Metarank supports two possible persistence modes for storing features:

  • Memory: ephemeral; all state is in RAM.

  • Redis: state persisted in remote Redis.

Persistence mode is configured by the optional state section in the configuration file. By default, if the section is not defined, Metarank uses memory persistence.

See also training click-through persistence configuration.

Memory persistence

Memory persistence is no persistence at all: the complete Metarank state is stored only in RAM, is ephemeral, and will be entirely lost on each service restart.

Nevertheless, memory persistence can be useful:

  • While testing Metarank locally in a standalone mode, as it has no external service dependencies.

  • As a staging env to validate configuration changes before going to production.

To configure memory persistence, use the type: memory option:

  type: memory

Redis persistence

Metarank can use Redis 6+ as a persistence method. To enable it, use the following config file snippet:

  type: redis
  host: localhost
  port: 6379
  format: binary # optional, default=binary, possible values: json, binary

  cache:           # optional
    maxSize: 1024  # size of in-memory client-side cache for hot keys, optional, default=1024
    ttl: 1h        # how long should key-values should be cached, optional, default=1h
    clientTracking: true # should we subscribe for CLIENT TRACKING invalidation events

  pipeline:         # optional
    maxSize: 128    # batch write buffer size, optional, default=128
    flushPeriod: 1s # buffer flush interval, optional, default=1s
    enabled: true   # toggle pipelining, optional, default=true

  auth:                  # optional
    user: <username>     # optional when Redis ACL is disabled
    password: <password> # required if Redis server is run with requirepass argument
  tls:                   # optional, defaults to disabled
    enabled: true        # optional, defaults to false
    ca: <path/to/ca.crt> # optional path to the CA used to generate the cert, defaults to the default keychain
    verify: full         # optional, default=full, possible values: full, ca, off
    # full - verify both certificate and hostname
    # ca   - verify only certificate
    # off  - skip verification

  timeout:      # optional, defaults to 1s for all sub-timeouts
    connect: 1s # optional, defaults to 1s
    socket: 1s  # optional, defaults to 1s
    command: 1s # optional, defaults to 1s
  db: # optional, defaults to [0,1,2,3]: which redis dbs to use for persistence 
    state: 0  # can be used to co-locate multiple metarank instances
    values: 1 # on a single redis server
    rankings: 2
    models: 3

Redis persistence is sensitive to network latencies (as it needs to perform a couple of round-trips on each event), hence Metarank leverages a couple of Redis performance optimization strategies:

  • Pipelining: all write operations are batched together and sent all at once

  • Client-side caching: read cache for hot keys with server-assisted invalidation.

A note on optional cache & pipelining related settings:

  • Metarank has a separate cache per underlying feature type (like scalar/counter/map/etc, 10 total), so cache.maxSize is set per cache type, so keep in mind an implicit multiplication: default value 1024 in reality means 10240.

  • cache.ttl defines expiration interval after last read, so hot features may be cached almost indefinitely. The problem of stale cache values is solved with server-assisted invalidation: Redis server sends a notification to Metarank when key value was changed by someone else.

  • pipeline.maxSize going above 128 is usually giving no benefit on low latencies (e.g. when Redis server is located in the same datacenter/AZ)

  • pipeline.flushPeriod controls the level of "eventualness" in the overall eventual consistency. With values larger than 10 seconds, a second Metarank instance may not see write buffered in a first instance.

Disk persistence

Metarank has also an experimental option of using disk persistence instead of Redis. The main drawback of such an approach is that the deployment becomes stateful and you need to maintain a disk persistence.

Metarank supports two disk backends for file-based persistence:

  • MapDB: uses a mmap-based storage for data, works well for smaller datasets.

  • RocksDB: uses an LSM-tree storage, suits for large datasets.

The file persistence configured in the following way:

  type: file
  path: /path/to/dir # required
  format: binary # optional, default=binary, possible values: json, binary
  backend: # optional, default mapdb
    type: rocksdb # required, values: rocksdb, mapdb

RocksDB options

RocksDB can be configured by defining the following values in the config file:

  type: file
  path: /path/to/dir # required
  backend: # optional, default mapdb
    type: rocksdb
    lruCacheSizeMb: 1024000000 # LRU cache size in bytes, optional, default 1Gb
    blockSize: 8192 # Block size in bytes, optional, default 8kb

A rule of thumb defining these parameters:

  • higher LRU cache size leads to better read throughput at the cost of extra memory usage. If not sure, set it to 50% of your RAM.

  • blockSize defines a size of page RocksDB reads from disk. In a perfect world it should match your actual disk block size: For cloud-attached disks like AWS EBS it should be 16kb, for local drives 1-2kb.

MapDB options

MapDB can be configured in the following way:

  type: file
  path: /path/to/dir # required
  backend: # optional, default mapdb
    type: mapdb
    mmap: true # should MapDB use mmap or raw disk reads for data access? Optional, default true.
    maxNodeSize: 16 # what is the node size for internal db index. Optional, default 16. 

TLS Support

Metarank supports connecting to Redis using TLS for transport encryption, but there is no way to autodetect the type of connection.

To connect to a TLS-enabled Redis server with self-signed certificate, you need to specify the CA used to sign the certificate (for self-signed certs it will be the server certificate itself):

enabled: true
ca: /tls/key.crt

To connect to a TLS-enabled Redis server with a certificate generated with default CA (for example, AWS ElastiCache Redis), then you don't need to specify any custom CA:

enabled: true

In a case when you have cert trust issues connecting to a TLS-enabled redis, you can downgrade the verification level. Supported levels are:

  • full - verify both certificate and hostname

  • ca - verify only the certificate

  • off - skip verification, trust all

An example:

enabled: true
verify: off


auth.user and auth.password can control the credentials used to connect to Redis. As hardcoding the credentials into the config file is not usually considered secure, you can supply the credentials from environment variables:

  • METARANK_REDIS_USER - only needed when Redis ACL is enabled.

  • METARANK_REDIS_PASSWORD - the pre-shared password used to connect to the Redis instance.

Metarank's Helm chart has a placeholder for the env variables passed inside the container inside Kubernetes. Usage example:

        name: redis-secret
        key: REDIS_PASSWORD

State encoding formats

Metarank Redis persistence supports json and binary encoding formats for data stored in Redis:

  • json: focused on readability and debugging simplicity.

  • binary: low-overhead binary encoding format, with better performance and smaller memory footprint.

binary format on typical datasets (like RankLens) is ~2x faster and takes ~4x less RAM. We recommend it for larger datasets, when memory usage and associated costs are an important factor.

Redis support limitations

  • Metarank requires Redis 6+ due to a lack of client-side caching support in 5.x

    • you can disable client caching altogether (for example, for managed Redis-compatible engines, like GCP Memorystore Redis) with cache.maxSize: 0.

    • For GCP Memorystore Redis, you can also set state.cache.clientTracking: false to disable the CLIENT TRACKING cache eviction support: GCP Memstore has client-side caching disabled even on 7.x Redis cluster.

  • Redis Cluster is not yet supported; see ticket 568 for the progress.

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