What Is Caching?

Table of Contents

Caching is data storage that enables high-speed fast access to computed or previously retrieved data rather than accessing its primary storage location. 

How Does Caching work?

Cached data in a cache is usually stored in quickly accessible hardware like RAM (Random-access Memory) and can be used with a software component. A cache’s fundamental purpose is to improve data retrieval execution by avoiding accessing the slower, underlying storage layer. For example, a typical database offers durable and complete data storage while cashing stores a data subset transiently. 

Benefits of Caching

There are several reasons for cashing:

  1. Improved application performance: Reading data from the in-memory cache is sub-milliseconds. This access improves overall application performance.
  2. Reduced database costs: One cache instance can provide thousands of IOPS (Input/output operations per second), replacing the number of database instances, driving total costs down – especially if the primary database charges per throughput.
  3. Reduce back-end database load: Reducing back-end loads by redirecting parts to the in-memory layer prevents slow performance or crashing during spikes.
  4. Performance predictability: Using a high throughput in-memory cache mitigates unpredictable spike times in app usage and thereby latent data accessibility, such as eCommerce sites on Black Friday or election day. 
  5. Removes database hotspots: Storing standard keys in an in-memory cache reduces the overprovision of database resources for your most frequently accessed data (such as a popular product) while providing fast and predictable performance.
  6. Increases read throughput (IOPS): Besides less latency, in-memory systems offer higher request rates (IOPS) concerning comparable disk-based databases. For example, one instance used as a distributed side-cache can serve thousands of requests a second.

Key Takeaway

Rather than relying on slower disk-based databases, Caching data improves web app performance by enabling fast, managed in-memory storage.

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