memcache: poor man's IPC

Cal Heldenbrand cal at
Mon Sep 10 18:04:26 UTC 2007

Hey everyone,

We're working on a new feature that has ended up being pretty cool, and just
thought I'd bring it up for discussion.  We have a long running process to
print reports with a simple client/server architecture.  The server churns
through the database stuff and populates the page (along with a memcache
status variable) and a client AJAX call reads the memcache variable and
displays a progress indicator.

I'm sure this can be done with a few server side languages out there, but
adding in a load balanced web farm complicates any RPC stuff since the load
balancer will redistribute each HTTP request to a different machine.  Using
memcache for a primitive IPC takes all of the guesswork on communicating
between any given two machines.

I think it's kind of neat, is anyone doing anything similar?


Cal Heldenbrand
   FBS Data Systems
   E-mail:  cal at
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