Introducing Computing Into Your Data Grid

It might be possible that your data grid’s potential is being utilized very insignificantly. Having it efficiently running as a distributed cache, the most intelligent features are staying idle, and your data grid actually is running in a passive mode.
Introducing a simple computing into your data grid could be really simple and extremely beneficial from performance and functional perspectives.

Time To Live

It’s very important to keep the cached data up-to-date, so here is an important question to answer:

How long your cached object is supposed to live in the data grid?

Obviously, it depends on your business case, and it’s being specified in your data grid configuration:


This specified Time To Live (TTL) value means that all items stored in this distributed cache will be cached for 1 minute. After that time it will be evicted, and the most recent version of the data should be loaded to the data grid on demand.

And it works fine until you realised that some part of your data is not being updated frequently. In 1 minute exactly the same version of an item could be reloaded. Which is obviously waisting of your server’s resources.

To get it fixed (or at least improved) you might want to specify a custom TTL for every single cached object, depending on some proven business rules.

Business Rules

You supposed to make a detailed research and to come up with business rules to be applied to your custom TTL computing. For example, having inventory stock information you can check how fast a most popular product could be sold out. And as a result defined threshold values could be used in your business rules’ implementation. E.g:


For default TTL you can use your configured expiry-delay from data grid configuration settings.


With Oracle Coherence data grid introducing of a custom computing could be as simple as overriding the backing map schema’s implementation:

package com.viktarx;

public class MyInventoryReadWriteCacheMap extends ReadWriteBackingMap {

    // parent constructors are ommited

    protected long extractExpiry(Entry entry) {
        return ((InventoryPofObject) entry.getValue()).stockLevel()
                < THRESHOLD
                ? super.extractExpiry(entry)
                : stockLevel / THRESHOLD * super.extractExpiry(entry);

A reference to this custom backing map class should be specified in the xml configuration of the cache:

		<!-- remain configuration is ommited -->

And that’s it - now your data grid will calculate a custom TTL for every newly cached item before putting it to the backing map storage.

Some Limitations

Unfortunately, in case you’re using Oracle Coherence 12.2 version, there is no easy way to provide additional configuration to make your business rules more flexible.
Per Oracle’s documentation it could be done with <init-param> tag in your cache’s configuration description. However, it seems it’s not supported any more.

Efficiency and Benefits

There are few points you have to keep in mind with introducing a custom computation into your distributed data grid:

  1. Computing operations should be blazing fast.
    Otherwise, you might introduce a performance degradation to loading the data functionality.
  2. Your cached data should be actual and relevant.
    Playing around custom cache settings, such as computing of expiry-delay value, could affect your end-users’ experience if the cached data got critically outdated.


With introducing a computing into your data grid you can get your application offloaded from some routine computation.
Also, it could decouple some application’s functionality turning your passive data storage into a powerful data-processing service.

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