What is Caching and How does it Work?

What is Caching and How Does it Work 1

A cache is the layer of data storage with a high-speed storing subset of data that is transitory in nature. Hence, all requests of the future for that particular data are delivered faster as compared with accessing the central storage location. Caching permits the user to efficiently reutilize the computed data or data that was previously retrieved.

Now that we have understood what caching is, let’s take a look at how it works. The information in the cache is saved in hardware that can be quickly accessed that includes Random Access Memory (RAM). It can be utilized along with another component of the software. The primary purpose of a cache is to expand the performance of the data retrieval. This is done by decreasing the requirement to use the underlying storage layer that is slow. 

A cache saves a subset of information that is temporary in comparison to various databases, where the data is durable and complete.

Use CaseTechnologiesSolutions
DatabaseReduce latency which is associated with requests pertaining to database queryValue/key data stores, database buffers Redis- ElastiCache,  Memcached- ElastiCache 
AppIt accelerates data access and application performance Local caches, Value/ key data stores Partner solutions,  Memcached- ElastiCache,  Redis- ElastiCache   
WebIncreases the retrieval of web content from app/ web servers, manages web sessions that are from the server-sideValue/ key stores, web accelerators, reverse proxies, CDNs, cache headers HTTPPartner solutions,  Memcached- ElastiCache,  Redis- ElastiCache, Amazon CloudFront 
DNSA domain to the IP resolution DNS servers Amazon route 53 
Client-SideIncrease the retrieval of web data from the device or web browser Web browsers, cache headers HTTP Web browser Specific 

Advantages of Caching 

Application Performance is Improved 

To read the data from the cache’s memory is very fast. It is done in a few sub-milliseconds. This quick access to the cached data is the reason for the overall improvement of all the app performance.

Lowers the Database Cost 

For instance, a cache can offer thousands of input-output operations per second, also known as IOPS. This can replace several databases, reducing the overall cost. This can be extremely helpful when the charges by the primary database are per throughput. In such a case, you could end up saving plenty of percentage points.

Reducing the Backend Load 

Certain parts can be redirected from the read load of the backend database onto an in-memory layer. This will decrease the load from the database. Caching will protect the database from the performance that is slow. When there is a spike, it also prevents it from crashing.

Predictable Performance 

Today’s modern application faces a very common difficulty in coping with spikes in app usage. For instance, during Election Day or even Super Bowl, the social app faces challenges. Even during Black Friday, the e-commerce website seems to face certain challenges.

When the database experiences an increased load, it results in more significant latencies in order to retrieve data. This makes the performance of the application unpredictable. So by using a high in-memory cache throughput, this particular challenge can be taken care of.

Database Hotspots Eliminated 

It is extremely likely that in several applications, a subset of information is accessed frequently in comparison to the rest. For instance, a popular product or celebrity profile. Your database has good experience hot spots on account of this action. It may need overprovisioning of the resources of the database.

This is based on the requirements of the throughput for the data that is very frequently utilized. When common keys are stored in the cache in-memory, it reduces the need for overprovisioning. This offers predictable and quick performance for all the data that is commonly accessed.

An Increase in Reading Throughput 

Besides reduced latency, the in-memory system offers an increased request rate that is comparable to the database that is disk-based. When utilized as a side cache, it can serve thousands of requests every second.

Industries and Use Cases 

CDN – Content Delivery Network 

When the web traffic is dispersed geographically, duplication of the whole infrastructure across various locations isn’t cost-effective or feasible. CDN offers its users the ability to use its global network locations. This is done to deliver the cached copy of the content of the web. This includes images, web pages, videos and more to the clients.

To minimize response time, CDN uses the closest site to the location where the request originated or to the customer. You would notice a drastic increase in throughput, and the assets are furnished from the cache. CDN can also be configured in order to retrieve information from the primary server resulting in dynamic data.

We have tried out the service of this amazing CDN service provider, Amazon CloudFront. They speed up the delivery of various assets, video content, APIs or websites. In addition, they also integrate with multiple AWS products. It’s done to offer businesses and developers a straightforward way to increase content to the end-user without any commitments or minimum usage.

Database Caching 

In terms of throughput and speed, the performance that the database offers can be extremely impactful to your apps’ overall performance. Although various databases currently provide good performance, in many cases, we have noticed that certain applications require more.

Database caching is extremely helpful. It permits the user to decrease the retrieval latency and increase throughput that is associated with backend databases. This results in a significant improvement in the performance of the apps.

To your database, the cache serves as an adjacent layer to the data access. This can be used by the application to improvise a performance. You can apply the database caching layer in front of any database that includes NoSQL and relational databases. A very common technique is utilized in order to load this data into the cache. It includes write-through and lazy loading methods.

DNS Caching 

Every request with regard to a domain that is made, queries the DNS caching servers. This helps in resolving IP addresses that are associated with a specific domain name. At various levels, DNS caching occurs, that includes ISP’s, OS as well as DNS servers.

Session Management 

An HTTP session pulls all the data of the user that is exchanged between the web app and the site user. This includes viewed items, a list of the shopping cart, login information and more. In order to offer a good user experience on the website, managing and handling the HTTP sessions is essential. This can be done by recollecting the customer’s preference and offering good user content.

Modern apps architecture offers users a session that is centralized for managing all the data. This seems to be a good solution for various reasons. It offers a consistent experience to your users across multiple servers. If there is a replication in the session data spread through cache servers, it will experience an increase in availability. You would also experience the good durability of the session, especially when the web servers are elastic.

APIs – Application Programming Interface 

In current times various web apps are created on API. It is a restful service, and you can access it over HTTP. It also displays resources that permit the user to communicate with the app. When the API is designed, it is vital to consider the authorization, load expected, and the effects version change on the API user. Above all, it is extremely important to consider the easy usage of the API, among various considerations.

An API is not always required to exemplify business logic or/and create backend requests to the database on each and every request. At times furnishing the cached result of the API will offer a cost-effective and optimal response. This is particularly true if you can cache an API response in order to meet the change of underlying data.

For instance, it reflects a list of API products to the users, and the categories of products change once a day. Response to the category of product demand is similar in the entire day; each time a call is made to the API. It is enough to cache the API reply for that day. When you cache the API response, the pressure on the infrastructure is removed that includes your database and app servers. You will also benefit from the quick response times and be able to deliver an API with better performance.

Hybrid Environment Caching 

In the hybrid environment, you will have apps that are on the cloud. These apps are live requiring regular access to a database that is on-premises. Various network topologies can be employed in order to build connectivity between the on-premises and the cloud environment. This includes Direct Connect and VPN.

You may notice the latency from a VPC to a data center on-premise is low. However, it is optimal to cache it to the data on-premise into the cloud environment. This will increase the speed of the performance with regard to data retrieval.

Web Caching 

Web content while being delivered to your users, the latency associated with regard to retrieval of web assets. This may include videos, HTML documents, images and more which can be reduced if those artifacts are cached. This will eliminate server load as well as disk reads.

Multiple techniques for web caching can be utilized on the user side as well as the server. The web caching for the server-side involves using a specific web proxy. This poxy retains the responses from various web servers and is on standby. This reduces the latency as well as the load. Web caching for the client-side includes caching that is browser-based. It retains the web content that was previously visited; it will be the cached version.

General Cache 

Data accessed from memory is hundreds of times faster than data accessed from an SSD or disk. Therefore, when you leverage the data, it has plenty of advantages.

There are many cases that don’t need support for all transactional data or durability based on disk. In such cases utilizing key-value in-memory store is an excellent method to create an app with high performance.

Along with speed, apps benefit a lot from increased throughput, especially from a cost-effective point of view. Referenceable content like profile information, category listing, product groupings and more are excellent for general cached cases.

Integrated Cache 

It is a layer of in-memory that automatically caches all the content which is accessed frequently from the primary database. Mostly the database will use the cache in order to respond to the database request that is inbound. The only thing, the data should be within the cache.

This increases the database performance. It is done by reducing a latency request as well as memory utilization and Central Processing Unit (CPU) of the database engine. The integrated cache has a vital feature. That is, the data stored and the data that is cached is consistent with a database engine that is on the disk. 


In-memory Engines and RAM: There has been an improvement in caching results in terms of data retrieval as well as a reduction in cost. This is because of the increase in IOPS or request rates that are RAM-supported as well as in-memory engines. If you’re looking at similar support with the traditional databases or hardware that is disk-based, you would require increased resources. The increase in resources also tends to add up to the cost. They fail to offer reduced latency performance that you would otherwise receive by the in-memory cache.

Design Patterns: In a computing environment, a caching layer that is dedicated enables applications and systems to work independently from a cache. These caches have their individual life cycles and avoid the risk of having any sort of effect on the cache.

The cache is the central layer that can be accessed from a variety of systems with their own architectural topology and lifecycle. This is true for systems with scalable application nodes. If a cache is residing on a similar node as the systems or application using it, then scaling could affect the cache’s integrity.

Also, if a local cache is utilized, it will only have an advantage towards a local application using content. In a caching environment that is distributed, the content can span various cache servers. It can also be saved in a primary location in order to benefit all the users.


The benefit of caches is they can be leveraged and applied through technological layers. This includes databases, web applications, DNS, CDN and operating systems. Caching can be utilized to improve IOPS and reduce latency for various application workloads. This includes social networking, media sharing, gaming and FAQ portals.

Cached data also includes results of image files, JavaScript, web artifacts like HTML, API responses/ requests, computational calculations and database queries.

Compute workloads manipulate datasets like simulations of performance computing and recommendation engines. They also have an advantage from the in-memory data that acts as a cache. Within these applications, massive datasets are accessed across various machines in real-time, spanning multiple nodes. The high speed of the hardware manipulates the data that is in the disk-based store. This, in turn, is a bottleneck for the application.

Best practices for caching: If you want to implement a cache layer, you need first to learn more about the data of validity that is being cached. When all cache results are successful with a good hit rate, it implies that the content was available when fetched.

When our data fetch is not available, a missed cache or cache miss occurs. PPL control can also be used to expire the content. You may also consider if the cache environment requires it to be available. If this is the case, it can be done by Redis, an in-memory engine.

In certain cases, the in-memory layer is utilized as a layer for data storage. This contrasts the blue data from the primary location. In this case, it’s vital to specify RTO – the time taken to get back up from the outage – and RPO – the final transaction that was captured during recovery.

This needs to be done on the content that resides within the in-memory engine that determines if it is suitable or not. Features of various in-memory engines and design strategies can be utilized in order to match most RPO and RTO needs.

Software and Devices 

Cache can be found in hardware as well as software. The CPU is a component that conducts the processing of information onto the desktop computer, tablet, smartphone or laptop from the software.

The CPU cache is specifically designed to assist the CPU in retrieving used information frequently. The CPU cache saves the information that the device’s primary memory utilizes. This is done in order to execute specific instructions very quickly in comparison to loading every information only when requested.

Clearing the Cache 

Considering the various disadvantages, it only makes sense to clear out the cache and make it a part of your regular maintenance. Besides corrupted files, a cache that gets very large, or if there is inadequate storage space on the computer, the PC’s performance can be adversely affected.

The only measure that you can take is to clear the cache. This deletes all the files that are stored within the cache. In order for a cache to be cleared, the owner of the cache must enable the option in the settings menu.

Apart from clearing the cache on iOS or windows, you can also clear browser cache on various web browsers like; 

  • Mozilla Firefox 
  • Safari 
  • Google Chrome 

You can also clear cache from; 

  • Xbox One 
  • PS4 
  • Chrome books 
  • iPads and iPhones 
  • Samsung Galaxy 
  • Facebook 
  • Instagram 
  • Twitter 

When you clear cache, you will experience the benefit of freeing up storage space on the computer. This will allow you to discard files that cause misbehavior.

However, keep in mind that clearing cache will also remove certain files that were created to help the computer’s performance. For instance, when you delete your browser’s cache, you’ll notice that you’ll have to log into all of your preferred websites again.

Furthermore, if there was any personalization or even customization, all contents of baskets and shopping carts would be gone. However, if you’re having problems with your mobile, PC, or Mac, emptying the cache will usually solve the issue.

We hope that this article has been an interesting read and gives you clarity on all about a cache. Do share your thoughts and comments with us. You can also check our article on What is Cloud Hosting and How does it Work?

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