Memcached gets no respect among Web applications

Highly trafficked Web sites rely on Memcached as much as LAMP, so where's the love for this caching solution?

Joaquín Ruiz, executive VP of products and corporate development at Gear6 asked me a question that caught me off guard: "Why do you think that Memcached doesn't get the attention that LAMP gets?" I didn't have a good answer at the time but wish I'd said, "Because the 'M' was already spoken for." Smart-ass comment aside, Ruiz brings up a great question. The largest and most trafficked sites on the Web rely on Memcached as much as, if not more than, the rest of the Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Python/Perl (LAMP) stack.

Why don't we talk more about Memcached? Well, companies have historically added caching into their Web application architecture in response to growing traffic. For better or worse, caching was a secondary thought versus simply launching the Web application.

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This mindset is absolutely changing as companies consider caching as a first-class citizen in application architecture decisions. Enterprise customers are increasingly looking at Oracle Coherence, WebSphere eXtreme Scale, Terracotta, and Memcached, among other solutions, to help scale applications while managing costs. The caching solution selected is often linked to the programming language used in the Web application project at hand. While not a hard and fast rule, Memcached is often used with PHP and Ruby Web applications, while Oracle Coherence, WebSphere eXtreme Scale, and Terracotta are often used with Java Web applications.

On the Memcached front, Gear6 provides a commercial Memcached distribution tailored for enterprises. Ruiz explained that a significant portion of the top 10,000 Web properties utilize Memcached today, and Gear6's commercial product can help those Web properties lower their costs. Additionally, as PHP and Ruby increase traction into enterprise applications, Gear6 sees an untapped market opportunity. As Ruiz explained, while Facebook has a dedicated team working on tweaking its Memcached installation, the typical enterprise Memcached customers doesn't have that expertise, nor would it want to. This is where Gear6 steps in with a commercial product that delivers enterprise capabilities such as management and integration.

I suspect that the rising consideration of caching will serve as a tide to lift all boats. Good luck to Gear6 and other vendors in the space.

Follow me on Twitter: SavioRodrigues.

p.s.: I should state: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions."


Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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