The memcached Tutorial

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We’ve been talking about memcached for a while now. The topic is exciting, scary, and constantly evolving. You might have a hard time understanding how memcached works at all. You might be missing the “big picture”, or you might just need a handful of examples of how to properly handle common queries. Perhaps you’ve been there, done that, and want to cut your teeth on what the memcached community has been up to for the last year?

We’ll take care of you, don’t worry!

As more people learn about memcached and the success stories wrapped around it, they need to first learn how it relates to them. They need to learn how to dive in and get started.

The first half of this tutorial is focused on getting you going, faster. Here is the basic idea, some common architectures, and how to get it up and running in your favorite language. We will then walk you through examples starting from the simple, through the obscure.

How do I cache this one thing? Easy. How do I optimize caching 100 different data points per user? Also easy, if you know the trick!

The second half is focused on the new things evolving in the memcached community. Namely the binary protocol and storage engines. We created the binary protocol for a reason, but why? What new things can you do now, what works better, what doesn’t work as well? How is this good for the future?

Memcached is also getting a pluggable storage engine interface. This allows us to help unify the various forks and encourage experimentation. We will show an overview of the interface and some quick examples of what the community (or companies!) have been hacking on.

Photo of Brian Aker

Brian Aker


Brian has spent his life working on the details of how to build and scale out
systems. He is currently working on a new MicroKernel designed MySQL
called Drizzle and is building the plumbing required for a new generation of
large scale computer deployment. He also spends time working on Apache
Modules, Memcached, and Gearman.

In the past, he has been involved with projects for the Army Engineer Corps, The VirtualHospital, Splunk, MySQL, Slashdot, and was a Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems. He calls Seattle his home since that is where his dog Rosalynd is.

Alan Kasindorf

Six Apart

Kasindorf is the MySQL DBA for Six Apart’s properties, as well as many of their scaling tools. Originally a sysadmin for in 2002, he has since helped build numerous large web sites with open source software and is an advocate and contributor for Memcached, mogilefs, perlbal, and others.

  • Oracle
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  • Facebook
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  • Infobright, Inc
  • JasperSoft
  • Joyent
  • Kickfire
  • NorthScale, Inc.
  • Percona
  • Schooner Information Technology
  • Solid Quality Mentors (SolidQ)
  • Intel
  • Pentaho
  • Linux Pro Magazine

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