Transactions in Azure Cache for Redis


There are times when you must guarantee that multiple operations execute together. For example, in your instant messaging application, users can send an individual picture, an individual text message, or a picture and text message together. When the user chooses to send a picture and text message together, you must ensure that other members of the group receive them at the same time. This is important because if a picture and text message are not received together, it’s possible that a separate message could be sent in between the picture and text message. That could make the overall conversation confusing.

Here, we'll look at how to create a transaction in Azure Cache for Redis to guarantee that multiple operations are executed together.

Create and run transactions

Transactions in Redis work by queueing multiple commands to be executed as a group. When a transaction is executed, the commands queued inside of it are guaranteed to execute without any other commands from other clients interleaved between them.

To begin a transaction block, enter the MULTI command. Further commands will be queued and not executed immediately. Running the EXEC command will execute all of the queued commands as a transactional unit. If you decide you want to abort an open transaction while queuing commands, running the DISCARD command will close the transaction block without running any of the queued commands.

Redis transactions do not support the concept of rollback. If you queue a command with incorrect syntax into a transaction block, the block will remain open, but will automatically be discarded if you attempt to execute it with EXEC. Commands in a transaction that fail during execution (after EXEC is called) do not cause a transaction to be aborted or rolled back — Redis will still run all of the commands and consider the transaction to have completed successfully.

Redis transactions with ServiceStack.Redis

ServiceStack.Redis is a C# client library for interacting with Azure Cache for Redis.

Transactions in ServiceStack.Redis are created by calling IRedisClient.CreateTransaction(). The IRedisTransaction object that is returned can have multiple commands queued into it with QueueCommand(). Calling Commit() on the transaction object will execute it.

IRedisTransaction objects are disposable, and will automatically issue a DISCARD command if disposed before calling Commit(). This feature works well with C#'s using blocks: if you don't commit a transaction for any reason, you can trust that the transaction will automatically be discarded so that the Redis connection can continue to be used.

Create a transaction using C# and the ServiceStack.Redis client

Here's an example of using ServiceStack.Redis to create a transaction that can send a message that includes a picture URL and the contents of a text message.

public bool SendPictureAndText(string groupChatID, string text, string pictureURL)
    bool transactionResult = false;

    using (RedisClient redisClient = new RedisClient(redisConnectionString))
    using (var transaction = redisClient.CreateTransaction())
        //Add multiple operations to the transaction
        transaction.QueueCommand(c => c.PublishMessage(groupChatID, pictureURL));
        transaction.QueueCommand(c => c.PublishMessage(groupChatID, text));

        //Commit and get result of transaction
        transactionResult = transaction.Commit();

    return transactionResult;

Transactions ensure that multiple operations are executed together without operations from other clients in between them. You create a transaction using the MULTI command. With ServiceStack.Redis, you use the CreateTransaction() method.