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  1. #1

    Dedicated memcache box?

    Is it possible to set up a dedicated box between a fileserver and the web running memcache to lower IO on the fileserver?

    Something like this:

    fileserver -> memcache -> web

    I would guess the memcache box would use some kind of proxy software like squid to do this. Anyone have any experience with this kind of setups?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Hmm, I'm not too sure if using a server by iteself for doing fileserver caching is a good idea.

    Can't you add more RAM to the fileserver machine? That would highly increase throughput and be less expensive than buying a whole separate computer.

    I havn't deal with fileserver proxies neither with memory cache for file servers. What I can say is that such a solution will probably be hard to implement and might not work all this flawlessly.

    If you're looking to improve fileserver performance, consider adding more RAM to the machine and/or upgrading it's hard drives.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Sheffield, South Yorks
    Assuming it's a Linux box, then adding more RAM to the file server will roughly achieve the same thing, as Linux will cache areas of the file system in RAM for faster access when they are needed again.
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  4. #4
    This is not really what memcache is for. Its basically a big in-memory distributable hash table. It is more intended for taking load off your database.

    As pointed out above, simply adding more memory to your fileserver is probably simpler.

    The other thing to consider is that the resources memcache uses can be different than the resources your web server will use. Running memcache right on your web server(s) can work quite well.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    You would put a squid "reverse proxy" box in front of your web server.

    I would recommend doing what the others have said first. Max out the ram on the fileserver (upgrade to 64bit if it is not already) and you will be happy. Ram is stupid cheap these days. Under $150 for 4gb (2x2gb) of server ram from newegg. Most server boards have 8-16 slots for ram. 16gb-32gb is easily possible.

  6. #6
    The fileserver in question have some big slow sata2 drives in it. And can get quite a bit slow when it's getting hit a lot.

    So what I would do with the "memcache-box" is to stick 4 15k rpm SAS drives in it and fill it up with as much ram as possible. 2 SAS drives for os, and 2 for swap. The box would then serve the most popular files. This would considerably lower the amount of connections and IO on the fileserver.

    My idea was also using a reverse squid proxy or something similar

    I use memcache as an example cos it would describe what the use of the server would be.

  7. #7
    It seems like using squid as a reverse proxy is a well used technique

    Found some research that could be usefull ^_^

    Whitepaper on the subject:

  8. #8
    Squid performance tends to be great right until the point that it isn't anymore. What I mean by that is up to a certain threshold it will perform well, but when you hit the wall it will be very noticeable.
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  9. #9
    That sounds like something that would happen when the cache moves from memory to swap. Thanks for the tip though. Would need to benchmark it and monitor it for a while. Might even have to load balance 2 squid boxes

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Nashville, TN
    Memcache isn't what you're looking for here. Keep looking. Memcache is more of a development tool.


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