Introducing a New ScaleOut Java Client API

11.08.22

Topics : Featured, Programming Techniques

Scalable Distributed Caching for Cloud-Based Applications

by Brandon Ripley, Senior Software Engineer

ScaleOut Software introduces a new Java client API for our distributed caching platform, ScaleOut StateServer®, that adds important new features for Java applications. It was designed with cloud-based deployments in mind, enabling clients to access ScaleOut in-memory data grids (IMDGs also called distributed caches) in multiple availability zones. It introduces the use of connection strings with DNS support for connecting Java clients to IMDGs, and it allows multiple, simultaneous connections to different caches. It also includes asynchronous APIs that add flexibility to application development.

You can download the JAR for the client API from ScaleOut’s Maven repository at  https://repo.scaleoutsoftware.com. Simply connect your build tool to the repository and reference the API as a dependency to get started. The online User Guide can help you setup a project. Alternatively, you can download the JAR directly from the repo and then host the JAR with your build tool of choice. You can find an API reference here.

Let’s take a brief tour of the new Java APIs and look at an example using Docker for accessing multiple IMDGs.

A Quick Tour of the Java Client

The ScaleOut client API for Java lets client applications store and retrieve POJOs (plain old java objects) from a ScaleOut IMDG and provides an easy to use, fast, cloud-ready caching API. It can be used within any web application and is independent of any framework. This means that you can use the ScaleOut client API within your existing application architecture.

To simplify the developer experience, the API is logically divided into three primary packages:

Client Package

The client package houses the GridConnection class for connecting to a ScaleOut IMDG via a connection string. Each instance of GridConnection maintains a set of TCP connections to a ScaleOut cache and transparently handles retries, host failures, and load balancing.

The client package is also the place to register for event handling. ScaleOut servers can fire events for objects that are expiring and events for backing store operations (that is, read-through, refresh-ahead, write-behind, and erase-behind). The ServiceEvents class is used to register an event handler for events fired by the grid.

Caching Package

The caching package contains the strongly typed Cache<K,V> class that is used for all caching operations to store and retrieve POJOs of type V using a key of type K from a name space within the IMDG. All caching operations return a CacheResponse that details the result of the cache access.

For example, a successful access that adds a value to the cache using:

cache.add(key, value)

returns a CacheResponse with the status ObjectAdded, which can be obtained by calling the CacheResponse.getStatus() method. However, if the cache already contained an object for the key and the access was called again, CacheResponse.getStatus() would return ObjectAlreadyExists. (See the Javadoc for all possible responses.)

Query Package

The query package lets you perform queries to select objects from the IMDG. Queries are constructed using query filters created using the FilterFactory class. A filter can consist of a simple equality predicate, or it can combine multiple predicates to query with finer granularity.

Sample Applications

The following samples show how the ScaleOut Java client API can be used within a microservices architecture to access cached data and process events. The client API make it easy to develop modern web applications.

In these samples we will:

  • Write an application that connects to two ScaleOut IMDGs to store and retrieve objects. (The two caches are configured to replicate data to each other using ScaleOut GeoServer®.)
  • Write a second application that registers for and handles ScaleOut expiration events.
  • Create four dockerfiles: the caching application, the expiration event handling application, and two ScaleOut IMDGs.
  • Use the Docker compose command to spawn all four containers and run the two applications.

You can find the full samples, including the dockerfiles, on GitHub. Let’s look at the code for these two applications.

Accessing Multiple IMDGs

The first application’s goal is to verify ScaleOut GeoServer replication between two IMDGs. It first connects to the two IMDGs, creates an instance of Cache(K,V) for each IMDG, and then performs accesses.

The application connects to the grid using the GridConnection.connect() static method to instantiate a GridConnection object for each IMDG (named store1 and store2 here):

GridConnection store1Connection = GridConnection.connect("bootstrapGateways=store1:2721");
GridConnection store2Connection = GridConnection.connect("bootstrapGateways=store2:3721");

The next step is to create an instance of Cache(K,V) for each IMDG. Caches are instantiated with a GridConnection which associates the instance with a specific IMDG. This allows different instances to connect to different IMDGs.

The Java client API uses a builder pattern to instantiate caches. For applications using dependency injection, the immutable cache guarantees that the defaults we set at build time will stay consistent for the lifetime of the app. This is great for large applications with many caches as it guarantees there will be no unexpected modifications.

On the builder we can specify properties for defaults. Here is an example that sets an object timeout of fifteen seconds and a timeout type of Absolute (versus ResetOnUpdate or Sliding). The string “example” specifies the cache’s name space:

Cache<Integer, String> store1Cache = new CacheBuilder<Integer, String>(store1Connection, "example", Integer.class)  
       .objectTimeout(Duration.ofSeconds(15))         
       .timeoutType(TimeoutType.Absolute)        
       .build();

The Cache(K,V) class has multiple signatures for storing and retrieving objects from the IMDG. These signatures follow traditional Java naming semantics for distributed caching. For example, the add(key,value) method assumes that no key/value object mapping exists in the cache, whereas update(key,value) assumes than a key/value mapping exists in the cache.

This application uses the add method to insert an item into store1Cache and then checks the response for success. Here’s a code sample that adds two items to the cache:

CacheResponse<String, String> addResponse = store1Cache.add(“MyKey”, "SomeValue");         
if(addResponse.getStatus() != RequestStatus.ObjectAdded)
    System.out.println("Unexpected request status " + response.getStatus()); 

addResponse = store1Cache.add(“MyFavoriteKey”, "MyFavoriteValue");        
if(addResponse.getStatus() != RequestStatus.ObjectAdded)
    System.out.println("Unexpected request status " + response.getStatus());

The application’s goal is to verify that ScaleOut GeoServer replicates stored objects from the store1 IMDG to store2. It creates an instance of Cache(K,V) for the same namespace on store2 and then attempts to retrieve the object with the read API:

CacheResponse<String, String> readResponse = store2Cache.read(“Key”);        
 if(readResponse.getStatus() != RequestStatus.ObjectAdded)
    System.out.println("Unexpected request status " + response.getStatus());

Registering for Events

This sample application demonstrates how an application can have fine grain control over which objects will be removed from the IMDG after a time interval elapses. With the object timeout and timeout-type properties established, objects added to the IMDG will be subject to expiration. When an object expires, the ScaleOut grid will fire an expiration event.

Our application can register to handle expiration events by supplying an instance of Cache(K,V) and an appropriate lambda (or implementing class) to the ServiceEvents static method. The following code removes all objects other than a cache entry mapping with the key, “MyFavoriteKey”:

ServiceEvents.setExpirationHandler(cache, new CacheEntryExpirationHandler<Integer, String>() {       
    @Override
    public CacheEntryDisposition handleExpirationEvent(Cache<Integer, String> cache, String key) {               
        System.out.println("ObjectExpired: " + key);                 
        if(key.compareTo(“MyFavoriteKey”) == 0)                            
            return CacheEntryDisposition.Save;                  
        return CacheEntryDisposition.Remove;        
}});

Running the Applications

We’ve created code snippets for connecting to a ScaleOut grid, creating a cache, and registering for ScaleOut expiration events. We can put all these pieces together to create the two applications with two Java classes called CacheRunner and CacheExpirationListener.

CacheRunner connects to two ScaleOut IMDGs that are setup for push replication using ScaleOut GeoServer. (This is handled by the infrastructure via the dockerfiles and not done in code.) It creates an instance of Cache(K,V) associated with one of the IMDG (called store1) that has a very small absolute timeout for each object and another instance for the other IMDG (called store2). It stores an object in store1 and then retrieves it from store2 to verify that the object was pushed from one IMDG to the other.

Here is the code for CacheRunner:

package com.scaleout.caching.sample;

import com.scaleout.client.GridConnectException;
import com.scaleout.client.GridConnection;
import com.scaleout.client.caching.*;

import java.time.Duration;

public class CacheRunner {
    public static void main(String[] args) throws CacheException, GridConnectException {
        System.out.println("Connecting to store 1...");
        GridConnection store1Connection = GridConnection.connect("bootstrapGateways=store1:2721");

        System.out.println("Connecting to store 2...");
        GridConnection store2Connection = GridConnection.connect("bootstrapGateways=store2:3721");

        Cache<String, String> store1Cache = new CacheBuilder<String, String>(store1Connection, "sample", String.class)
            .geoServerPushPolicy(GeoServerPushPolicy.AllowReplication)
            .objectTimeout(Duration.ofSeconds(15))
            .objectTimeoutType(TimeoutType.Absolute)
            .build();

        Cache<String, String> store2Cache = new CacheBuilder<String, String>(store2Connection, "sample", String.class)
            .build();

        System.out.println("Adding object to cache in store 1!");
        CacheResponse<String, String> addResponse = store1Cache.add("MyKey", "MyValue");
        System.out.println("Object " + ((addResponse.getStatus() == RequestStatus.ObjectAdded ? "added" : "not added.")) 
            + " to cache in store 1.");

        addResponse = store1Cache.add("MyFavoriteKey", "MyFavoriteValue");
        System.out.println("Object " + ((addResponse.getStatus() == RequestStatus.ObjectAdded ? "added" : "not added.")) 
            + " to cache in store 1.");

        System.out.println("Reading object from cache in store 2!");
        CacheResponse<String,String> readResponse = store2Cache.read("foo");
        System.out.println("Object " + ((readResponse.getStatus() == RequestStatus.ObjectRetrieved ? 
            "retrieved" : "not retrieved.")) + " from cache in store 2.");
    }
}

CacheExpirationListener connects to one ScaleOut IMDG, create an instance of Cache(K,V), and registers for expiration events. Here is its code:

package com.scaleout.caching.sample;

import com.scaleout.client.GridConnectException;
import com.scaleout.client.GridConnection;
import com.scaleout.client.ServiceEvents;
import com.scaleout.client.ServiceEventsException;
import com.scaleout.client.caching.*;

import java.io.IOException;
import java.time.Duration;
import java.util.concurrent.CountDownLatch;

public class ExpirationListener {
    public static void main(String[] args) throws ServiceEventsException, IOException, InterruptedException, 
                            GridConnectException {
        GridConnection store1Connection = GridConnection.connect("bootstrapGateways=store1:2721");

        Cache<String, String> store1Cache = new CacheBuilder<String, String>(store1Connection, "sample", String.class)
                .geoServerPushPolicy(GeoServerPushPolicy.AllowReplication)
                .objectTimeout(Duration.ofSeconds(15))
                .objectTimeoutType(TimeoutType.Absolute)
                .build();

        ServiceEvents.setExpirationHandler(store1Cache, new CacheEntryExpirationHandler<String, String>() {
            @Override
            public CacheEntryDisposition handleExpirationEvent(Cache<String, String> cache, String key) {
                CacheEntryDisposition disposition = CacheEntryDisposition.NotHandled;
                System.out.printf("Object (%s) expired\n", key);
                if(key.equals("MyFavoriteKey"))
                    disposition = CacheEntryDisposition.Save;
                else disposition = CacheEntryDisposition.Remove;
                return disposition;
            }
        });
    }
}

To run these applications, we’ll use the Docker compose command to build Docker containers. We will have 4 services, each defined in their own respective dockerfile, which are all provided and available on the GitHub repo. You can clone the repository and then run the deployment with the following command:

docker-compose -f ./docker-compose.yml up -d –build

Here is the expected output for CacheRunner:

Adding object to cache in store 1!
Object added to cache in store 1.
Object added to cache in store 1.
Reading object from cache in store 2!
Object retrieved. from cache in store 2.

Here is the output for ExpirationListener:

Connected to store1!
Object (MyFavoriteKey) expired
Object (MyKey) expired

Summing Up

The new ScaleOut client API for Java adds important features that support the development of modern web and cloud applications. Built-in support for connection strings enables simultaneous connections to multiple IMDGs using DNS entries. Full support for asynchronous accesses also assists in application development. Let us know what you think with your comments on our community forum.

 

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