Friday, October 02, 2009

Distributed Coherent EhCache In less than 5 Minutes...

Need a fast clustered/persistent cache? Ehcache, the ubiquitous cache built into Spring, JBoss and Grails can be configured to provide those features in under 5 minutes using this brief tutorial.

A Brief Digression Into The Why

Why do I need a persistent scaled out cache? The main use cases for a clustered/persistent cache are:
    • I'm using hibernate and it's pounding the database or it's too slow. Use a coherent second level cache to deflect load off the database, reduce latency without getting stale data.
    • Have a bunch of intermediate data that doesn't belong in the database and/or is expensive to store in the database that I want to keep in memory. Problem is if a node goes down or if someone asks for the data from another node the data is lost
    • I'm already caching but I have to load data over and over again into every node even though hot data for one node is hot for all (Known as the 1/n effect). If the data is cached for one node it is cached for all.


    1) Download the latest Ehcache

    2) Put the following jars in your class path (all included in the ehcache kit):
    ehcache-core.jar - Core Ehcache
    ehcache-terracotta.jar - Terracotta clustering
    slf4j-api-1.5.8.jar - Logging API Used by Ehcache
    slf4j-jdk14-1.5.8.jar - Implementation of the Logging API

    3) whip up some cache code:

     package org.sharrissf.samples;

    import net.sf.ehcache.Cache;
    import net.sf.ehcache.CacheManager;
    import net.sf.ehcache.Element;

    public class MyFirstEhcacheSample {
    CacheManager cacheManager = new CacheManager("src/ehcache.xml");

    public MyFirstEhcacheSample() {
    Cache cache = cacheManager.getCache("testCache");
    int cacheSize = cache.getKeys().size();
    cache.put(new Element("" + cacheSize, cacheSize));
    for (Object key : cache.getKeys()) {
    System.out.println("Key:" + key);

    public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
    new MyFirstEhcacheSample();

    4) Whip up some quick config

     <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

    <ehcache xmlns:xsi=""

    <terracottaConfig url="localhost:9510" />

    <defaultCache />

    <cache name="testCache" eternal="true">
    <terracotta clustered="true"/>


    5) Download Terracotta

    6) Start the terracotta server in the bin directory with the start ./

    Now just run that Java snippet a few times and see your cache grow.


    Bunty said...


    I am getting the data objects from the server and want to store these data objects in terracotta server. Please tell me how can we store these data objects into terracotta server?

    Also want to retrieve these data objects on the requests of various users. So please also tell me how can we retrieve the data objects from terracotta server?

    Steve Harris said...

    I'm sorry, I don't totally understand the question. Everything that goes into the cache when running with Terracotta clustering is being stored in the Terracotta Server.