Sunday, June 7, 2015

Finding the best in-memory LRU cache for Java/Scala

For one of our application we were standing before a decision - for every request we need to do a remote call. But doing so would increase our response time significantly. Fortunately, these calls can be easily cached and it can be fitted into RAM so we were not forced to use some external cache like Memcached.

So we were looking for a cache implementation on top of JVM (preferably Java 8 or Scala) and I was surprised how many good looking possibilities exists.
  • There is a cache as a part of Hystrix but that is only PWR (per web request)
  • Guava contains a Cache that looks very promising and has most of the features we were looking for
  • After some research our winner was Caffeine with a very nice documentation and API. By the way, this cache is also used in Spray

And how did we use it? First of all, we wanted a LRU cache. So cache that will be able to operate with a limited size (of RAM) and throw away the least important item when the size goes beyond a treshold.

Strongly inspired by the Spray implementation, this is how our Caffeine integration (in Scala) looks like:
package com.avast.someproject.crosscutting.cache

import com.github.benmanes.caffeine.cache.Caffeine

import scala.concurrent.{ExecutionContext, Future, Promise}

class CaffeineCache[V](cacheName: String, val maxCapacity: Int, val initialCapacity: Int) extends Cache[V] {
 private val store: com.github.benmanes.caffeine.cache.Cache[Object, Future[V]] = Caffeine.newBuilder()

 override def get(key: Object): Option[Future[V]] = {
   val valueFromCache = store.getIfPresent(key)
   if (valueFromCache == null) None else Some(valueFromCache)

 override def get(key: Object, genValue: Object ⇒ Future[V])(implicit ec: ExecutionContext): Future[V] = {
   val promise = Promise[V]()
   store.get(key, (key:Object) => promise.future) match {
     case null => Future { throw new RuntimeException("Unable to retrieve value from cache") }
     case futureResult if futureResult == promise.future => {
       val future = genValue(key)
       future.onComplete { value ⇒
         // in case of exceptions we remove the cache entry (i.e. try again later)
         if (value.isFailure) {
     case futureResult => {


  1. Please consider using AsyncLoadingCache with the scala-java8-compat bridge (FutureConverters). If you want to ensure the processing thread is on the ExecutionContext, you can bridge that to a Java Executor and provide it to the cache's builder. By letting the cache handle the asynchronous logic you simplify your code and avoid minor mistakes (e.g. incorrect statistics). For style, you can use an import renaming to avoid the class name clash on Cache.

    Spray uses a original library so they added asynchronous computations feature manually. That library begat Guava's, where asynchronous support and performance fixes were planned but never happened. Thanks to Java 8, there was an excuse to give it another shot in Caffeine. I'm glad its working out for you.


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