At the Forge - Memcached
Memcached is an important part of nearly any Web application's strategy for scaling. It can reduce the time it takes to access certain types of information dramatically, resulting in faster response times for users and freeing up the relational database server for other jobs. Deciding exactly which objects can and should be stored in memcached and determining how long they should be kept in the cache before expiring are issues that must be addressed for each individual application.
Next month, I'll explain how memcached support has been integrated into Ruby on Rails, making it quite easy to take advantage of this technology in your own applications—and, dare I say it, help your applications become truly scalable.
The home page for memcached is at www.danga.com/memcached. This site contains links to software (server and client), documentation and articles about memcached.
The Ruby client I used is called memcache-client, and it is available via RubyForge, at rubyforge.org/projects/seattlerb. This page is for all projects run by Seattle.rb, including memcache-client.
I haven't had a chance to read or review it, but there is a book about memcached, unsurprisingly called Using memcached, written by Josef Finsel and published by the Pragmatic Programmers as a PDF-only book in its “Friday” series.
Reuven M. Lerner, a longtime Web/database developer and consultant, is a PhD candidate in learning sciences at Northwestern University, studying on-line learning communities. He recently returned (with his wife and three children) to their home in Modi'in, Israel, after four years in the Chicago area.
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