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From Geoff Howard <>
Subject Re: [RT] Adaptive Caching
Date Fri, 18 Jul 2003 12:28:05 GMT
Well, since Peter's dragged me into this... ;)

Hunsberger, Peter wrote:
> Stefano Mazzocchi <> writes (and writes, and writes,
> and writes):
> <small snip/> 
>>WARNING: this RT is long! and very dense, so I suggest you to 
>>turn on your printer. 

Stefano, I started writing a response back about 5 minutes after getting 
your original RT but started getting the idea I hadn't fully understood 
the RT and haven't had time to go back in more detail.  I'm very 
interested in this and have been following the discussion, but have been 
waiting to see if I really "get" it before speaking.  The following 
would help me (and maybe others?) understand:

Which of the following does your RT address:
- Deciding when the overhead of caching is worthwhile on a given item.
(and which part of the overhead - the act of storing, or the resource use)
- Deciding when to purge the cache (aka, a better StoreJanitor/MRU)

In the first scenario I'd have trouble seeing how this calculation could 
be any less costly than the current.  But only testing would tell for 
sure, and I'll be very interested to see it develop.

The second scenario has little to argue against it.  I missed however 
whether taking the frequency of matching requests is possible.  In other 
words, if I have 100 reports whose cost weighs high but are only 
requested several times a month and are reasonable to have to wait for, 
and other items with a smaller cost but are requested thousands of times 
daily can I come up with a cost function that favors the latter?


> <small snip/>
>>Final note: we are discussing resources which are produced 
>>using a "cacheable" pipeline *ONLY*. If the pipeline is not 
>>cacheable (means: it's not entirely composed of cache-aware 
>>components) caching never takes place.


> At first it would seem that if there is no way to determine the ergodic
> period of a fragment there is no reason to cache it!  However, there is
> an alternative method of using the cache (which Geoff Howard has been
> working on) which is to have an event invalidated cache.  In this model
> cache validity is determined by some event external to the production of
> the cached fragment and the cached fragment has no natural ergodic
> period.  Such fragments still fit mostly within the model given here:
> although we do not know when the external event may transpire we can
> still determine that it is more efficient to regenerate the fragment
> from scratch than retain it in cache.

Another interesting thing about this kind of setup is that if you commit 
to it, you could get out of all validity calculations all together.  If 
it's still in the cache, serve it.  I will be experimenting with this to 
see if that gets any benefit in practice.

> If a cache invalidating event transpires then, for such fragments, it
> may also make sense to push the new version of the fragment into the
> cache at that time.  Common use cases might be CMSs where authoring or
> editing events are expensive and rare (eg. regen Javadoc).  In our case,
> we have a large set of metadata that is expensive to generate but rarely
> updated.  This metadata is global across all users and if there are
> resources available we want it in the cache.
> This points out that in order to push something into cache one wants to
> make the same calculation as the cache manager would make to expire it
> from cache; is it more efficient to push a new version of this now?  If
> not there may eventually be a pull request at which point the normal
> cache evaluation will determine how long to keep the new fragment
> cached.

This would be better IMHO if it was left to the cache's discretion to 
cache the pushed update or not.  If it was currently cached, it would 
make sense but otherwise not.  For instance, if I update an entire table 
with rows which never get requested, you wouldn't want them pushed into 
the cache especially at the expense of more valuable entries.


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