Yuchen Wu

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Why We Started Putting Unpopular Assets in Memory

Why We Started Putting Unpopular Assets in Memory
Fun lede about why we write unpopular cache assets to memory.
Why We Started Putting Unpopular Assets in Memory

Part of Cloudflare's service is a CDN that makes millions of Internet properties faster and more reliable by caching web assets closer to browsers and end users.

We make improvements to our infrastructure to make end-user experiences faster, more secure, and more reliable all the time. Here’s a case study of one such engineering effort where something counterintuitive turned out to be the right approach.

Our storage layer, which serves millions of cache hits per second globally, is powered by high IOPS NVMe SSDs.

Although SSDs are fast and reliable, cache hit tail latency within our system is dominated by the IO capacity of our SSDs. Moreover, because flash memory chips wear out, a non-negligible portion of our operational cost, including the cost of new devices, shipment, labor and downtime, is spent on replacing dead SSDs.

Recently, we developed a technology that reduces our hit tail latency and reduces the wear out of SSDs. This technology is a memory-SSD hybrid storage system that puts unpopular assets in memory.

The end result: cache hits from our infrastructure are now faster for all customers.

You may have thought that was a Continue reading