CAS operation

Chris Goffinet goffinet at
Sun Sep 9 00:28:44 UTC 2007


I have the prototype of the CAS operation working from the latest  
memcache trunk in C using text protocol. I have also patched  
libmemcache to do support "gets" and "cas". I will be doing a cleanup,  
I can send you the patches later tonight.

Chris Goffinet
goffinet at

On Sep 8, 2007, at 11:26 AM, Dustin Sallings wrote:

> [replying back on the list to try to keep the discussion open and  
> hopefully avoid repeating myself]
> On Sep 8, 2007, at 7:31, Jehiah Czebotar wrote:
>> This sounds like the proposed "append" method which would allow
>> memcache to handle lists on the server side... with one caviat, you
>> want a conditional append which only appends if the value isn't
>> already there.
> 	In this example usage...sort of.  One would also want to remove  
> items from the list to keep it from growing out of control.
> 	There was another proposal to allow updating parts of a value by  
> offset or other such things.  None of these things can work race- 
> free without implementing advisory locks which, as already pointed  
> out, may be subject to the LRU.
>> If memcached were handling the lists, you wouldn't have to add all
>> that conditional logic and "replace if it's still the same" stuff
>> which won't work in high concurrency situations anyway.
> 	Well, it's not entirely fair to say it doesn't work in high  
> concurrency situations.  The operation is always atomic, but it may  
> need to be retried.  This is a common strategy in concurrent  
> programming for creating lock-free concurrent data structures.  If a  
> particular key is too hot, though, you could potentially split it  
> into multiple keys to reduce retries in practice.  In the current  
> example, you could have a series of current_login keys hashed by  
> uid.  Your contention is reduced by the number of keys.  There's  
> never a case where you blindly overwrite values, though.
> 	Adding an add-this-to-a-list-if-it-does-not-exist-and-remove- 
> something-else-to-keep-the-list-to-n-elements would be an  
> unreasonable operation to add.  The only reasonable way to do  
> something like this would be to add server-side scripting and then  
> effectively write the exact operations you need so that they may be  
> performed atomically.
> 	Are there enough potential server-side operations to really justify  
> a scripting interface?  When it's been brought up in meetings, the  
> response has varied from interest, to a warning about crossing  
> streams or something.
> 	Both a CAS and a scripting interface provide a foundation for  
> building atomic data structure manipulation without having to define  
> all of the data structures and all of the operations at the protocol  
> level.  Each has downside.  With CAS, you may have to retry a few  
> times under contention and this would be amplified by the latency.   
> With scripting, you may easily slow down the whole server, and you  
> have to deal with how parameters are passed in and results are  
> returned -- and this would mean very different things by protocol.
> -- 
> Dustin

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