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What is Caching and How Does it Work?

By March 27, 2017 No Comments

Cache memory is an integral part of a system’s memory, but few actually understand what it is and how it functions. Many people ask the question “what is caching and how does it work?” In this article, we will answer this question and explain in detail how caching works in browsers and in intelligent storage systems.

What is Caching

So Exactly What Is Caching and How Does It Work?

  • Cache memory is a fast and small-sized type of computer memory which stores the most recently used main memory data from computer programs and applications. Often called memory cache or CPU cache, this memory is the fastest memory on a computer. It is often integrated into the processor or random access memory (RAM).
  • Cache memory was invented to solve the problem of slow retrieval of data from the main memory or hard disk. Cache memory stores frequently used data on the principle that recently used data is more likely to be used again. So when the processor requests data that is already in the cached memory (meaning it has been used before), it can access the cached data faster.
  • When a requested set of data is already in the cached memory, that is called a cache hit. If it’s not there, it is referred to as cache miss. The more caching hits the processor has, the faster data retrieval is.

How Cache Works In Browsers

If you have noticed before that when loading a web page for the first time takes longer than the second, third, and then the following times. This is a browsers or websites cache in action. Each browser has its own web cache wherein copies of the web page files are stored locally for quick access later on. This is how caching works in browser.

Web cache saves you time when loading the same resource after the first time you have loaded it. It also saves bandwidth by reducing the amount of data that you will request.

There are various cache memory controllers or those that control what gets cached or not. The Cache-Control specs dictate which files get cached and for how long they will be cached.

How Cache Works In Intelligent Storage Systems

What Is Caching and How Does It Work?Most business-critical applications require high-speed performance, security, scale-ability, and availability. All things that a standard hard disk drive cannot satisfy. To solve this, RAID technologies were invented to enhance storage performance and reliability. However, even hard disk drives with RAID arrays could not meet the high-performance requirements of modern applications.

This is where intelligent storage systems come in. Intelligent storage systems are systems that have highly optimized input/output (I/O) processing capabilities. These systems control the allocation, management, and use of storage resources for faster data processing. These storage systems run with large amounts of cached memory and sophisticated algorithms to meet the I/O demands of even the most intensive applications.

An intelligent storage system has four parts: the front-end, cache storage, back end, and physical disks. Here we will focus on how cache works in intelligent storage system.

Just like how cache works in browser, cache in intelligent storage systems makes it faster to retrieve data after the first search. Each writes to the cache memory is stored in two different memory storage and memory cards and consists of the tag RAM and the data store. The tag RAM tracks the location of the data in the physical disks while the data store holds the data that is being written or read. The duplicate serves as a backup if the cache fails in one location. These processes speed up the IO processes and dramatically reduces the number of mechanical disk operations.

Summary:

Cache memory is primarily used to speed up the data retrieval processes in a processor. How cache works in a browser and how cache works in an intelligent storage system shows that an efficient caching system can significantly improve the data processing of a system.