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In-Role Cache for Windows Azure Cache

In-Role Cache on Windows Azure Cache allows you to host Cache within your Azure roles. This cache can be used by any roles within the same cloud service deployment.

Cache provides several benefits to application developers. Cache increases performance by temporarily storing information from other backend sources. High performance is achieved by maintaining this cache in-memory across multiple cache servers. For a Windows Azure solution, Cache can reduce the costs and increase the scalability of other storage services such as SQL Database or Azure storage. ASP.NET applications can use Cache for the common scenario of session state and output caching.

There are two main deployment topologies for In-Role Cache: dedicated and co-located. In the dedicated topology, you define a worker role that is dedicated to Cache. This means that all of the worker role's available memory is used for the Cache and operating overhead. In a co-located topology, you use a percentage of available memory on application roles for Cache. For example, you could assign 20% of the physical memory for Cache on each web role instance. In both cases, you only pay for the Compute services required for the running role instances. For more information, see In-Role Cache FAQ (Windows Azure Cache).

The ability to host Cache on Windows Azure roles was officially released in the October 2012 release of the Windows Azure SDK. This is now a fully supported feature of Windows Azure Cache. To use Cache on roles, download the latest Windows Azure SDK and tools from the Windows Azure website.

Windows Azure Shared Caching is another option for using Cache in a Windows Azure application. Shared Caching is separate service where Cache is consumed as a managed service. Shared Caching enables you to register a cache through the Windows Azure Management Portal. Theses caches do not reside on your own roles. Instead, they reside on a group of servers in a multitenant environment. You can access your cache with a Service URL and Authentication token from the Management Portal. In this model, you pay for one of several cache offerings that vary in memory, bandwidth, transactions, and client connections. For more information, see Windows Azure Shared Caching.

For a good overview of Windows Azure Cache and caching concepts, watch the following two TechEd 2012 talks.

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