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Amazon Entices Cloud-Focused Web App Developers With ElastiCache


Amazon Web Services (AWS) has introduced Amazon ElastiCache, a new web service focused on operating web applications running in the company's own AWS cloud.

The new service proposes to improve the performance of cloud-based web apps by enabling users to retrieve information from a fast, managed, in-memory caching system in the cloud, instead of relying on slower disk-based databases.

Amazon insists that ElastiCache is compliant with Memcached, a widely adopted memory object caching system, so code, applications, and tools that developers use today with their existing Memcached environments work with the service with few migration woes.

Technical Note: According to memcached.org — "Memcached is a high-performance, distributed memory object caching system, generic in nature, but originally intended for use in speeding up dynamic web applications by alleviating database load. You can think of it as a short-term memory for your applications. Memcached allows you to take memory from parts of your system where you have more than you need and make it accessible to areas where you have less than you need."

The new Amazon service also simplifies and offloads the management, monitoring, and operation of in-memory cache environments, enabling developers to focus their engineering resources on the differentiating parts of their applications, rather than their back-end mechanical needs.

Amazon says that ElastiCache is ideal for read-heavy workloads such as social networking, gaming, and media sharing sites or compute intensive workloads such as recommendation engines. "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, VP of database services, Amazon Web Services.

"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," added Gulabani.

Using Amazon ElastiCache, developers can add an in-memory cache to their application architecture in a matter of minutes. With a few clicks of the AWS Management Console, users can launch a Cache Cluster consisting of a collection of Cache Nodes, each running Memcached software.

Customers can scale the amount of memory associated with a Cache Cluster in minutes by adding or deleting Cache Nodes to meet the demands of changing workloads. In addition, Amazon ElastiCache automatically detects and replaces failed Cache Nodes, providing a resilient system that mitigates the risk of overloaded databases, which slow website and application load times. Through integration with Amazon CloudWatch, Amazon ElastiCache provides visibility into key performance metrics associated with Cache Nodes.


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