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Amazon Boosts Cloud Performance with In-Memory Cache

Amazon Web Services on Tuesday launched a new Web caching service that lets customers deploy an in-memory cache for applications running in the cloud.

The company says its new ElastiCache service lets customers add an in-memory cache to their application architectures. That will enable them to boost the performance of applications by letting customers retrieve information from the in-memory cache rather than from slower disk-based databases.

ElastiCache is suited toward read-heavy workloads such as social networking, gaming and media sharing, Amazon said.

"Caching is a core part of so many Web applications today, but running your own caching infrastructure is time-consuming and rarely adds differentiated value for your business," said Raju Gulabani, AWS' vice president of database services, in a statement. "Until today, businesses have had little choice but to shoulder this responsibility themselves -- and indeed, many AWS customers have built and managed caching solutions on top of AWS for some time. Amazon ElastiCache answers one of the most highly requested functionalities of AWS customers by providing a managed, flexible and resilient caching service in the cloud."

ElastiCache supports Memcached, an open source distributed object memory system. Existing apps, tools and code that use Memcached can migrate their apps to ElastiCache with minimal effort, Amazon said.

"If you are already running Memcached on some Amazon EC2 instances, you can simply create a new cluster and point your existing code at the nodes in the cluster," said AWS evangelist Jeff Barr in a blog post. "If you are not using any caching, you'll need to spend some time examining your application architecture in order to figure out how to get started. Memcached client libraries exist for just about every popular programming language."

Via the AWS Management Console, customers can launch a Cache Cluster composed of a number of Cache Nodes. Customers can add or subtract nodes to scale the amount of memory tied to a cache cluster.

Customers can monitor performance characteristics associated with Cache Nodes via Amazon's CloudWatch.

Amazon said pricing is based on the size of the Cache Nodes used, with an entry price of $0.095 per hour for a small Cache Node (1.3 GB of memory). A large Cache Node (7.1 GB) costs $0.38 per hour and an extra-large Cache Node (14.6 GB) is $0.76 per hour. ElastiCache is initially available in Amazon's Virginia region and will be rolled out to its other regions in the coming months.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 08/23/2011 at 1:14 PM


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