Thursday, April 03, 2014

Two tier cache strategy

Application level caching is still used when you want to achieve high availability and response time. There are various techniques of achieving this and below is the technique used by an application that I work with currently.
(Click to view large image)
It employs a 2 level cache where the first level (Persistent Cache - Not to be confused with cache which resides in a Database, both of these caches are in memory) is a long term cache (with 7 day expiry) serving end user requests while the second level (Transient Cache) is a short term cache (with 30 seconds expiry) which feeds the long term cache asynchronously.

Any object list/db result which needs to be cached will be cached in both the persistent and transient caches. The fact that the end user is fully isolated not only from the DB query, but also from the cache refresh mechanisms works beautifully to make the application very responsive irrespective of the inherit inefficiencies of an integrated Enterprise Environment.

The probability of stale data is quite low due to the high refresh rate of the transient cache as well as the nature of the application usage, which mostly comprises of reading vast lists of data (cached) and then operating on one of them (not cached)

The choice of cache manager is Microsoft Application Block which may be questioned. However given the legacy nature of the application and the performance of the cache over the past few years, it's an interesting question whether it should be changed. In any case I'm very interested to figure out alternatives given our application stack being ASP.Net MVC / Oracle.
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