Amazon Gives Cloud Apps A Boost With In-Memory Caching

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Dubbed Amazon ElastiCache, AWS said Web apps get a performance boost by letting customers retrieve information from a fast, managed, in-memory caching system in the cloud, instead of relying on slower disk-based databases.

"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," Raju Gulabani, vice president of database services at Amazon Web Services, said in a statement.

Amazon ElastiCache complies with Memcached, a memory object caching system, meaning code, applications and tools that developers use with their existing Memcached environments will work with ElastiCache to ease migration.

According to Amazon, the ElastiCache cloud service also offloads the management, monitoring and operation of in-memory cache environments to free up customers to focus their engineering resources on the differentiating parts of their cloud applications. Amazon added that ElastiCache is ideal for read-heavy workloads like social networking, gaming and media sharing sites or compute intensive workloads like recommendation engines.

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"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," Gulabani added. "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 lets users add in-memory caching to their app architecture in minutes; with a few clicks in the AWS Management Console users can launch a Cache Customer consisting of a collection of Cache Nodes, each of which runs Memcached software. Then, users can scale the amount of memory associated with a Cache Cluster by adding or deleting Cache Nodes to meet the demands of workloads. Additionally, Amazon ElastiCache can automatically detect and replace failed Cache Nodes for a resilient system that mitigates the risk of overloaded databases, which can slow Web site and cloud application load and response times.

ElastiCache is integrated with Amazon CloudWatch to provide visibility into performance metrics associated with Cache Nodes, Amazon said. Using Amazon ElastiCache in conjunction with application servers in Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and database servers in Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) cloud services gives users a platform to run fully-managed applications tacks in the cloud.

Amazon said that ElastiCache cloud service is available on-demand and users pay only for the resources used. Pricing is based on the size of the Cache Nodes used and starts at 9.5 cents per hour. Currently, Amazon ElastiCache is only available in AWS' U.S. East Region and will hit other regions in coming months.