Redis Sentinel provides high availability for Redis when not using Redis Cluster.
Redis Sentinel also provides other collateral tasks such as monitoring, notifications and acts as a configuration provider for clients.
This is the full list of Sentinel capabilities at a macroscopic level (i.e. the big picture):
Redis Sentinel is a distributed system:
Sentinel itself is designed to run in a configuration where there are multiple Sentinel processes cooperating together. The advantage of having multiple Sentinel processes cooperating are the following:
The sum of Sentinels, Redis instances (masters and replicas) and clients connecting to Sentinel and Redis, are also a larger distributed system with specific properties. In this document concepts will be introduced gradually starting from basic information needed in order to understand the basic properties of Sentinel, to more complex information (that are optional) in order to understand how exactly Sentinel works.
The current version of Sentinel is called Sentinel 2. It is a rewrite of the initial Sentinel implementation using stronger and simpler-to-predict algorithms (that are explained in this documentation).
A stable release of Redis Sentinel is shipped since Redis 2.8.
New developments are performed in the unstable branch, and new features sometimes are back ported into the latest stable branch as soon as they are considered to be stable.
Redis Sentinel version 1, shipped with Redis 2.6, is deprecated and should not be used.
If you are using the
redis-sentinel executable (or if you have a symbolic
link with that name to the
redis-server executable) you can run Sentinel
with the following command line:
Otherwise you can use directly the
redis-server executable starting it in
redis-server /path/to/sentinel.conf --sentinel
Both ways work the same.
However it is mandatory to use a configuration file when running Sentinel, as this file will be used by the system in order to save the current state that will be reloaded in case of restarts. Sentinel will simply refuse to start if no configuration file is given or if the configuration file path is not writable.
Sentinels by default run listening for connections to TCP port 26379, so for Sentinels to work, port 26379 of your servers must be open to receive connections from the IP addresses of the other Sentinel instances. Otherwise Sentinels can't talk and can't agree about what to do, so failover will never be performed.
The Redis source distribution contains a file called
that is a self-documented example configuration file you can use to
configure Sentinel, however a typical minimal configuration file looks like the
sentinel monitor mymaster 127.0.0.1 6379 2 sentinel down-after-milliseconds mymaster 60000 sentinel failover-timeout mymaster 180000 sentinel parallel-syncs mymaster 1 sentinel monitor resque 192.168.1.3 6380 4 sentinel down-after-milliseconds resque 10000 sentinel failover-timeout resque 180000 sentinel parallel-syncs resque 5
You only need to specify the masters to monitor, giving to each separated master (that may have any number of replicas) a different name. There is no need to specify replicas, which are auto-discovered. Sentinel will update the configuration automatically with additional information about replicas (in order to retain the information in case of restart). The configuration is also rewritten every time a replica is promoted to master during a failover and every time a new Sentinel is discovered.
The example configuration above basically monitors two sets of Redis
instances, each composed of a master and an undefined number of replicas.
One set of instances is called
mymaster, and the other
The meaning of the arguments of
sentinel monitor statements is the following:
sentinel monitor <master-group-name> <ip> <port> <quorum>
For the sake of clarity, let's check line by line what the configuration options mean:
The first line is used to tell Redis to monitor a master called mymaster, that is at address 127.0.0.1 and port 6379, with a quorum of 2. Everything is pretty obvious but the quorum argument:
So for example if you have 5 Sentinel processes, and the quorum for a given master set to the value of 2, this is what happens:
In practical terms this means during failures Sentinel never starts a failover if the majority of Sentinel processes are unable to talk (aka no failover in the minority partition).
The other options are almost always in the form:
sentinel <option_name> <master_name> <option_value>
And are used for the following purposes:
down-after-millisecondsis the time in milliseconds an instance should not be reachable (either does not reply to our PINGs or it is replying with an error) for a Sentinel starting to think it is down.
parallel-syncssets the number of replicas that can be reconfigured to use the new master after a failover at the same time. The lower the number, the more time it will take for the failover process to complete, however if the replicas are configured to serve old data, you may not want all the replicas to re-synchronize with the master at the same time. While the replication process is mostly non blocking for a replica, there is a moment when it stops to load the bulk data from the master. You may want to make sure only one replica at a time is not reachable by setting this option to the value of 1.
Additional options are described in the rest of this document and
documented in the example
sentinel.conf file shipped with the Redis
Configuration parameters can be modified at runtime:
SENTINEL CONFIG SET.
See the Reconfiguring Sentinel at runtime section for more information.
Now that you know the basic information about Sentinel, you may wonder where you should place your Sentinel processes, how many Sentinel processes you need and so forth. This section shows a few example deployments.
We use ASCII art in order to show you configuration examples in a graphical format, this is what the different symbols means:
+--------------------+ | This is a computer | | or VM that fails | | independently. We | | call it a "box" | +--------------------+
We write inside the boxes what they are running:
+-------------------+ | Redis master M1 | | Redis Sentinel S1 | +-------------------+
Different boxes are connected by lines, to show that they are able to talk:
+-------------+ +-------------+ | Sentinel S1 |---------------| Sentinel S2 | +-------------+ +-------------+
Network partitions are shown as interrupted lines using slashes:
+-------------+ +-------------+ | Sentinel S1 |------ // ------| Sentinel S2 | +-------------+ +-------------+
Also note that:
Note that we will never show setups where just two Sentinels are used, since Sentinels always need to talk with the majority in order to start a failover.
+----+ +----+ | M1 |---------| R1 | | S1 | | S2 | +----+ +----+ Configuration: quorum = 1
Note that a majority is needed in order to order different failovers, and later propagate the latest configuration to all the Sentinels. Also note that the ability to failover in a single side of the above setup, without any agreement, would be very dangerous:
+----+ +------+ | M1 |----//-----| [M1] | | S1 | | S2 | +----+ +------+
In the above configuration we created two masters (assuming S2 could failover without authorization) in a perfectly symmetrical way. Clients may write indefinitely to both sides, and there is no way to understand when the partition heals what configuration is the right one, in order to prevent a permanent split brain condition.
So please deploy at least three Sentinels in three different boxes always.
This is a very simple setup, that has the advantage to be simple to tune for additional safety. It is based on three boxes, each box running both a Redis process and a Sentinel process.
+----+ | M1 | | S1 | +----+ | +----+ | +----+ | R2 |----+----| R3 | | S2 | | S3 | +----+ +----+ Configuration: quorum = 2
If the master M1 fails, S2 and S3 will agree about the failure and will be able to authorize a failover, making clients able to continue.
In every Sentinel setup, as Redis uses asynchronous replication, there is always the risk of losing some writes because a given acknowledged write may not be able to reach the replica which is promoted to master. However in the above setup there is a higher risk due to clients being partitioned away with an old master, like in the following picture:
+----+ | M1 | | S1 | <- C1 (writes will be lost) +----+ | / / +------+ | +----+ | [M2] |----+----| R3 | | S2 | | S3 | +------+ +----+
In this case a network partition isolated the old master M1, so the replica R2 is promoted to master. However clients, like C1, that are in the same partition as the old master, may continue to write data to the old master. This data will be lost forever since when the partition will heal, the master will be reconfigured as a replica of the new master, discarding its data set.
This problem can be mitigated using the following Redis replication feature, that allows to stop accepting writes if a master detects that it is no longer able to transfer its writes to the specified number of replicas.
min-replicas-to-write 1 min-replicas-max-lag 10
With the above configuration (please see the self-commented
redis.conf example in the Redis distribution for more information) a Redis instance, when acting as a master, will stop accepting writes if it can't write to at least 1 replica. Since replication is asynchronous not being able to write actually means that the replica is either disconnected, or is not sending us asynchronous acknowledges for more than the specified
max-lag number of seconds.
Using this configuration, the old Redis master M1 in the above example, will become unavailable after 10 seconds. When the partition heals, the Sentinel configuration will converge to the new one, the client C1 will be able to fetch a valid configuration and will continue with the new master.
However there is no free lunch. With this refinement, if the two replicas are down, the master will stop accepting writes. It's a trade off.
Sometimes we have only two Redis boxes available, one for the master and one for the replica. The configuration in the example 2 is not viable in that case, so we can resort to the following, where Sentinels are placed where clients are:
+----+ +----+ | M1 |----+----| R1 | | | | | | +----+ | +----+ | +------------+------------+ | | | | | | +----+ +----+ +----+ | C1 | | C2 | | C3 | | S1 | | S2 | | S3 | +----+ +----+ +----+ Configuration: quorum = 2
In this setup, the point of view Sentinels is the same as the clients: if a master is reachable by the majority of the clients, it is fine. C1, C2, C3 here are generic clients, it does not mean that C1 identifies a single client connected to Redis. It is more likely something like an application server, a Rails app, or something like that.
If the box where M1 and S1 are running fails, the failover will happen without issues, however it is easy to see that different network partitions will result in different behaviors. For example Sentinel will not be able to setup if the network between the clients and the Redis servers is disconnected, since the Redis master and replica will both be unavailable.
Note that if C3 gets partitioned with M1 (hardly possible with the network described above, but more likely possible with different layouts, or because of failures at the software layer), we have a similar issue as described in Example 2, with the difference that here we have no way to break the symmetry, since there is just a replica and master, so the master can't stop accepting queries when it is disconnected from its replica, otherwise the master would never be available during replica failures.
So this is a valid setup but the setup in the Example 2 has advantages such as the HA system of Redis running in the same boxes as Redis itself which may be simpler to manage, and the ability to put a bound on the amount of time a master in the minority partition can receive writes.
The setup described in the Example 3 cannot be used if there are less than three boxes in the client side (for example three web servers). In this case we need to resort to a mixed setup like the following:
+----+ +----+ | M1 |----+----| R1 | | S1 | | | S2 | +----+ | +----+ | +------+-----+ | | | | +----+ +----+ | C1 | | C2 | | S3 | | S4 | +----+ +----+ Configuration: quorum = 3
This is similar to the setup in Example 3, but here we run four Sentinels in the four boxes we have available. If the master M1 becomes unavailable the other three Sentinels will perform the failover.
In theory this setup works removing the box where C2 and S4 are running, and setting the quorum to 2. However it is unlikely that we want HA in the Redis side without having high availability in our application layer.
Docker uses a technique called port mapping: programs running inside Docker containers may be exposed with a different port compared to the one the program believes to be using. This is useful in order to run multiple containers using the same ports, at the same time, in the same server.
Docker is not the only software system where this happens, there are other Network Address Translation setups where ports may be remapped, and sometimes not ports but also IP addresses.
Remapping ports and addresses creates issues with Sentinel in two ways:
INFOoutput of a Redis master in a similar way: the address is detected by the master checking the remote peer of the TCP connection, while the port is advertised by the replica itself during the handshake, however the port may be wrong for the same reason as exposed in point 1.
Since Sentinels auto detect replicas using masters
INFO output information,
the detected replicas will not be reachable, and Sentinel will never be able to
failover the master, since there are no good replicas from the point of view of
the system, so there is currently no way to monitor with Sentinel a set of
master and replica instances deployed with Docker, unless you instruct Docker
to map the port 1:1.
For the first problem, in case you want to run a set of Sentinel instances using Docker with forwarded ports (or any other NAT setup where ports are remapped), you can use the following two Sentinel configuration directives in order to force Sentinel to announce a specific set of IP and port:
sentinel announce-ip <ip> sentinel announce-port <port>
Note that Docker has the ability to run in host networking mode (check the
--net=host option for more information). This should create no issues since ports are not remapped in this setup.
Older versions of Sentinel did not support host names and required IP addresses to be specified everywhere. Starting with version 6.2, Sentinel has optional support for host names.
This capability is disabled by default. If you're going to enable DNS/hostnames support, please note:
sentinel announce-ip <hostname>for all Redis and Sentinel instances, respectively.
resolve-hostnames global configuration allows Sentinel to accept host names:
Sentinel will accept host names as valid inputs and resolve them, but will still refer to IP addresses when announcing an instance, updating configuration files, etc.
announce-hostnames global configuration makes Sentinel use host names instead. This affects replies to clients, values written in configuration files, the
REPLICAOF command issued to replicas, etc.
This behavior may not be compatible with all Sentinel clients, that may explicitly expect an IP address.
Using host names may be useful when clients use TLS to connect to instances and require a name rather than an IP address in order to perform certificate ASN matching.
In the next sections of this document, all the details about Sentinel API, configuration and semantics will be covered incrementally. However for people that want to play with the system ASAP, this section is a tutorial that shows how to configure and interact with 3 Sentinel instances.
Here we assume that the instances are executed at port 5000, 5001, 5002. We also assume that you have a running Redis master at port 6379 with a replica running at port 6380. We will use the IPv4 loopback address 127.0.0.1 everywhere during the tutorial, assuming you are running the simulation on your personal computer.
The three Sentinel configuration files should look like the following:
port 5000 sentinel monitor mymaster 127.0.0.1 6379 2 sentinel down-after-milliseconds mymaster 5000 sentinel failover-timeout mymaster 60000 sentinel parallel-syncs mymaster 1
The other two configuration files will be identical but using 5001 and 5002 as port numbers.
A few things to note about the above configuration:
mymaster. It identifies the master and its replicas. Since each master set has a different name, Sentinel can monitor different sets of masters and replicas at the same time.
sentinel monitorconfiguration directive).
down-after-millisecondsvalue is 5000 milliseconds, that is 5 seconds, so masters will be detected as failing as soon as we don't receive any reply from our pings within this amount of time.
Once you start the three Sentinels, you'll see a few messages they log, like:
+monitor master mymaster 127.0.0.1 6379 quorum 2
Sentinel generates and logs different events during failure detection and failover.
The most obvious thing to do with Sentinel to get started, is check if the master it is monitoring is doing well:
$ redis-cli -p 5000 127.0.0.1:5000> sentinel master mymaster 1) "name" 2) "mymaster" 3) "ip" 4) "127.0.0.1" 5) "port" 6) "6379" 7) "runid" 8) "953ae6a589449c13ddefaee3538d356d287f509b" 9) "flags" 10) "master" 11) "link-pending-commands" 12) "0" 13) "link-refcount" 14) "1" 15) "last-ping-sent" 16) "0" 17) "last-ok-ping-reply" 18) "735" 19) "last-ping-reply" 20) "735" 21) "down-after-milliseconds" 22) "5000" 23) "info-refresh" 24) "126" 25) "role-reported" 26) "master" 27) "role-reported-time" 28) "532439" 29) "config-epoch" 30) "1" 31) "num-slaves" 32) "1" 33) "num-other-sentinels" 34) "2" 35) "quorum" 36) "2" 37) "failover-timeout" 38) "60000" 39) "parallel-syncs" 40) "1"
As you can see, it prints a number of information about the master. There are a few that are of particular interest for us:
num-other-sentinelsis 2, so we know the Sentinel already detected two more Sentinels for this master. If you check the logs you'll see the
master. If the master was down we could expect to see
o_downflag as well here.
num-slavesis correctly set to 1, so Sentinel also detected that there is an attached replica to our master.
In order to explore more about this instance, you may want to try the following two commands:
SENTINEL replicas mymaster SENTINEL sentinels mymaster
The first will provide similar information about the replicas connected to the master, and the second about the other Sentinels.
As we already specified, Sentinel also acts as a configuration provider for clients that want to connect to a set of master and replicas. Because of possible failovers or reconfigurations, clients have no idea about who is the currently active master for a given set of instances, so Sentinel exports an API to ask this question:
127.0.0.1:5000> SENTINEL get-master-addr-by-name mymaster 1) "127.0.0.1" 2) "6379"
At this point our toy Sentinel deployment is ready to be tested. We can just kill our master and check if the configuration changes. To do so we can just do:
redis-cli -p 6379 DEBUG sleep 30
This command will make our master no longer reachable, sleeping for 30 seconds. It basically simulates a master hanging for some reason.
If you check the Sentinel logs, you should be able to see a lot of action:
+odown, which means that multiple Sentinels agree about the fact the master is not reachable.
If you ask again what is the current master address for
we should get a different reply this time:
127.0.0.1:5000> SENTINEL get-master-addr-by-name mymaster 1) "127.0.0.1" 2) "6380"
So far so good... At this point you may jump to create your Sentinel deployment or can read more to understand all the Sentinel commands and internals.
Sentinel provides an API in order to inspect its state, check the health of monitored masters and replicas, subscribe in order to receive specific notifications, and change the Sentinel configuration at run time.
By default Sentinel runs using TCP port 26379 (note that 6379 is the normal
Redis port). Sentinels accept commands using the Redis protocol, so you can
redis-cli or any other unmodified Redis client in order to talk with
It is possible to directly query a Sentinel to check what is the state of the monitored Redis instances from its point of view, to see what other Sentinels it knows, and so forth. Alternatively, using Pub/Sub, it is possible to receive push style notifications from Sentinels, every time some event happens, like a failover, or an instance entering an error condition, and so forth.
SENTINEL command is the main API for Sentinel. The following is the list of its subcommands (minimal version is noted for where applicable):
>= 6.2) Get the current value of a global Sentinel configuration parameter. The specified name may be a wildcard, similar to the Redis
>= 6.2) Set the value of a global Sentinel configuration parameter.
<master name>Check if the current Sentinel configuration is able to reach the quorum needed to failover a master, and the majority needed to authorize the failover. This command should be used in monitoring systems to check if a Sentinel deployment is ok.
<master name>Force a failover as if the master was not reachable, and without asking for agreement to other Sentinels (however a new version of the configuration will be published so that the other Sentinels will update their configurations).
<master name>Return the ip and port number of the master with that name. If a failover is in progress or terminated successfully for this master it returns the address and port of the promoted replica.
>= 3.2) Return cached
INFOoutput from masters and replicas.
<master name>Show the state and info of the specified master.
>= 6.2) Return the ID of the Sentinel instance.
>= 5.0) Show a list of replicas for this master, and their state.
<master name>Show a list of sentinel instances for this master, and their state.
>= 3.2) This command simulates different Sentinel crash scenarios.
<pattern>This command will reset all the masters with matching name. The pattern argument is a glob-style pattern. The reset process clears any previous state in a master (including a failover in progress), and removes every replica and sentinel already discovered and associated with the master.
For connection management and administration purposes, Sentinel supports the following subset of Redis' commands:
>= 6.2) This command manages the Sentinel Access Control List. For more information refer to the ACL documentation page and the Sentinel Access Control List authentication.
>= 5.0.1) Authenticate a client connection. For more information refer to the
AUTHcommand and the Configuring Sentinel instances with authentication section.
>= 6.2) This command returns information about commands. For more information refer to the
COMMANDcommand and its various subcommands.
>= 6.0) Switch the connection's protocol. For more information refer to the
Starting with Redis version 2.8.4, Sentinel provides an API in order to add, remove, or change the configuration of a given master. Note that if you have multiple sentinels you should apply the changes to all to your instances for Redis Sentinel to work properly. This means that changing the configuration of a single Sentinel does not automatically propagate the changes to the other Sentinels in the network.
The following is a list of
SENTINEL subcommands used in order to update the configuration of a Sentinel instance.
<quorum>This command tells the Sentinel to start monitoring a new master with the specified name, ip, port, and quorum. It is identical to the
sentinel monitorconfiguration directive in
sentinel.confconfiguration file, with the difference that you can't use a hostname in as
ip, but you need to provide an IPv4 or IPv6 address.
<name>is used in order to remove the specified master: the master will no longer be monitored, and will totally be removed from the internal state of the Sentinel, so it will no longer listed by
SENTINEL mastersand so forth.
<value>...] The SET command is very similar to the
CONFIG SETcommand of Redis, and is used in order to change configuration parameters of a specific master. Multiple option / value pairs can be specified (or none at all). All the configuration parameters that can be configured via
sentinel.confare also configurable using the SET command.
The following is an example of
SENTINEL SET command in order to modify the
down-after-milliseconds configuration of a master called
SENTINEL SET objects-cache-master down-after-milliseconds 1000
As already stated,
SENTINEL SET can be used to set all the configuration parameters that are settable in the startup configuration file. Moreover it is possible to change just the master quorum configuration without removing and re-adding the master with
SENTINEL REMOVE followed by
SENTINEL MONITOR, but simply using:
SENTINEL SET objects-cache-master quorum 5
Note that there is no equivalent GET command since
SENTINEL MASTER provides all the configuration parameters in a simple to parse format (as a field/value pairs array).
Starting with Redis version 6.2, Sentinel also allows getting and setting global configuration parameters which were only supported in the configuration file prior to that.
<name>Get the current value of a global Sentinel configuration parameter. The specified name may be a wildcard, similar to the Redis
<value>Set the value of a global Sentinel configuration parameter.
Global parameters that can be manipulated include:
announce-hostnames. See IP addresses and DNS names.
announce-port. See Sentinel, Docker, NAT, and possible issues.
sentinel-pass. See Configuring Sentinel instances with authentication.
Adding a new Sentinel to your deployment is a simple process because of the auto-discover mechanism implemented by Sentinel. All you need to do is to start the new Sentinel configured to monitor the currently active master. Within 10 seconds the Sentinel will acquire the list of other Sentinels and the set of replicas attached to the master.
If you need to add multiple Sentinels at once, it is suggested to add it one after the other, waiting for all the other Sentinels to already know about the first one before adding the next. This is useful in order to still guarantee that majority can be achieved only in one side of a partition, in the chance failures should happen in the process of adding new Sentinels.
This can be easily achieved by adding every new Sentinel with a 30 seconds delay, and during absence of network partitions.
At the end of the process it is possible to use the command
SENTINEL MASTER mastername in order to check if all the Sentinels agree about
the total number of Sentinels monitoring the master.
Removing a Sentinel is a bit more complex: Sentinels never forget already seen Sentinels, even if they are not reachable for a long time, since we don't want to dynamically change the majority needed to authorize a failover and the creation of a new configuration number. So in order to remove a Sentinel the following steps should be performed in absence of network partitions:
SENTINEL RESET *command to all the other Sentinel instances (instead of
*you can use the exact master name if you want to reset just a single master). One after the other, waiting at least 30 seconds between instances.
SENTINEL MASTER masternameof every Sentinel.
Sentinels never forget about replicas of a given master, even when they are unreachable for a long time. This is useful, because Sentinels should be able to correctly reconfigure a returning replica after a network partition or a failure event.
Moreover, after a failover, the failed over master is virtually added as a replica of the new master, this way it will be reconfigured to replicate with the new master as soon as it will be available again.
However sometimes you want to remove a replica (that may be the old master) forever from the list of replicas monitored by Sentinels.
In order to do this, you need to send a
SENTINEL RESET mastername command
to all the Sentinels: they'll refresh the list of replicas within the next
10 seconds, only adding the ones listed as correctly replicating from the
The channel name is the same as the name of the event. For instance the
+sdown will receive all the notifications related to instances
SDOWN (SDOWN means the instance is no longer reachable from
the point of view of the Sentinel you are querying) condition.
To get all the messages simply subscribe using
The following is a list of channels and message formats you can receive using this API. The first word is the channel / event name, the rest is the format of the data.
Note: where instance details is specified it means that the following arguments are provided to identify the target instance:
<instance-type> <name> <ip> <port> @ <master-name> <master-ip> <master-port>
The part identifying the master (from the @ argument to the end) is optional and is only specified if the instance is not a master itself.
<instance details>-- The master was reset.
<instance details>-- A new replica was detected and attached.
<instance details>-- Failover state changed to
<instance details>-- A failover started by another Sentinel or any other external entity was detected (An attached replica turned into a master).
<instance details>-- The leader sentinel sent the
REPLICAOFcommand to this instance in order to reconfigure it for the new replica.
<instance details>-- The replica being reconfigured showed to be a replica of the new master ip:port pair, but the synchronization process is not yet complete.
<instance details>-- The replica is now synchronized with the new master.
<instance details>-- One or more sentinels for the specified master were removed as duplicated (this happens for instance when a Sentinel instance is restarted).
<instance details>-- A new sentinel for this master was detected and attached.
<instance details>-- The specified instance is now in Subjectively Down state.
<instance details>-- The specified instance is no longer in Subjectively Down state.
<instance details>-- The specified instance is now in Objectively Down state.
<instance details>-- The specified instance is no longer in Objectively Down state.
<instance details>-- The current epoch was updated.
<instance details>-- New failover in progress, waiting to be elected by the majority.
<instance details>-- Won the election for the specified epoch, can do the failover.
<instance details>-- New failover state is
select-slave: we are trying to find a suitable replica for promotion.
<instance details>-- There is no good replica to promote. Currently we'll try after some time, but probably this will change and the state machine will abort the failover at all in this case.
<instance details>-- We found the specified good replica to promote.
<instance details>-- We are trying to reconfigure the promoted replica as master, waiting for it to switch.
<instance details>-- The failover terminated for timeout, replicas will eventually be configured to replicate with the new master anyway.
<instance details>-- The failover terminated with success. All the replicas appears to be reconfigured to replicate with the new master.
<master name> <oldip> <oldport> <newip> <newport>-- The master new IP and address is the specified one after a configuration change. This is the message most external users are interested in.
The -BUSY error is returned by a Redis instance when a Lua script is running for
more time than the configured Lua script time limit. When this happens before
triggering a fail over Redis Sentinel will try to send a
command, that will only succeed if the script was read-only.
If the instance is still in an error condition after this try, it will eventually be failed over.
Redis instances have a configuration parameter called
This information is exposed by Redis replica instances in their
and Sentinel uses it in order to pick a replica among the ones that can be
used in order to failover a master:
For example if there is a replica S1 in the same data center of the current master, and another replica S2 in another data center, it is possible to set S1 with a priority of 10 and S2 with a priority of 100, so that if the master fails and both S1 and S2 are available, S1 will be preferred.
For more information about the way replicas are selected, please check the Replica selection and priority section of this documentation.
When the master is configured to require authentication from clients, as a security measure, replicas need to also be aware of the credentials in order to authenticate with the master and create the master-replica connection used for the asynchronous replication protocol.
Starting with Redis 6, user authentication and permission is managed with the Access Control List (ACL).
In order for Sentinels to connect to Redis server instances when they are configured with ACL, the Sentinel configuration must include the following directives:
sentinel auth-user <master-group-name> <username> sentinel auth-pass <master-group-name> <password>
<password> are the username and password for accessing the group's instances. These credentials should be provisioned on all of the group's Redis instances with the minimal control permissions. For example:
127.0.0.1:6379> ACL SETUSER sentinel-user ON >somepassword allchannels +multi +slaveof +ping +exec +subscribe +config|rewrite +role +publish +info +client|setname +client|kill +script|kill
Until Redis 6, authentication is achieved using the following configuration directives:
requirepassin the master, in order to set the authentication password, and to make sure the instance will not process requests for non authenticated clients.
masterauthin the replicas in order for the replicas to authenticate with the master in order to correctly replicate data from it.
When Sentinel is used, there is not a single master, since after a failover replicas may play the role of masters, and old masters can be reconfigured in order to act as replicas, so what you want to do is to set the above directives in all your instances, both masters and replicas.
This is also usually a sane setup since you don't want to protect data only in the master, having the same data accessible in the replicas.
However, in the uncommon case where you need a replica that is accessible
without authentication, you can still do it by setting up a replica priority
of zero, to prevent this replica from being promoted to master, and
configuring in this replica only the
masterauth directive, without
requirepass directive, so that data will be readable by
In order for Sentinels to connect to Redis server instances when they are
requirepass, the Sentinel configuration must include the
sentinel auth-pass directive, in the format:
sentinel auth-pass <master-group-name> <password>
Sentinel instances themselves can be secured by requiring clients to authenticate via the
AUTH command. Starting with Redis 6.2, the Access Control List (ACL) is available, whereas previous versions (starting with Redis 5.0.1) support password-only authentication.
Note that Sentinel's authentication configuration should be applied to each of the instances in your deployment, and all instances should use the same configuration. Furthermore, ACL and password-only authentication should not be used together.
The first step in securing a Sentinel instance with ACL is preventing any unauthorized access to it. To do that, you'll need to disable the default superuser (or at the very least set it up with a strong password) and create a new one and allow it access to Pub/Sub channels:
127.0.0.1:5000> ACL SETUSER admin ON >admin-password allchannels +@all OK 127.0.0.1:5000> ACL SETUSER default off OK
The default user is used by Sentinel to connect to other instances. You can provide the credentials of another superuser with the following configuration directives:
sentinel sentinel-user <username> sentinel sentinel-pass <password>
<password> are the Sentinel's superuser and password, respectively (e.g.
admin-password in the example above).
Lastly, for authenticating incoming client connections, you can create a Sentinel restricted user profile such as the following:
127.0.0.1:5000> ACL SETUSER sentinel-user ON >user-password -@all +auth +client|getname +client|id +client|setname +command +hello +ping +role +sentinel|get-master-addr-by-name +sentinel|master +sentinel|myid +sentinel|replicas +sentinel|sentinels
Refer to the documentation of your Sentinel client of choice for further information.
To use Sentinel with password-only authentication, add the
requirepass configuration directive to all your Sentinel instances as follows:
When configured this way, Sentinels will do two things:
This means that you will have to configure the same
requirepass password in all the Sentinel instances. This way every Sentinel can talk with every other Sentinel without any need to configure for each Sentinel the password to access all the other Sentinels, that would be very impractical.
Before using this configuration, make sure your client library can send the
AUTH command to Sentinel instances.
Sentinel requires explicit client support, unless the system is configured to execute a script that performs a transparent redirection of all the requests to the new master instance (virtual IP or other similar systems). The topic of client libraries implementation is covered in the document Sentinel clients guidelines.
In the following sections we'll cover a few details about how Sentinel works, without resorting to implementation details and algorithms that will be covered in the final part of this document.
Redis Sentinel has two different concepts of being down, one is called
a Subjectively Down condition (SDOWN) and is a down condition that is
local to a given Sentinel instance. Another is called Objectively Down
condition (ODOWN) and is reached when enough Sentinels (at least the
number configured as the
quorum parameter of the monitored master) have
an SDOWN condition, and get feedback from other Sentinels using
SENTINEL is-master-down-by-addr command.
From the point of view of a Sentinel an SDOWN condition is reached when it
does not receive a valid reply to PING requests for the number of seconds
specified in the configuration as
An acceptable reply to PING is one of the following:
Any other reply (or no reply at all) is considered non valid. However note that a logical master that advertises itself as a replica in the INFO output is considered to be down.
Note that SDOWN requires that no acceptable reply is received for the whole interval configured, so for instance if the interval is 30000 milliseconds (30 seconds) and we receive an acceptable ping reply every 29 seconds, the instance is considered to be working.
SDOWN is not enough to trigger a failover: it only means a single Sentinel believes a Redis instance is not available. To trigger a failover, the ODOWN state must be reached.
To switch from SDOWN to ODOWN no strong consensus algorithm is used, but just a form of gossip: if a given Sentinel gets reports that a master is not working from enough Sentinels in a given time range, the SDOWN is promoted to ODOWN. If this acknowledge is later missing, the flag is cleared.
A more strict authorization that uses an actual majority is required in order to really start the failover, but no failover can be triggered without reaching the ODOWN state.
The ODOWN condition only applies to masters. For other kind of instances Sentinel doesn't require to act, so the ODOWN state is never reached for replicas and other sentinels, but only SDOWN is.
However SDOWN has also semantic implications. For example a replica in SDOWN state is not selected to be promoted by a Sentinel performing a failover.
Sentinels stay connected with other Sentinels in order to reciprocally check the availability of each other, and to exchange messages. However you don't need to configure a list of other Sentinel addresses in every Sentinel instance you run, as Sentinel uses the Redis instances Pub/Sub capabilities in order to discover the other Sentinels that are monitoring the same masters and replicas.
This feature is implemented by sending hello messages into the channel named
Similarly you don't need to configure what is the list of the replicas attached to a master, as Sentinel will auto discover this list querying Redis.
__sentinel__:hello, every two seconds, announcing its presence with ip, port, runid.
__sentinel__:helloof every master and replica, looking for unknown sentinels. When new sentinels are detected, they are added as sentinels of this master.
Even when no failover is in progress, Sentinels will always try to set the current configuration on monitored instances. Specifically:
For Sentinels to reconfigure replicas, the wrong configuration must be observed for some time, that is greater than the period used to broadcast new configurations.
This prevents Sentinels with a stale configuration (for example because they just rejoined from a partition) will try to change the replicas configuration before receiving an update.
Also note how the semantics of always trying to impose the current configuration makes the failover more resistant to partitions:
The important lesson to remember about this section is: Sentinel is a system where each process will always try to impose the last logical configuration to the set of monitored instances.
When a Sentinel instance is ready to perform a failover, since the master
ODOWN state and the Sentinel received the authorization to failover
from the majority of the Sentinel instances known, a suitable replica needs
to be selected.
The replica selection process evaluates the following information about replicas:
A replica that is found to be disconnected from the master for more than ten times the configured master timeout (down-after-milliseconds option), plus the time the master is also not available from the point of view of the Sentinel doing the failover, is considered to be not suitable for the failover and is skipped.
In more rigorous terms, a replica whose the
INFO output suggests it has been
disconnected from the master for more than:
(down-after-milliseconds * 10) + milliseconds_since_master_is_in_SDOWN_state
Is considered to be unreliable and is disregarded entirely.
The replica selection only considers the replicas that passed the above test, and sorts it based on the above criteria, in the following order.
replica-priorityas configured in the
redis.conffile of the Redis instance. A lower priority will be preferred.
In most cases,
replica-priority does not need to be set explicitly so all
instances will use the same default value. If there is a particular fail-over
replica-priority must be set on all instances, including masters,
as a master may become a replica at some future point in time - and it will then
need the proper
A Redis instance can be configured with a special
replica-priority of zero
in order to be never selected by Sentinels as the new master.
However a replica configured in this way will still be reconfigured by
Sentinels in order to replicate with the new master after a failover, the
only difference is that it will never become a master itself.
In the following sections we will explore the details of Sentinel behavior. It is not strictly needed for users to be aware of all the details, but a deep understanding of Sentinel may help to deploy and operate Sentinel in a more effective way.
The previous sections showed that every master monitored by Sentinel is associated to a configured quorum. It specifies the number of Sentinel processes that need to agree about the unreachability or error condition of the master in order to trigger a failover.
However, after the failover is triggered, in order for the failover to actually be performed, at least a majority of Sentinels must authorize the Sentinel to failover. Sentinel never performs a failover in the partition where a minority of Sentinels exist.
Let's try to make things a bit more clear:
The difference may seem subtle but is actually quite simple to understand and use. For example if you have 5 Sentinel instances, and the quorum is set to 2, a failover will be triggered as soon as 2 Sentinels believe that the master is not reachable, however one of the two Sentinels will be able to failover only if it gets authorization at least from 3 Sentinels.
If instead the quorum is configured to 5, all the Sentinels must agree about the master error condition, and the authorization from all Sentinels is required in order to failover.
This means that the quorum can be used to tune Sentinel in two ways:
Sentinels require to get authorizations from a majority in order to start a failover for a few important reasons:
When a Sentinel is authorized, it gets a unique configuration epoch for the master it is failing over. This is a number that will be used to version the new configuration after the failover is completed. Because a majority agreed that a given version was assigned to a given Sentinel, no other Sentinel will be able to use it. This means that every configuration of every failover is versioned with a unique version. We'll see why this is so important.
Moreover Sentinels have a rule: if a Sentinel voted another Sentinel for the failover of a given master, it will wait some time to try to failover the same master again. This delay is the
2 * failover-timeout you can configure in
sentinel.conf. This means that Sentinels will not try to failover the same master at the same time, the first to ask to be authorized will try, if it fails another will try after some time, and so forth.
Redis Sentinel guarantees the liveness property that if a majority of Sentinels are able to talk, eventually one will be authorized to failover if the master is down.
Redis Sentinel also guarantees the safety property that every Sentinel will failover the same master using a different configuration epoch.
Once a Sentinel is able to failover a master successfully, it will start to broadcast the new configuration so that the other Sentinels will update their information about a given master.
For a failover to be considered successful, it requires that the Sentinel was able to send the
REPLICAOF NO ONE command to the selected replica, and that the switch to master was later observed in the
INFO output of the master.
At this point, even if the reconfiguration of the replicas is in progress, the failover is considered to be successful, and all the Sentinels are required to start reporting the new configuration.
The way a new configuration is propagated is the reason why we need that every Sentinel failover is authorized with a different version number (configuration epoch).
Every Sentinel continuously broadcast its version of the configuration of a master using Redis Pub/Sub messages, both in the master and all the replicas. At the same time all the Sentinels wait for messages to see what is the configuration advertised by the other Sentinels.
Configurations are broadcast in the
__sentinel__:hello Pub/Sub channel.
Because every configuration has a different version number, the greater version always wins over smaller versions.
So for example the configuration for the master
mymaster start with all the
Sentinels believing the master is at 192.168.1.50:6379. This configuration
has version 1. After some time a Sentinel is authorized to failover with version 2. If the failover is successful, it will start to broadcast a new configuration, let's say 192.168.1.50:9000, with version 2. All the other instances will see this configuration and will update their configuration accordingly, since the new configuration has a greater version.
This means that Sentinel guarantees a second liveness property: a set of Sentinels that are able to communicate will all converge to the same configuration with the higher version number.
Basically if the net is partitioned, every partition will converge to the higher local configuration. In the special case of no partitions, there is a single partition and every Sentinel will agree about the configuration.
Redis Sentinel configurations are eventually consistent, so every partition will converge to the higher configuration available. However in a real-world system using Sentinel there are three different players:
In order to define the behavior of the system we have to consider all three.
The following is a simple network where there are 3 nodes, each running a Redis instance, and a Sentinel instance:
+-------------+ | Sentinel 1 |----- Client A | Redis 1 (M) | +-------------+ | | +-------------+ | +------------+ | Sentinel 2 |-----+-- // ----| Sentinel 3 |----- Client B | Redis 2 (S) | | Redis 3 (M)| +-------------+ +------------+
In this system the original state was that Redis 3 was the master, while Redis 1 and 2 were replicas. A partition occurred isolating the old master. Sentinels 1 and 2 started a failover promoting Sentinel 1 as the new master.
The Sentinel properties guarantee that Sentinel 1 and 2 now have the new configuration for the master. However Sentinel 3 has still the old configuration since it lives in a different partition.
We know that Sentinel 3 will get its configuration updated when the network partition will heal, however what happens during the partition if there are clients partitioned with the old master?
Clients will be still able to write to Redis 3, the old master. When the partition will rejoin, Redis 3 will be turned into a replica of Redis 1, and all the data written during the partition will be lost.
Depending on your configuration you may want or not that this scenario happens:
Since Redis is asynchronously replicated, there is no way to totally prevent data loss in this scenario, however you can bound the divergence between Redis 3 and Redis 1 using the following Redis configuration option:
min-replicas-to-write 1 min-replicas-max-lag 10
With the above configuration (please see the self-commented
redis.conf example in the Redis distribution for more information) a Redis instance, when acting as a master, will stop accepting writes if it can't write to at least 1 replica. Since replication is asynchronous not being able to write actually means that the replica is either disconnected, or is not sending us asynchronous acknowledges for more than the specified
max-lag number of seconds.
Using this configuration the Redis 3 in the above example will become unavailable after 10 seconds. When the partition heals, the Sentinel 3 configuration will converge to the new one, and Client B will be able to fetch a valid configuration and continue.
In general Redis + Sentinel as a whole are an eventually consistent system where the merge function is last failover wins, and the data from old masters are discarded to replicate the data of the current master, so there is always a window for losing acknowledged writes. This is due to Redis asynchronous replication and the discarding nature of the "virtual" merge function of the system. Note that this is not a limitation of Sentinel itself, and if you orchestrate the failover with a strongly consistent replicated state machine, the same properties will still apply. There are only two ways to avoid losing acknowledged writes:
Redis currently is not able to use any of the above systems, and is currently outside the development goals. However there are proxies implementing solution "2" on top of Redis stores such as SoundCloud Roshi, or Netflix Dynomite.
Sentinel state is persisted in the sentinel configuration file. For example every time a new configuration is received, or created (leader Sentinels), for a master, the configuration is persisted on disk together with the configuration epoch. This means that it is safe to stop and restart Sentinel processes.
Redis Sentinel is heavily dependent on the computer time: for instance in order to understand if an instance is available it remembers the time of the latest successful reply to the PING command, and compares it with the current time to understand how old it is.
However if the computer time changes in an unexpected way, or if the computer is very busy, or the process blocked for some reason, Sentinel may start to behave in an unexpected way.
The TILT mode is a special "protection" mode that a Sentinel can enter when something odd is detected that can lower the reliability of the system. The Sentinel timer interrupt is normally called 10 times per second, so we expect that more or less 100 milliseconds will elapse between two calls to the timer interrupt.
What a Sentinel does is to register the previous time the timer interrupt was called, and compare it with the current call: if the time difference is negative or unexpectedly big (2 seconds or more) the TILT mode is entered (or if it was already entered the exit from the TILT mode postponed).
When in TILT mode the Sentinel will continue to monitor everything, but:
SENTINEL is-master-down-by-addrrequests as the ability to detect a failure is no longer trusted.
If everything appears to be normal for 30 second, the TILT mode is exited.
In the Sentinel TILT mode, if we send the INFO command, we could get the following response:
$ redis-cli -p 26379 127.0.0.1:26379> info (Other information from Sentinel server skipped.) # Sentinel sentinel_masters:1 sentinel_tilt:0 sentinel_tilt_since_seconds:-1 sentinel_running_scripts:0 sentinel_scripts_queue_length:0 sentinel_simulate_failure_flags:0 master0:name=mymaster,status=ok,address=127.0.0.1:6379,slaves=0,sentinels=1
The field "sentinel_tilt_since_seconds" indicates how many seconds the Sentinel already is in the TILT mode. If it is not in TILT mode, the value will be -1.
Note that in some ways TILT mode could be replaced using the monotonic clock API that many kernels offer. However it is not still clear if this is a good solution since the current system avoids issues in case the process is just suspended or not executed by the scheduler for a long time.
A note about the word slave used in this man page: Starting with Redis 5, if not for backward compatibility, the Redis project no longer uses the word slave. Unfortunately in this command the word slave is part of the protocol, so we'll be able to remove such occurrences only when this API will be naturally deprecated.