Cache miss stampedes

BUSTARRET, Jean-francois jfbustarret at
Wed Jul 25 10:58:44 UTC 2007

AFAIAC, I use the lock version. I once implemented a queue (add to get a lock, incr to another key for everyone that is locked and HTTP/500 when the queue is above a certain level, HTTP/500 for people who wait more than a certain amount of time).

In some cases, the following could be most useful :

- process1 get a cache miss on the key, and regenerate the value
- other processes get the old value from the cache during regeneration (the old value gets an additional TTL bonus)
- process1 sets the new value in the cache

You would have to handle 2 TTLs : a soft one (cache misses regenerate the key and the old value gets additional TTL) and a hard one (cache misses are cache misses).

I never had enough time to try and implement it...


> -----Message d'origine-----
> De : memcached-bounces at 
> [mailto:memcached-bounces at] De la part de dormando
> Envoyé : mercredi 25 juillet 2007 12:02
> À : memcached at
> Objet : Cache miss stampedes
> Hey,
> So I'm up late adding more crap to the memcached FAQ, and I'm 
> wondering about a particular access pattern:
> - Key A is hit very often (many times per second).
> - Key A goes missing.
> - Several dozen processes all get a cache miss on A at the 
> same time, then run SQL query/whatever, and try set or adding 
> back into memcached.
> Sometimes this can be destructive to a database, and can 
> happen often if the expire time on the data is low for some reason.
> What approaches do folks typically use to deal with this more 
> elegantly? 
> The better suggestion I've heard is to try to 'add' the key 
> (or a separate 'lock' key) back into memcached, and only 
> doing the query if you 'win' that lock. Everyone else 
> microsleeps and retries a few times before running the query.
> Also in most of these cases you should really run a tiered 
> cache, with this type of data being stored in a local cache 
> and in memcached.
> This really isn't a common case, but sucks hard when it 
> happens. In the back of my mind I envision a different style 
> 'get' command, which defaults to a mutex operation on miss. 
> So you'd do the special 'get', and if you get a special 
> return code that says it's a miss but you're clear to update 
> the data (which would release the lock?). Otherwise the 
> command could optionally return immediately, or hang (for a 
> while) until the data's been updated.
> Just throwing out ideas. Thoughts?
> -Dormando

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