How Does Amazon ElastiCache Work?

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How Does Amazon ElastiCache Work

AWS ElastiCache debuted in 2011, and it has spent the last 12 years gaining popularity among popularity among developers. ElastiCache also offers flexible pricing models, which means you’ll only be charged for what you’ve used. 

In this article we review the ins and outs of Amazon’s ElastiCache system, and how it compares with other competition in the cloud caching industry.

What is AWS ElastiCache?

Put simply, ElastiCache works as a cache-as-a-service, fully managed solution that can manage, deploy, and scale itself in the cloud. What exactly does this mean? Well, according to Amazon, this service enables users to eliminate all the typical problems associated with managing—and setting up—a distributed cache environment.

If all of that doesn’t mean much to you, don’t worry—the truly important thing that ElastiCache offers is providing web-based applications with a significant boost to their performance. This is done by quickly retrieving data from low latency and high throughput in-memory data stores.

To boil it down to one sentence, Amazon ElastiCache responds to highly demanding web applications through its high-performance caching system.

What Does Amazon ElastiCache Provide?

In a nutshell, it provides a method for bypassing disk-based databases, which are much slower. This can provide considerable speed to web applications, and that’s what makes most developers choose ElastiCache. This is truly a case where the benefits outweigh the cost.

This is a method of getting the most speed possible out of any web application. In a world where 39% of people expect a website to load within 2-3 seconds—and where 14% expect it to load within 1 second—the cost of using ElastiCache is definitely offset by being able to more easily meet expectations.

Comparison #1: ElastiCache vs DynamoDB

Amazon offers a variety of different tools to developers such as ElastiCache and DynamoDB. What’s the difference between them? Let’s take a closer look at DynamoDB vs ElasticCache.

Again, ElastiCache serves as Amazon’s “Caching-as-a-Service,” which is a specialized service. It offers fully managed, in-memory caches that make it super quick and extremely easy to access caches and speed up web applications.

Meanwhile, DynamoDB is basically a NoSQL database service. It stores caches in its Solid State Drives (SSD). From there, each cache is cloned three times to boost its availability and reliability. Handling DynamoDB in this way allows administrators to skip using distributed database clusters, which brings the price down.

Which one is better? That depends on what you’re using it for, but if you want your web applications to work at peak performance, the best choice is ElastiCache. It will cost more money, but it will also provide you with increased performance and save you a lot of time.

Comparison #2: CloudFront vs ElastiCache

Both ElastiCache and CloudFront exist as caching solutions. However, they offer their solutions through drastically different means. Additionally, Amazon CloudFront and Amazon ElastiCache both serve to speed up web applications.

The difference between them is that CloudFront works as a Content Delivery Network (CDN), which means that users load the content they need by using the closest caching server, instead of using the original hosting server. On the other hand, ElastiCache uses its fully managed in-memory data stores. It also relies upon Redis and Memcached to make the entire process much faster.

Again, the differences between ElastiCache and CloudFront are quite notable, despite them both providing caching solutions. When it comes down to it, your choices are to either rely solely on the closest caching server (CloudFront) or to use fully managed in-memory data stores (ElastiCache). Either one will speed things up, but ElastiCache has the advantage when speed truly matters.

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