State management overview

Overview of the state management API building block

Your application can use Dapr’s state management API to save, read, and query key/value pairs in the supported state stores. Using a state store component, you can build stateful, long running applications that save and retrieve their state (like a shopping cart or a game’s session state). For example, in the diagram below:

  • Use HTTP POST to save or query key/value pairs.
  • Use HTTP GET to read a specific key and have its value returned.

Features

With state management, your application can leverage features that are typically complicated and error-prone to build, including:

  • Setting the choices on concurrency control and data consistency.
  • Performing bulk update operations CRUD including multiple transactional operations.
  • Querying and filtering the key/value data.

These are the features available as part of the state management API:

Pluggable state stores

Dapr data stores are modeled as components, which can be swapped out without any changes to your service code. See supported state stores to see the list.

Configurable state store behaviors

With Dapr, you can include additional metadata in a state operation request that describes how you expect the request to be handled. You can attach:

  • Concurrency requirements
  • Consistency requirements

By default, your application should assume a data store is eventually consistent and uses a last-write-wins concurrency pattern.

Not all stores are created equal. To ensure your application’s portability, you can query the metadata capabilities of the store and make your code adaptive to different store capabilities.

Concurrency

Dapr supports Optimistic Concurrency Control (OCC) using ETags. When a state value is requested, Dapr always attaches an ETag property to the returned state. When the user code:

  • Updates a state, it’s expected to attach the ETag through the request body.
  • Deletes a state, it’s expected to attach the ETag through the If-Match header.

The write operation succeeds when the provided ETag matches the ETag in the state store.

Why Dapr chooses optimistic concurrency control (OCC)

Data update conflicts are rare in many applications, since clients are naturally partitioned by business contexts to operate on different data. However, if your application chooses to use ETags, mismatched ETags may cause a request rejection. It’s recommended you use a retry policy in your code to compensate for conflicts when using ETags.

If your application omits ETags in writing requests, Dapr skips ETag checks while handling the requests. This enables the last-write-wins pattern, compared to the first-write-wins pattern with ETags.

Read the API reference to learn how to set concurrency options.

Consistency

Dapr supports both strong consistency and eventual consistency, with eventual consistency as the default behavior.

  • Strong consistency: Dapr waits for all replicas (or designated quorums) to acknowledge before it acknowledges a write request.
  • Eventual consistency: Dapr returns as soon as the write request is accepted by the underlying data store, even if this is a single replica.

Read the API reference to learn how to set consistency options.

Setting content type

State store components may maintain and manipulate data differently, depending on the content type. Dapr supports passing content type in state management API as part of request metadata.

Setting the content type is optional, and the component decides whether to make use of it. Dapr only provides the means of passing this information to the component.

  • With the HTTP API: Set content type via URL query parameter metadata.contentType. For example, http://localhost:3500/v1.0/state/store?metadata.contentType=application/json.
  • With the gRPC API: Set content type by adding key/value pair "contentType" : <content type> to the request metadata.

Multiple operations

Dapr supports two types of multi-read or multi-write operations: bulk or transactional. Read the API reference to learn how use bulk and multi options.

Bulk read operations

You can group multiple read requests into a bulk (or batch) operation. In the bulk operation, Dapr submits the read requests as individual requests to the underlying data store, and returns them as a single result.

Transactional operations

You can group write, update, and delete operations into a request, which are then handled as an atomic transaction. The request will succeed or fail as a transactional set of operations.

Actor state

Transactional state stores can be used to store actor state. To specify which state store to use for actors, specify value of property actorStateStore as true in the state store component’s metadata section. Actors state is stored with a specific scheme in transactional state stores, allowing for consistent querying. Only a single state store component can be used as the state store for all actors. Read the state API reference and the actors API reference to learn more about state stores for actors.

State encryption

Dapr supports automatic client encryption of application state with support for key rotations. This is supported on all Dapr state stores. For more info, read the How-To: Encrypt application state topic.

Shared state between applications

Different applications’ needs vary when it comes to sharing state. In one scenario, you may want to encapsulate all state within a given application and have Dapr manage the access for you. In another scenario, you may want two applications working on the same state to get and save the same keys.

Dapr enables states to be:

  • Isolated to an application.
  • Shared in a state store between applications.
  • Shared between multiple applications across different state stores.

For more details read How-To: Share state between applications,

Querying state

There are two ways to query the state:

  • Using the state management query API provided in Dapr runtime.
  • Querying state store directly with the store’s native SDK.

Query API

Using the optional state management query API, you can query the key/value data saved in state stores, regardless of underlying database or storage technology. With the state management query API, you can filter, sort, and paginate the key/value data. For more details read How-To: Query state.

Querying state store directly

Dapr saves and retrieves state values without any transformation. You can query and aggregate state directly from the underlying state store. For example, to get all state keys associated with an application ID “myApp” in Redis, use:

KEYS "myApp*"
Querying actor state

If the data store supports SQL queries, you can query an actor’s state using SQL queries. For example:

SELECT * FROM StateTable WHERE Id='<app-id>||<actor-type>||<actor-id>||<key>'

You can also avoid the common turn-based concurrency limitations of actor frameworks by performing aggregate queries across actor instances. For example, to calculate the average temperature of all thermometer actors, use:

SELECT AVG(value) FROM StateTable WHERE Id LIKE '<app-id>||<thermometer>||*||temperature'

State Time-to-Live (TTL)

Dapr enables per state set request time-to-live (TTL). This means that applications can set time-to-live per state stored, and these states cannot be retrieved after expiration.

State management API

The state management API can be found in the state management API reference, which describes how to retrieve, save, delete, and query state values by providing keys.

Try out state management

Quickstarts and tutorials

Want to put the Dapr state management API to the test? Walk through the following quickstart and tutorials to see state management in action:

Quickstart/tutorial Description
State management quickstart Create stateful applications using the state management API.
Hello World Recommended
Demonstrates how to run Dapr locally. Highlights service invocation and state management.
Hello World Kubernetes Recommended
Demonstrates how to run Dapr in Kubernetes. Highlights service invocation and state management.

Start using state management directly in your app

Want to skip the quickstarts? Not a problem. You can try out the state management building block directly in your application. After Dapr is installed, you can begin using the state management API starting with the state management how-to guide.

Next steps