A simple, flexible scheduler for pools of distributed workers.

pip install redbike==0.13.1



A simple, flexible scheduler for pools of distributed workers.

Redbike is a helpful building block with intentionally limited features. It's easy to schedule and distribute work however you like.

Redbike is available from the Python Package Index:

$ pip install redbike

High Level

Redbike has a simple design, centered around a few data structures in Redis.

  • A registry of job schedules (a hash)
  • A registry of job statuses (another hash) format: "EVENT:TIMESTAMP"
  • A timeline of scheduled work (a sorted set scored by timestamp of next run)
  • Any number of job queues (lists)
  • A single dispatcher process to enqueue work that is due on the timeline
  • Expiring keys to keep track of jobs that have started running and not yet returned or timed out.
  • Any number of worker processes


$ redbike --config=/etc/redbike.conf ...

Redbike needs to know the worker class, the prefix to use for all of its keys and the location of the time file (see below). Also it needs to know how to connect to Redis. By default it looks in .redbike.conf but you can specify any file.

Connection information is found in a [redbike-redis] stanza and mirrors the arguments of py-redis' StrictRedis class. The rest of the settings are found in a [redbike] stanza. Other information in the config file is ignored, so you can use a shared config as long as it has something like this in it:

prefix: myapp
worker: somepackage.somemodule:MyWorkerClass('initstring')
timefile: /var/log/myapp.redbike.timefile

In Python:

bike = Redbike(MyWorkerClass('initstring'),

Entering Jobs

$ redbike set <JOBID> <SCHEDULE> [--after=<TIMESTAMP>]

To run jobs in redbike just enter a JOBID and schedule. Schedules can be in iCal RRULE format or one of the following special values:

  • NOW - run once right away
  • AT:TIMESTAMP - run once at the specified time
  • CONTINUE - just re-queue right away
  • STOP - don't run anymore

If --after is provided, it will override the timefile (see below) and when (or if) to schedule each job will be based on this value.

The set operation does not wait for the dispatcher, and enters the job directly into the timeline or work queue where appropriate.

In Python:

bike.set('JOB1:A', 'NOW')

Dispatch and the Time File

$ redbike dispatch [<WORKER>] [--schedules=<SCHEDULESCSV> [--after=<TIMESTAMP>]]

Dispatch keeps checking the timeline and places jobs into work queues when they are due.

The dispatcher continually updates the contents of the timefile with the current timestamp as it runs. When starting dispatch or setting schedules, the time in the timefile is used to determine when and if the next run of the job should occur. When no --after argument is provided and no timefile is found, the default value is the current time.

A CSV of JOBID,SHEDULE pairs can also be provided. These schedules will be set before dispatch begins.

Consuming Work

$ redbike work [<WORKER>]

Redbike consumes jobs from the work queues using the worker class's queue_names() method and passes them to the worker's work() method. If StopWork is raised, the job's schedule is set to STOP. If UnsetJob is raised, the job will be unset (removed from the rotation). If any other exception is raised it is logged and the job is not rescheduled. If the job takes longer than the timeout it is also not rescheduled. Otherwise the job's schedule is checked and it returns to the queue or timeline if appropriate.

Writing a Worker

Redbike includes a simple worker class that is flexible enough for many cases. Just override its work() method.

# mymodule.py
from redbike import RoundRobin, StopWork

class Worker(RoundRobin):

    def work(self, jobid):
        should_stop = do_something(jobid)
        if should_stop:
            raise StopWork("Don't run this job any more!")

This class chooses work queues based on the portion of the JOBID following the last :. It is initialized with a colon separated string specifying the queues to work and the order in which to work them. If, for instance, you want to put jobs into two queues and have queue "A" worked twice as often as queue "B", this would do the trick:

$ redbike set job1:A CONTINUE
$ redbike set job2:B CONTINUE
$ redbike work mymodule:Work("A:A:B")


Workers with CONTINUE schedules may sometimes wish to introduce a backoff. The worker's work() method may return an interger value of backoff seconds and the job will be entered into the timeline to be enqueued for work again after the specified backoff has elapsed.

Outstanding Jobs

When workers consume jobs from the queue, they set a key with an expiration and unique value to mark the occasion. When a worker completes normally, it removes that key and reschedules. If that key no longer exists or the value is changed, it is considered timed-out it will not reschedule. This behavior prevents the worker from stepping on schedule changes (typically made by set() and unset()) that may have happened while the job was being worked.


Timeouts can be controlled by your worker class. Just define a timeout(self, queue_name) and return an integer for timeout in seconds or None to use the default timeout. The default default timeout is 10 seconds. You can also override this in your [redbike] config stanza with a default-timeout setting.

You should set a timeout that your jobs wont overrun unless it is ok for them to overlap.


$ redbike control HALT

Both dispatcher and worker processes watch for a control key to be set to HALT in Redis and stop immediately after completing their current task.

Failure Modes

Redbike does its best to fail gracefully but managing the failure modes of your workload is out of scope. How to approach it depends on how you feel about things like the same scheduled instance of a job getting worked twice or getting missed when things crash and burn. That said, there are a few commands that can help.

Jobs which may have fallen out of circulation and need to be reset can be found by time of their last status.

$ redbike statuses [--before=<TIMESTAMP>]

Output is in CSV format.

Statuses are set throughout the lifecycle of jobs in Redbike.

  • TML - entered into the timeline
  • ENQ - entered into a work queue
  • BAD - failed to schedule due to a bad RRULE
  • WRK - picked up by a worker
  • STP - stopped when the worked raise StopWork
  • DIE - worker raised an unexpected exception

To dump the schedules of all the jobs:

$ redbike schedules

Here again, output is in CSV format.

Finally, to spy on an individual job:

$ redbike tell <JOBID>

This will output a json representation like this:

  "status": "ENQ:1381720578", 
  "next_run": null, 
  "schedule": "CONTINUE"

Removing Unwanted Jobs

Once a job is no longer relevant and you want to take it out of rotation:

$ redbike unset <JOBID>

The job will complete if it is already running, but will otherwise be removed and not worked.