB snapshots by scheduling them to run during periods of low instance traffic.

Use the start time and interval to schedule the snapshots for the required times. For example if your load is very low from 1 AM to 4 AM you can set the start time to 3 AM and set the interval to 24 hours.

If your system has a constant load and requires frequent snapshots, you should carefully evaluate the performance impact, and weigh the benefits of using RDB snapshots for the workload.

Monitoring snapshots

It is important to monitor snapshots, and set alerts for failed snapshots. Failed snapshots can indicate an overloaded instance that may continue to have difficulty recovering from the snapshot.

For a list of metrics available for monitoring snapshots, see RDB snapshot metrics. To receive notice of a failed snapshot, set an alert for the RDB snapshot last_status metric. You can also use the Google Cloud console to check for any failures.

Monitoring performance impact

You can monitor the performance impact a snapshot has on your Memorystore instance by viewing the metrics available through Cloud Monitoring like CPU usage, memory usage, etc. If you noticed reduced performance you can use the RDB snapshot in_progress metric to determine if a snapshot was in progress when performance issues were detected.

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