AWS ElastiCache is a Cache-as-a-Service that enables the deployment of open-source Redis or Memcached engine caches in the cloud. With it, organizations benefit from an in-memory data store managed by Amazon Web Services rather than the conventional disk caches.
Because caching is a big part of running and maintaining browsers and is sold as the most significant benefit of ElastiCache, limiting the platform’s advantage to only web caching is easy. But that’s a fraction of the different benefits of this AWS tool.
Below, we introduce you to ElastiCache use cases for improved web and application performance, user experience, data analytics, and backend development.
By deploying a cloud-based cache solution, you can achieve high performance in the following areas of your IT infrastructure:
Web apps that rely on ElastiCache will enjoy faster, more reliable, and more secure caching. In particular, dynamic applications that work with ElastiCache will benefit from the platform’s quick data retrieval and extra storage space, which helps meet the needs of users with different interests.
This method, known as server-side caching, puts the burden on the server—not the user’s browser—to retain the data.
However, a known detraction of server-side caching is its high latency. This results from the time spent capturing the request from the user’s browser, retrieving the result from the server, and sending it back to the browser.
Still, ElastiCache counteracts this with its inherent low latency function that speeds up the process of retrieving cache data.
This is similar to how ElastiCache enhances web apps’ effectiveness. In this case, rather than the longer process of accessing data from your database, ElastiCache pulls it from the cache.
With this approach, you get less database load and latency and lower database maintenance costs. It’s ideal for organizations running complex database queries with a higher response time.
Not all API calls deserve a direct query to the database to generate a response. So, ElastiCache stores repeated requests, which shortens the response time for the user. This way, there’s more room for it to handle larger volumes of requests without crashing.
AWS ElastiCache isn’t designed to be a database since it only has an in-memory storage capacity. However, it can suffice as a database in certain situations. Specifically, AWS ElastiCache for Redis can handle certain database functions like supporting and storing complex data structures and data sets and fast data retrieval.
User experience and engagement
Let’s examine how ElastiCache boosts website and mobile app user experience and engagement. For this section, ElastiCache for Memcached is a better option than the Redis engine as it’s easier to set up, offers large nodes, and you can scale the features in or out.
Whenever you access a website, you generate a unique session ID that ties your online activities to you. This unique ID and its data must be protected, so organizations enforce measures to keep this data secure without compromising the browser or web app’s functionality.
Organizations and site owners can use this unique ID to learn about user interests and deliver relevant content.
Caching is one such measure for achieving this. With ElastiCache, even in high-traffic web applications, your page load speed doesn’t suffer, user data stays safe, and return visitors will have no issue re-accessing a page.
E-commerce sites can rely on ElastiCache to keep up with customers’ requests for pricing information, product catalogs, and past purchases without digging through a database. The cloud caching tool stores such information temporarily and updates the information as trends change.
In doing this, the site’s server doesn’t have to bear all the load of keeping up with site traffic and online transactions while customers enjoy personalized shopping experiences. The result? Faster service delivery, increased conversion rates, and more sales.
ElastiCache’s ability to detect increasing app usage and increase its features means app performance doesn’t suffer as your user base grows. Instead, it delivers high throughput for your application, and your cache clusters expand as the platform automatically allocates extra cache nodes to provide more storage.
Real-time data processing and analytics
Most tools that store data also have some mechanism for making sense of the data in its custody, and ElastiCache is not an exception. So, let’s break down ElastiCache’s range of data processing and analytics features.
Users of ElastiCache for Redis can create a dashboard on the platform that tracks choice metrics. For instance, an e-commerce store can set up a dashboard displaying its monthly revenue, daily sales, and site visits using Redis commands.
Leaderboards and counting
A combination of ElastiCache’s sub-millisecond latency rate and data caching features makes it relevant to gaming that needs real-time updates on metrics like player engagement, scoreboard, and downloads. The same applies to social media platforms that need to update metrics like shares, views, likes, and comments for their users.
IoT data streams
IoT devices generate large volumes of data, making it challenging to sort through, analyze, and use their insights for decision-making. However, ElastiCache proves that it’s up to the task with its wide range of features that provide the following benefits:
- Protection: Data stays encrypted and safe in a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC).
- Availability: Creating read replicas of your cache clusters in multiple Availability Zones (AZ) with an assurance of fewer than two minutes of downtime daily, thanks to its 99.99% Service Level Agreement(SLA). In addition to the data backups and automatic failover in the event of a primary node failure.
- Data processing: Its sub-millisecond processing speed delivers low latency.
ElastiCache for Redis is compatible with geospatial applications, as users can set up multiple AZ cache instances to work with data spread across different regions.
For example, location-based services like rideshare companies can use its Redis commands to track the nearest available driver for a user.
Infrastructure and backend optimization
Much of what we’ve discussed about ElastiCache points to its frontend benefit, but your backup setup can also benefit from this caching service.
Messaging and queuing systems
ElastiCache can be a message broker for setting up messaging and queuing systems. Its setup enables caching messages in memory, so the messaging systems don’t get overwhelmed with the volume of messages and fast data transfer between the applications.
Machine learning model serving
Machine learning models need the proper backend support to thrive, which is why feature stores exist. A feature store is a key infrastructure supporting ML model deployment. You can build them on ElastiCache Redis, which delivers low latency, enabling the ML models to make quicker inferences and predictions.
ElastiCache has an inbuilt publish/subscribe mechanism, allowing service providers to communicate asynchronously. While this feature can be gotten from other platforms, setting it up on Amazon ElastiCache offers a more scalable solution, integrates with other services, and offers real-time analytics.
Gaming companies focusing on elements like traction, likeability, and business value can leverage Elasticache for:
- Updating the leaderboard
- Storing game progress through data caching
- Managing game states, i.e., transition to different levels by providing low latency
- Ensuring smooth multi-player interaction by synchronizing data across different servers
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ElastiCache uses a billing model that charges you based on the data you store, node type, and the computation your allocation uses. However, that’s not the most efficient way to reduce AWS costs. Leaning on the expert team at ProsperOps is a smarter way of achieving cost efficiency.
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