Running Multiple Redis Instances

Using systemd to Spawn Multiple Copies of a Service

Mauro Morales
Apr 25, 2016 · 3 min read

This article will teach you how to run one or more Redis instances on a Linux server using systemd to spawn copies of a service.

Installing Redis

The easiest way to install Redis in Linux is with your distributions package manager. Here is how you would do it on openSUSE:

sudo zypper install redis

In case your distribution doesn’t provide a Redis package, you can always follow these instructions to compile it from scratch.

Configuring a Redis instance

Once installed you will need to create a configuration file for each instance of the service you want to run.

1. Make a copy of the example/default file that is provided by the package.

cd /etc/redis/
cp default.conf.example my_app.conf

2. Change the ownership of the newly created configuration file to user “root” and group“redis”.

chown root.redis my_app.conf

3. Edit “my_app.conf”.

Add a “pidfile”, a “logfile” and a “dir”.

pidfile /var/run/redis/
logfile /var/log/redis/my_app.log
dir /var/lib/redis/my_app/

Make sure the “daemonize” option is set to “no” (this is the default value).

daemonize no

Define a “port” number.

port 6379

4. Save the configuration file.

5. Create the database directory at the location given in the configuration file.

install -d -o redis -g redis -m 0750 /var/lib/redis/my_app

Repeat the steps in Configure a Redis instance for every instance you want to set up. In my case I set up a second instance called “my_other_app”

├── default.conf.example
├── my_app.conf
└── my_other_app.conf

Adding Units to systemd for the Redis service

In order for systemd to know how to enable and start each instance individually you will need to add a service unit inside the system configuration directory located at “/etc/systemd/system”. For convenience you might also want to start/stop all instances at once. For that you will need to add a target unit.

1. Create the service unit file “redis@.service” with the following contents:

ExecStart=/usr/sbin/redis-server /etc/redis/%i.conf

2. Create the target unit file “” with the following contents:

Description=Redis target allowing to start/stop all redis@.service instances at once

Interacting with Redis

If everything went as expected you should be able to interact with the individual instances:

systemctl start redis@my_app
systemctl enable redis@my_other_app

And also with all the instances at the same time:

systemctl restart
systemctl stop


If things didn’t go as expected and you cannot start the instance make sure to check the instance’s status:

systemctl status redis@my_app

If the issue doesn’t show up there then check systemd’s journal:

journalctl -u redis@my_app

For example if you forgot to give the right permissions to the configuration file you’d see something like this inside the journal:

Apr 23 10:02:53 mxps redis-server[26966]: 26966:C 23 Apr 10:02:53.917 # Fatal error, can’t open config file ‘/etc/redis/my_app.conf’


  • Thanks to the openSUSE Redis package maintainers for creating such a nice package that you can learn from it.
  • The book How Linux Works provided the details on how systemd instances work.

If you found this article useful please give it some ❤ and if you have any questions or feedback please leave a comment.

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