Key value cache

14978 2019-01-06 23:24

KV cache is like a giant hash map and used to reduce the latency of data access, typically by

  1. Putting data from slow and cheap media to fast and expensive ones.
  2. Indexing from tree-based data structures of O(log n) to hash-based ones of O(1) to read and write

There are various cache policies like read-through/write-through(or write-back), and cache-aside. By and large, Internet services have a read to write ratio of 100:1 to 1000:1, so we usually optimize for read.

In distributed systems, we choose those policies according to the business requirements and contexts, under the guidance of CAP theorem.

Regular Patterns

  • Read
    • Read-through: the clients read data from the database via the cache layer. The cache returns when the read hits the cache; otherwise, it fetches data from the database, caches it, and then return the vale.
  • Write
    • Write-through: clients write to the cache and the cache updates the database. The cache returns when it finishes the database write.
    • Write-behind / write-back: clients write to the cache, and the cache returns immediately. Behind the cache write, the cache asynchronously writes to the database.
    • Write-around: clients write to the database directly, around the cache.

Cache-aside pattern

When a cache does not support native read-through and write-through operations, and the resource demand is unpredictable, we use this cache-aside pattern.

There are still chances for dirty cache in this pattern. It happens when these two cases are met in a racing condition:

  1. read database and update cache
  2. update database and delete cache

Where to put the cache?

  • client-side
  • distinct layer
  • server-side

What if data volume reaches the cache capacity? Use cache replacement policies

  • LRU(Least Recently Used): evict the most recently used entries and keep the most recently used ones.
  • LFU(Least Frequently Used): evict the most frequently used entries and keep the most frequently used ones.
  • ARC(Adaptive replacement cache): it has a better performance than LRU. It is achieved by keeping both the most frequently and frequently used entries, as well as a history for eviction. (Keeping MRU+MFU+eviction history.)

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