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The architecture of an Ehcache node can include a number of tiers that store data. One of the most important aspects of managing cached data involves managing the life of that data in those tiers.
Use the figure at right with the definitions below to understand the life of data in the tier of Ehcache nodes backed by the Terracotta Cluster Array.
These definitions apply similarly in standalone Ehcache.
The sections below explore in more detail the aspects of managing data life in Ehcache and the TSA, including the pinning features of Automatic Resource Control (ARC).
Cache entries expire based on parameters with configurable values. When eviction occurs, expired elements are the first to be removed. Having an effective expiration configuration is critical to optimizing use of resources such as heap and maintaining cache performance.
To add expiration, edit the values of the following
<cache> attributes and tune these values based on results of performance tests:
timeToIdleSeconds– The maximum number of seconds an element can exist in the cache without being accessed. The element expires at this limit and will no longer be returned from the cache. The default value is 0, which means no TTI eviction takes place (infinite lifetime).
timeToLiveSeconds– The maximum number of seconds an element can exist in the cache regardless of use. The element expires at this limit and will no longer be returned from the cache. The default value is 0, which means no TTL eviction takes place (infinite lifetime).
maxElementsOnDisk– The maximum sum total number of elements (cache entries) allowed for a distributed cache in all Terracotta clients. If this target is exceeded, eviction occurs to bring the count within the allowed target. The default value is 0, which means no eviction takes place (infinite size is allowed). Note that this value reflects storage allocated on the TSA. A setting of 0 means that no eviction of the cache's entries takes place on the TSA, and consequently can cause the servers to run out of disk space.
eternal– If the cache’s
eternalflag is set, it overrides any finite TTI/TTL values that have been set.
See How Configuration Affects Element Eviction for more information on how configuration can impact eviction. See Distributed Cache Configuration for definitions of other available configuration properties.
Data that should remain in the cache regardless of resource constraints can be pinned. You can pin individual entries, or an entire cache.
Some APIs like OpenJPA and Hibernate require pinning of specific Elements. Specific entries can be programmatically pinned to the containing cache:
The entry can be unpinned by the same method:
To unpin all of a cache's pinned entries:
To check if an entry is pinned:
cache.isPinned(key); // Returns a boolean: true if the key is pinned.
Pinning a cache entry guarantees its storage in local memory (heap or off-heap).
Note that pinning is a status applied to a cache entry's key. The entry's value may be null and any operations on value have no effect on the pinning status.
Entire caches can be pinned using the
pinning element in cache configuration. This element has a required attribute (
store) to specify which data tiers the cache should be pinned to:
<pinning store="localMemory" />
store attribute can have one of the following values:
For example, the following cache is configured to pin its entries:
<cache name="Cache1" ... > <pinning store="inCache" /> </cache>
The following distributed cache is configured to pin its entries to heap or off-heap only:
<cache name="Cache2" ... > <pinning store="localMemory" /> <terracotta/> </cache>
If only a limited set of a cache's entries should be pinned, it may be more efficient to pin those individual elements rather than the entire cache.
Pinning as a setting exists in the local Ehcache client (L1) memory. It is never distributed in the cluster. In case the pinned cache is bulk-loaded, the pinned data is removed from the L1 and will be faulted back in from the TSA.
Pinning achieved programmatically will not be persisted — after a restart the pinned entries are no longer pinned. Pinning is also lost when an L1 rejoins a cluster. Cache pinning in configuration is reinstated with the configuration file.
The following example shows a cache with certain expiration settings:
<cache name="myCache" maxElementsOnDisk="10000" eternal="false" timeToIdleSeconds="3600" timeToLiveSeconds="0" memoryStoreEvictionPolicy="LFU"> <!-- Adding the element <terracotta /> turns on Terracotta clustering for the cache myCache. --> <terracotta /> </cache>
Note the following about the myCache configuration:
timeToIdleSeconds), that element is evicted. The entry is also evicted from the TSA.
timeToLiveSeconds). However, unexpired entries may still be flushed based on other limitations (see How to Size Caches).
maxElementsOnDisk). This is the effective maximum number of entries myCache is allowed on the TSA. Note, however, that this value may be exceeded as it is overridden by pinning and other client-side cache-size settings.
Pinning takes priority over configured cache sizes. For example, in the following distributed cache the pinning configuration overrides the
<cache name="myCache" maxEntriesOnHeap="10000" maxBytesLocalOffHeap="8g" ... > <pinning store="localHeap" /> <terracotta/> </cache>
While expired cache entries (even ones that have been pinned) can always be flushed and eventually evicted from the cluster, most non-expired elements can as well if resource limitations are reached. However, pinned elements, whether pinned individually or resident in a pinned cache, cannot be evicted if they haven't expired. In addition, if a distributed cache is pinned to a specific data tier, its unexpired elements cannot be flushed from that tier.
Unexpired pinned entries also cannot be evicted from the TSA. While the
maxElementsOnDisk setting is intended to limit a cache's size in the cluster, it is overridden by pinning because the TSA cannot evict data that is still resident on any client. Persistence takes priority over enforcing resource limits.
|Potentially, pinned caches could grow to an unlimited size. Caches should never be pinned unless they are designed to hold a limited amount of data (such as reference data) or their usage and expiration characteristics are understood well enough to conclude that they cannot cause errors.|