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Got memcached? Gear6's new distributed caching app...
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by ankur on Monday, 17 August 2009
Got memcached? Gear6's new distributed caching appliance


Database-driven websites increasingly depend on distributed caching to deliver adequate performance. This is particularly true in the social networking space where scalability is everything. One solution that has emerged as a de facto standard is memcached, a versatile distributed memory caching system that is developed under the open source BSD license. Gear6 announced on Monday the launch of its new Web Cache product, a hardware appliance that is built around memcached. The product leverages a combination of DRAM and Flash memory to deliver significantly higher density than conventional memcached solutions. It can accommodate up to 320GB in a 1U form factor. Gear6 says that its appliance can facilitate significant memcached consolidation, reducing the expense of large-scale memcached setups by as much as 80 percent. Gear6 claims that its hybrid approach—using flash memory alongside DRAM—allows it to effectively beat the inherent latency of flash memory. This tactic is somewhat novel in the memcached ecosystem, but is not entirely unique to Gear6's product. Sun engineer Trond Norbye has done some experimentation in this area and will be speaking about the topic at the MySqlConf. A similar approach is also used by a memcached appliance product from Schooner, which will compete with Gear6's Web Cache. Several early adopters in the Web content distribution and social networking space have already deployed Gear6's product as part of a trial program. Video site Veoh is one of the first. According to Veoh lead operations engineer Simon Ferrett, Gear6's Web Cache solution has already helped them to cut costs on their memcached setup. Gear6 has a case study about the Veoh rollout on its website, but it's light on specific technical details. The Gear6 appliance is fully compatible with the standard memcached protocol, so existing software can work with it without requiring modification. Deployment is said to be extremely easy. Ars spoke with Joaquin Ruiz, Gear6's executive vice president of product development. He is enthusiastic about the opportunities for growth in the memcached appliance market. Ruiz believes that the significant demand for distributed memory caching technology will lead to the emergence of a whole new product space around the concept. This is somewhat analogous, he says, to the manner in which demand for reliable high-capacity data storage created the market for network storage appliances. Indeed, memcached represents an enormous chunk of the infrastructure that is used to power the most popular social networking services. It seems logical that this will create a market for preintegrated high-density solutions that can reduce the overall cost of rolling out lots of memcached capacity. For a high-level overview of Web Cache, check out the product's technical specifications page.



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