Product overview > Cache > Caching architecture > Caching topology

Distributed cache

WebSphere eXtreme Scale is most often used as a shared cache, to provide transactional access to data to multiple components where a traditional database would otherwise be used. The shared cache eliminates the need configure a database.

Coherency of cache

The cache is coherent because all of the clients see the same data in the cache. Each piece of data is stored on exactly one server in the cache, preventing wasteful copies of records that could potentially contain different versions of the data. A coherent cache can also hold more data as more servers are added to the data grid, and scales linearly as the grid grows in size. Because clients access data from this data grid with remote procedural calls, it can also be known as a remote cache (or far cache). Through data partitioning, each process holds a unique subset of the total data set. Larger data grids can both hold more data and service more requests for that data. Coherency also eliminates the need to push invalidation data around the grid because there is no stale data. The coherent cache only holds the latest copy of each piece of data.

If you are running a WAS environment, the TranPropListener plug-in is also available. The TranPropListener plug-in uses the high availability component (HA Manager) of WAS to propagate the changes to each peer ObjectGrid cache instance.

Figure 1. Distributed cache

Distributed cache

Near cache

Clients can optionally have a local, in-line cache when eXtreme Scale is used in a distributed topology. This optional cache is called a near cache, an independent ObjectGrid on each client, serving as a cache for the remote, server-side cache. The near cache is enabled by default when locking is configured as optimistic or none and cannot be used when configured as pessimistic.

Figure 2. Near cache

Near cache

A near cache is very fast because it provides in-memory access to a subset of the entire cached data set that is stored remotely in the eXtreme Scale servers. The near cache is not partitioned and contains data from any of the remote eXtreme Scale partitions.WebSphere eXtreme Scale can have up to three cache tiers as follows.

  1. The transaction tier cache contains all changes for a single transaction. The transaction cache contains a working copy of the data until the transaction is committed. When a client transaction requests data from an ObjectMap, the transaction is checked first

  2. The near cache in the client tier contains a subset of the data from the server tier. When the transaction tier does not have the data, the data is fetched from the client tier, if available and inserted into the transaction cache

  3. The data grid in the server tier contains the majority of the data and is shared among all clients. The server tier can be partitioned, which allows a large amount of data to be cached. When the client near cache does not have the data, it is fetched from the server tier and inserted into the client cache. The server tier can also have a Loader plug-in. When the grid does not have the requested data, the Loader is invoked and the resulting data is inserted from the backend data store into the grid.

To disable the near cache, set the numberOfBuckets attribute to 0 in the client override eXtreme Scale descriptor configuration. See the topic on map entry locking for details on eXtreme Scale lock strategies. The near cache can also be configured to have a separate eviction policy and different plug-ins using a client override eXtreme Scale descriptor configuration.



When to use

Use when response time is important and stale data can be tolerated.

Parent topic:

Cache topology: In-memory and distributed caching

Related concepts

Local in-memory cache

Peer-replicated local cache

Embedded cache

Multi-master data grid replication topologies