Layers of Caching: Key to scaling your website

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Scheduled: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 from 1:45 – 2:30pm in Hawthorne


Caching is essential to ensuring that your website will survive a large spike in traffic. With so many different forms of caching, how are you supposed to know what works and why you should use it? The key is layering your site with several forms of caching.


Caching is essentially a way of keeping the most used parts of a website in memory so that it gets served quickly. This will reduce CPU and I/O overhead and thus make the site very fast. Unfortunately this doesn’t happen magically without some extra work.

This talk will cover the several layers that you should know about how they improve the sites speed. Some of these will include:

  • Squid / mod_cache (disk backed caching)
  • memcached
  • APC & other opcode caching
  • Application level caching
  • Configuring Apache properly
  • Solutions for python & ruby

I will also go over how we utilize caching on the Drupal infrastructure which is hosted at the OSL along with other real world examples.

Speaking experience


  • Lance oscon12

    Lance Albertson

    OSU Open Source Lab


    Lance Albertson is the Director for the Oregon State University Open Source Lab and has been involved with the Gentoo Linux project as a developer and package maintainer since 2003. Since joining the OSUOSL in 2007, Lance has managed all of the hosting activities that the OSL provides for nearly 160 high-profile open source projects. He was recently promoted to Director in early 2013 after being the Lead Systems Administration and Architect since 2007.

    Prior to joining the OSUOSL, Lance was a UNIX Administrator for the Enterprise Server Technologies group at Kansas State University. Lance prepared for life as a career systems administrator by grappling with natural systems first, joining his father near Hiawatha, Kansas on the family farm growing corn and soybeans.

    In his free time he helps organize Beaver BarCamp and plays trumpet in a local jazz group The Infallible Collective. He holds a B.A. in Agriculture Technology Management from Kansas State University, where he minored in Agronomy and Computer Science.


  • Narayan Newton

    Tag1 Consulting/Drupal Association/Open Source Lab


    Narayan Newton is a partner at Tag1 Consulting, one of the two leading Drupal Performance Groups and the founding member of the “Drupal Performance Agency,” a loose collection of the best Drupal Performance Consultants. He is currently working for multiple clients helping them launch enterprise-scale Drupal sites. Narayan is a specialist in:

    • Memcache Integration
    • Reverse Proxy Caching
    • APC Caching
    • Apache Performance
    • JavaScript Aggregation
    • CSS Aggregration
    • SQL Query Optimization
    • MySQL Database Systems
    • Linux VFS Tuning

    Narayan Newton (nnewton) is the Server Coordinator for the Drupal Association and a General Assembly member for the Association.