Cache slam defense using a semaphore to prevent dogpile effect.

Related tags

Caching php caching


PHP cache slam defense using a semaphore to prevent dogpile effect (aka clobbering updates, stampending herd or Slashdot effect).

Problem: too many requests hit your website at the same time while it tries to regenerate same content slamming your database, eg. when cache expired.

Solution: first request generates new content while all the subsequent requests get (stale) content from cache until it's refreshed by the first request.

Read for more details.

Scrutinizer Code Quality Build Status


In composer.json file:

"require": {
  "sobstel/metaphore": "1.2.*"

or just composer require sobstel/metaphore


use Metaphore\Cache;
use Metaphore\Store\MemcachedStore;

// initialize $memcached object (new Memcached())

$cache = new Cache(new MemcachedStore($memcached));
$cache->cache('key', function() {
    // generate content
}, 30);

Public API (methods)

  • __construct(ValueStoreInterface $valueStore, LockManager $lockManager = null)

  • cache($key, callable $callable, [$ttl, [$onNoStaleCacheCallable]]) - returns result

  • delete($key)

  • getValue($key) - returns Value object

  • setResult($key, $result, Ttl $ttl) - sets result (without anti-dogpile-effect mechanism)

  • onNoStaleCache($callable)

  • getValueStore()

  • getLockManager()

Value store vs lock store

Cache values and locks can be handled by different stores.

$valueStore = new Metaphore\MemcachedStore($memcached);

$lockStore = new Your\Custom\MySQLLockStore($connection);
$lockManager = new Metaphore\LockManager($lockStore);

$cache = new Metaphore\Cache($valueStore, $lockManager);

By default - if no 2nd argument passed to Cache constructor - value store is used as a lock store.

Sample use case might be to have custom MySQL GET_LOCK/RELEASE_LOCK for locks and still use in-built Memcached store for storing values.


You can pass simple integer value...

$cache->cache('key', callback, 30); // cache for 30 secs

.. or use more advanced Metaphore\TTl object, which gives you control over grace period and lock ttl.

// $ttl, $grace_ttl, $lock_ttl
$ttl = new Ttl(30, 60, 15);

$cache->cache('key', callback, $ttl);
  • $ttl - regular cache time (in seconds)
  • $grace_ttl - grace period, how long to allow to serve stale content while new one is being generated (in seconds), similar to HTTP's stale-while-revalidate, default is 60s
  • $lock_ttl - lock time, how long to prevent other request(s) from generating same content, default is 5s

Ttl value is added to current timestamp (time() + $ttl).

No stale cache

In rare situations, when cache gets expired and there's no stale (generated earlier) content available, all requests will start generating new content.

You can add listener to catch this:

$cache->onNoStaleCache(function (NoStaleCacheEvent $event) {
    Logger::log(sprintf('no stale cache detected for key %s', $event->getKey()));

You can also affect value that is returned:

$cache->onNoStaleCache(function (NoStaleCacheEvent $event) {
    $event->setResult('new custom result');


Run all tests: phpunit.

If no memcached or/and redis installed: phpunit --exclude-group=notisolated or phpunit --exclude-group=memcached,redis.

  • Revise logic behind determining ttl for lock

    Revise logic behind determining ttl for lock

    Currently it's a half of grace_ttl. More a guess, and not logical really. Don't have a better idea for now though.

    It's important for cases when first request fails for some reason. New content is not generated while lock is not released.

        public function getLockTtl()
            if (!isset($this->lockTtl)) {
                // educated guess (remove lock early enough so if anything goes wrong
                // with first process, another one can pick up)
                // SMELL: a bit problematic, why $grace_ttl/2 ???
                $this->lockTtl = max(1, (int)($this->getGraceTtl()/2));
            return $this->lockTtl;
    opened by sobstel 3
  • Dead lock issue

    Dead lock issue

    In case of fatal error, server restart... we can have a situation of dead lock issue.

    Why not putting a ttl in the lock data and in case cache is not regenerating until this ttl, another thread is allow to get the lock and generate the cache.

    opened by lchenay 2
  • Add FilePhpStore Class

    Add FilePhpStore Class

    Save the file in php with: deny access from web-browser.

    It is based on the FileStore class.

    use Metaphore\Cache;
    use Metaphore\Store\FilePhpStore;
    $cache = new Cache(new FilePhpStore('data/')); 
    $cache->cache('key', function() {
    	}, 60);

    folder result:

    | + - data/
      | + - 3c6e0b8a9c15224a8228b9a98ca1531d.php
    opened by dziul 1
  • Ttl issue when it's timestamp (ttl > 30days)

    Ttl issue when it's timestamp (ttl > 30days)

    Hi, i'm using your nice library for our platform and i notice an issue :

    When we set a ttl > 30days, your class Ttl convert in unix timestamp the value, then at the moment of save with setResult you add again time(). Obviously it will not work if the value is already a unix timestamp

    $obj->cache('aa', function({ return 'aaa'}, (time() + 24*60*60*365))) => ttl generated : 2979400318 instead of 1505468441

    @edit : my mistake i just realize your library handle this and i should not set the timestamp but only seconds :)

    opened by kruggs 1
  • fix getting value from non existing key from redis

    fix getting value from non existing key from redis

    Metaphore relies on 'false' type to mark result value as non existing

    Redis will return NULL when key does not exist

    That's why there is a need to cast null to false when getting value from redis

    opened by peengle 0
  • pcntl_fork


    Have you considered implementing pcntl_fork for the callback functions? That might avoid freezing the callback request to the client that currently is "unstaling" the result.

    opened by larcho 1
  • Consider PSR-6 compatibility

    Consider PSR-6 compatibility

    Standard cache interface (will be PSR-6) has got similar concepts to metaphore:

    • CacheItemInterface resembles Value object
    • CacheItemPoolInterface indicates cache storage mechanism, like Memcache

    PSR-6 is not finalized (official) yet, but the approach seems to be discussed and decided already. Due to similarities I though it might be beneficial to be forward-compatible, heck even be the first implementation.

    Up to discussion.

    opened by adambro 4
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