Nebulex is an in-process and distributed caching framework with a set of useful and powerful features such as:

- Inspired by Ecto; simple and fluent API, flexible and pluggable architecture (based on adapters).

- Built-in adapters; supporting local, distributed and multi-level caching.

- Support for different distributed caching topologies, such as: Partitioned, Near, Replicated, etc.

- Different eviction mechanisms, such as: time-based eviction through the expiry time property on the cached objects, multi-queue or generational caching (built-in local cache), etc.

- Object versioning (through the :version property); enabling Optimistic offline locks

- Pre/Post execution hooks

- Transactions and key-locking

Monthly Downloads: 133,738
Programming language: Elixir
License: MIT License
Tags: Caching     Frameworks     ETS     Elixir    
Latest version: v2.3.2

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Nebulex 🌌

In-memory and distributed caching toolkit for Elixir.

CI Coverage Status Inline docs Hex Version Docs [License](LICENSE)

Nebulex provides support for transparently adding caching into an existing Elixir application. Similar to Ecto, the caching abstraction allows consistent use of various caching solutions with minimal impact on the code.

Nebulex cache abstraction shields developers from directly dealing with the underlying caching implementations, such as Redis, Memcached, or even other Elixir cache implementations like Cachex. Additionally, it provides totally out-of-box features such as cache usage patterns, declarative annotation-based caching, and distributed cache topologies, among others.

See the getting started guide and the online documentation for more information.


You need to add nebulex as a dependency to your mix.exs file. However, in the case you want to use an external (a non built-in adapter) cache adapter, you also have to add the proper dependency to your mix.exs file.

The supported caches and their adapters are:

Cache Nebulex Adapter Dependency
Generational Local Cache Nebulex.Adapters.Local Built-In
Partitioned Nebulex.Adapters.Partitioned Built-In
Replicated Nebulex.Adapters.Replicated Built-In
Multilevel Nebulex.Adapters.Multilevel Built-In
Nil (special adapter that disables the cache) Nebulex.Adapters.Nil Built-In
Cachex Nebulex.Adapters.Cachex nebulex_adapters_cachex
Redis NebulexRedisAdapter nebulex_redis_adapter

For example, if you want to use a built-in cache, add to your mix.exs file:

def deps do
    {:nebulex, "~> 2.3"},
    {:shards, "~> 1.0"},     #=> When using :shards as backend
    {:decorator, "~> 1.4"},  #=> When using Caching Annotations
    {:telemetry, "~> 1.0"}   #=> When using the Telemetry events (Nebulex stats)

In order to give more flexibility and fetch only needed dependencies, Nebulex makes all dependencies optional. For example:

  • For intensive workloads, you may want to use :shards as the backend for the local adapter and having partitioned tables. In such a case, you have to add :shards to the dependency list.

  • For enabling the usage of declarative annotation-based caching via decorators, you have to add :decorator to the dependency list.

  • For enabling Telemetry events to be dispatched when using Nebulex, you have to add :telemetry to the dependency list. See telemetry guide.

  • If you want to use an external adapter (e.g: Cachex or Redis adapter), you have to add the adapter dependency too.

Then run mix deps.get in your shell to fetch the dependencies. If you want to use another cache adapter, just choose the proper dependency from the table above.

Finally, in the cache definition, you will need to specify the adapter: respective to the chosen dependency. For the local built-in cache it is:

defmodule MyApp.Cache do
  use Nebulex.Cache,
    otp_app: :my_app,
    adapter: Nebulex.Adapters.Local

Quickstart example

Assuming you are using Ecto and you want to use declarative caching:

# In the config/config.exs file
config :my_app, MyApp.PartitionedCache,
  primary: [
    gc_interval: :timer.hours(12),
    backend: :shards,
    partitions: 2

# Defining a Cache with a partitioned topology
defmodule MyApp.PartitionedCache do
  use Nebulex.Cache,
    otp_app: :my_app,
    adapter: Nebulex.Adapters.Partitioned,
    primary_storage_adapter: Nebulex.Adapters.Local

# Some Ecto schema
defmodule MyApp.Accounts.User do
  use Ecto.Schema

  schema "users" do
    field(:username, :string)
    field(:password, :string)
    field(:role, :string)

  def changeset(user, attrs) do
    |> cast(attrs, [:username, :password, :role])
    |> validate_required([:username, :password, :role])

# The Accounts context
defmodule MyApp.Accounts do
  use Nebulex.Caching

  alias MyApp.Accounts.User
  alias MyApp.PartitionedCache, as: Cache
  alias MyApp.Repo

  @ttl :timer.hours(1)

  @decorate cacheable(cache: Cache, key: {User, id}, opts: [ttl: @ttl])
  def get_user!(id) do
    Repo.get!(User, id)

  @decorate cacheable(cache: Cache, key: {User, username}, opts: [ttl: @ttl])
  def get_user_by_username(username) do
    Repo.get_by(User, [username: username])

  @decorate cache_put(
              cache: Cache,
              keys: [{User, user.id}, {User, user.username}],
              match: &match_update/1,
              opts: [ttl: @ttl]
  def update_user(%User{} = user, attrs) do
    |> User.changeset(attrs)
    |> Repo.update()

  @decorate cache_evict(
              cache: Cache,
              keys: [{User, user.id}, {User, user.username}]
  def delete_user(%User{} = user) do

  def create_user(attrs \\ %{}) do
    |> User.changeset(attrs)
    |> Repo.insert()

  defp match_update({:ok, value}), do: {true, value}
  defp match_update({:error, _}), do: false

See more Nebulex examples.

Important links


Testing by default spawns nodes internally for distributed tests. To run tests that do not require clustering, exclude the clustered tag:

$ mix test --exclude clustered

If you have issues running the clustered tests try running:

$ epmd -daemon

before running the tests.


Nebulex provides a set of basic benchmark tests using the library benchee, and they are located within the directory [benchmarks](./benchmarks).

To run a benchmark test you have to run:

$ MIX_ENV=test mix run benchmarks/{BENCH_TEST_FILE}

Where BENCH_TEST_FILE can be any of:

  • local_with_ets_bench.exs: benchmark for the local adapter using :ets backend.
  • local_with_shards_bench.exs: benchmark for the local adapter using :shards backend.
  • partitioned_bench.exs: benchmark for the partitioned adapter.

For example, for running the benchmark for the local adapter using :shards backend:

$ MIX_ENV=test mix run benchmarks/local_with_shards_bench.exs

Additionally, you can also run performance tests using :basho_bench. See nebulex_bench example for more information.


Contributions to Nebulex are very welcome and appreciated!

Use the issue tracker for bug reports or feature requests. Open a pull request when you are ready to contribute.

When submitting a pull request you should not update the [CHANGELOG.md](CHANGELOG.md), and also make sure you test your changes thoroughly, include unit tests alongside new or changed code.

Before to submit a PR it is highly recommended to run mix check and ensure all checks run successfully.

Copyright and License

Copyright (c) 2017, Carlos Bolaños.

Nebulex source code is licensed under the [MIT License](LICENSE).

*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the Nebulex README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.