XDEL key id [id ...]
Time complexity: O(1) for each single item to delete in the stream, regardless of the stream size.
Removes the specified entries from a stream, and returns the number of entries deleted. This number may be less than the number of IDs passed to the command in the case where some of the specified IDs do not exist in the stream.
Normally you may think at a Redis stream as an append-only data structure, however Redis streams are represented in memory, so we are also able to delete entries. This may be useful, for instance, in order to comply with certain privacy policies.
Understanding the low level details of entries deletion
Redis streams are represented in a way that makes them memory efficient: a radix tree is used in order to index macro-nodes that pack linearly tens of stream entries. Normally what happens when you delete an entry from a stream is that the entry is not really evicted, it just gets marked as deleted.
Eventually if all the entries in a macro-node are marked as deleted, the whole node is destroyed and the memory reclaimed. This means that if you delete a large amount of entries from a stream, for instance more than 50% of the entries appended to the stream, the memory usage per entry may increment, since what happens is that the stream will become fragmented. However the stream performance will remain the same.
In future versions of Redis it is possible that we'll trigger a node garbage collection in case a given macro-node reaches a given amount of deleted entries. Currently with the usage we anticipate for this data structure, it is not a good idea to add such complexity.
Integer reply: the number of entries actually deleted.
dragonfly> XADD mystream * a 1
dragonfly> XADD mystream * b 2
dragonfly> XADD mystream * c 3
dragonfly> XDEL mystream 1538561700640-0
dragonfly> XRANGE mystream - +
1) 1) 1538561698944-0
2) 1) "a"
2) 1) 1538561701744-0
2) 1) "c"