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Why Is My Cache So Dumb? Smarter Caching with Pequod - RICON East 2013

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Published on Jun 10, 2013

For most applications, application-level caching (like with memcached) is absolutely critical for performance. Unfortunately, these caching systems are so simple they leave applications with the burden of maintaining the cache. Developers must write code to invalidate, handle cache misses, and perform updates.

Pequod is a key/value cache we're developing at MIT and Harvard that automatically updates the cache to keep data fresh. Pequod exploits a common pattern in these computations: different kinds of cached data are often related to each other by transformations equivalent to simple joins, filters, and aggregations. Pequod allows applications to pre-declare these transformations with a new abstraction, the cache join. Pequod then automatically applies the transformations and tracks relationships to materialize data and keep the cache up to date, and in many cases improves performance by reducing client/cacheserver communication. Sound like a database? We use abstractions from databases like joins and materialized views, while still maintaining the performance of an in-memory key/value cache.

In this talk, I'll describe the challenges caching solves, the problems that still exist, and how tools like Pequod can make the space better.

About Neha

Neha is a fifth year PhD student in PDOS, the Parallel and Distributed Operating Systems group at MIT, advised by Robert Morris. Here she has worked on W5, BFlow, a privacy-preserving browser system, WARP, and Dixie. Neha's research interests are in protecting user data and scalable storage systems for web applications.

Neha has worked for Google as a Software Engineer on Native Client, Blobstore, a system for efficiently storing and serving terabytes of large binary objects, and Froogle.

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