Amazon Web Services (AWS) has added to its long list of offerings with a managed cacheing service designed to improve the performance of customers' web applications by using in-memory caching instead of slower disk-based databases to retrieve information.
Amazon ElastiCache, which was launched in beta, takes the hassle of managing, monitoring and operating an in-memory cache environment out of the customer's hands, according to the firm.
The system is fully compliant with the Memcached memory object caching system, meaning that developers can easily migrate to ElastiCache from existing Memcached environments.
ElastiCache allows customers to quickly and easily add in-memory cache to application architectures by launching a Cache Cluster from the Management Console consisting of a collection of Cache Nodes, the firm said.
The amount of memory associated with a Cache Cluster can be scaled up or down according to workload by adding or deleting Cache Nodes, while the system also detects and replaces failed Cache Nodes to improve resilience, according to AWS.
Raju Gulabani, vice president of database services at AWS, explained that a managed, flexible and resilient caching service has been widely requested by customers.
"Caching is a core part of so many web applications today, but running your own caching infrastructure is time consuming and rarely adds differentiated value for your business," he said.
"Until today, businesses have had little choice but to shoulder this responsibility themselves - and indeed, many AWS customers have built and managed caching solutions on top of AWS for some time."
Clive Longbottom, an analyst at Quocirca, told V3 that ElastiCache will be good for cloud applications where everything takes place in a single cloud hoster's datacentre, but not so good for "anything where composite applications, shared applications or distributed data is concerned".
"Latency in the cloud is the worst thing for cloud, not security or availability. Caching, preferably in-memory, gets rid of latencies within the cloud host itself but also introduces a few other problems," he explained.
"For example, if there is a power loss all the data in memory will be lost, which is why Amazon is positioning this for 'read heavy' environments.
"Secondly, it only works where the interconnects between the cache and the compute environment are superfast, so it cannot be used across datacentres."
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