AWS ElastiCache makes apps jump to attention

Amazon has developed ElastiCache, a cloud technology that allows companies to add hosted in-memory caching to their applications in order to speed response times

Amazon Web Services has added in-memory caching to its cloud, with the aim of allowing web-based businesses such as e-retailers to speed up their applications.

ElastiCache, announced on Monday, is software for caching frequently accessed pieces of data 'in-memory' — or in RAM — within the cloud. This speeds response times when querying sprawling databases or running complex calculations, and so should help companies to increase the responsiveness of applications on their websites, according to AWS.

"Caching has become a standard component in many applications to achieve a fast and predictable performance, but maintaining a collection of cache servers in a reliable and scalable manner is not a simple task," AWS's chief technology officer Werner Vogels wrote in a blog post on Monday.

"Amazon ElastiCache takes away many of the headaches of deploying, operating and scaling the caching infrastructure," he said.

Amazon ElastiCache takes away many of the headaches of deploying, operating and scaling the caching infrastructure.

– Werner Vogels, AWS

Caching, besides increasing the performance of applications, helps guard against database failures because the heavy work is done in memory rather than in the main data pool, Vogels wrote.

ElastiCache is compliant with the open-source Memcached caching system, which is used by a multitude of large websites, such as YouTube, Wikipedia, Twitter and Facebook.

Companies can get started by renting a cache cluster, assigning security policies and hooking the ElastiCache software into their rented Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) virtual computers via the Memcached protocol, Amazon evangelist Jeff Barr wrote in a blog post.

The service is available from the US East Region, and is expected to be made available in other AWS regions "in the coming months", Vogels wrote.

Amazon describes the product as a beta. Historically, Amazon tends to bring out full products and run them in beta for a number of years. The Relational Database Service, for example, is in beta as of the time of writing, though it was launched in October 2009.
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