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Redis Shifts to Dual Licensing, Impacting Cloud Providers and Competitors

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Redis Adopts Dual Source-Available Licensing

Redis, the popular open-source in-memory data store, has announced a major shift in its licensing model. In a move aimed at ensuring the long-term sustainability of the project, Redis is adopting a dual source-available licensing approach, transitioning away from the previous BSD 3-Clause license.

Starting with version 7.4 and all future releases, Redis will be dual-licensed under the Redis Source Available License version 2 (RSALv2) and the Server Side Public License version 1 (SSPLv1). This change effectively aligns the licensing for the core Redis product with the licensing previously introduced for Redis modules and data models like RedisJSON, RedisSearch, and Redis Stack.

Under the new model, the Redis source code will remain freely available to developers, customers, and partners through the "Redis Community Edition." However, companies looking to provide competitive offerings by embedding or hosting Redis as a service will need to obtain a commercial license from Redis Inc.

The goal of the licensing shift is to allow Redis Inc. to sustainably invest in developing new capabilities for the Redis data platform, while still enabling permissive open source use by individual developers, students, startups, and other non-commercial users.

"We want all developers to have access to the best technology we have to offer," said a Redis Inc. spokesperson. "But we had to package advanced features like search, JSON processing, and time-series into separate modules. This change allows us to simplify things and include those capabilities in the core Redis distribution."

Key Changes and Implications

  • Future versions of Redis, including version 7.4, will be dual-licensed under RSALv2 and SSPLv1 rather than the previous BSD license.
  • Redis Community Edition remains free for non-production and internal production use.
  • Companies commercially hosting Redis as a service or providing an embedded Redis offering competing with Redis Inc.'s products will need a paid commercial license.
  • Open source libraries, tools, and projects that interface with Redis but don't compete are unaffected.
  • Existing Redis Enterprise customers and partners are also unaffected.

The RSALv2 is a permissive license that allows free use, modification, and redistribution of the source code except for providing it as a commercial hosted service. The copyleft SSPLv1 requires releasing all source code for management layers if providing Redis as a service.

Redis Inc. worked closely with major cloud providers like Microsoft on the licensing transition. 

"Our collaboration continues to support integrated solutions like Azure Cache for Redis, and will provide Microsoft customers with exclusive access to expanded features within Redis offerings," said Julia Liuson, President of the Developer Division at Microsoft.

The company emphasized that existing deployments using older Redis versions under the BSD license can continue, with critical security patches backported until the new Community Edition stabilizes. However, no new patches will be issued under the BSD license long-term.

While no longer technically open source by OSI definitions, Redis Inc. says it remains committed to open philosophies, community involvement, and maintaining its ecosystem of open source client libraries and tools.

"Changing the license term has become a natural evolution for many open source projects looking to protect their brand and intellectual property," the spokesperson said. "We give away more technology than we monetize, but this will help us survive and keep investing in Redis as a compelling data platform."

Not the first time 

It is not the first time Redis has changed its terms. Back in 2018, it changed the license on some of its modules. 

Redis Labs switches several of its Redis Modules like RediSearch, Redis Graph, ReJSON, ReBloom and Redis-ML from the AGPL open source license to a new "source available" license combining Apache v2.0 with the Commons Clause restriction on selling the software. 

The licensing change aims to limit cloud providers from offering these Redis Modules to their customers, allowing Redis Labs to be the sole seller of services incorporating the add-ons. 

The licensing changes take effect immediately with the release of Redis 7.4. Developers, companies, and Redis partners are encouraged to review the new terms and reach out to Redis Inc. with any clarifying questions.

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