James Legan James Legan - 19 days ago 9
C# Question

MemoryCache Thread Safety, Is Locking Necessary?

For starters let me just throw it out there that I know the code below is not thread safe (correction: might be). What I am struggling with is finding an implementation that is and one that I can actually get to fail under test. I am refactoring a large WCF project right now that needs some (mostly) static data cached and its populated from a SQL database. It needs to expire and "refresh" at least once a day which is why I am using MemoryCache.

I know that the code below should not be thread safe but I cannot get it to fail under heavy load and to complicate matters a google search shows implementations both ways (with and without locks combined with debates whether or not they are necessary.

Could someone with knowledge of MemoryCache in a multi threaded environment let me definitively know whether or not I need to lock where appropriate so that a call to remove (which will seldom be called but its a requirement) will not throw during retrieval/repopulation.

public class MemoryCacheService : IMemoryCacheService
{
private const string PunctuationMapCacheKey = "punctuationMaps";
private static readonly ObjectCache Cache;
private readonly IAdoNet _adoNet;

static MemoryCacheService()
{
Cache = MemoryCache.Default;
}

public MemoryCacheService(IAdoNet adoNet)
{
_adoNet = adoNet;
}

public void ClearPunctuationMaps()
{
Cache.Remove(PunctuationMapCacheKey);
}

public IEnumerable GetPunctuationMaps()
{
if (Cache.Contains(PunctuationMapCacheKey))
{
return (IEnumerable) Cache.Get(PunctuationMapCacheKey);
}

var punctuationMaps = GetPunctuationMappings();

if (punctuationMaps == null)
{
throw new ApplicationException("Unable to retrieve punctuation mappings from the database.");
}

if (punctuationMaps.Cast<IPunctuationMapDto>().Any(p => p.UntaggedValue == null || p.TaggedValue == null))
{
throw new ApplicationException("Null values detected in Untagged or Tagged punctuation mappings.");
}

// Store data in the cache
var cacheItemPolicy = new CacheItemPolicy
{
AbsoluteExpiration = DateTime.Now.AddDays(1.0)
};

Cache.AddOrGetExisting(PunctuationMapCacheKey, punctuationMaps, cacheItemPolicy);

return punctuationMaps;
}

//Go oldschool ADO.NET to break the dependency on the entity framework and need to inject the database handler to populate cache
private IEnumerable GetPunctuationMappings()
{
var table = _adoNet.ExecuteSelectCommand("SELECT [id], [TaggedValue],[UntaggedValue] FROM [dbo].[PunctuationMapper]", CommandType.Text);
if (table != null && table.Rows.Count != 0)
{
return AutoMapper.Mapper.DynamicMap<IDataReader, IEnumerable<PunctuationMapDto>>(table.CreateDataReader());
}

return null;
}
}

Answer

The default MS-provided MemoryCache is entirely thread safe. Any custom implementation that derives from MemoryCache may not be thread safe. If you're using plain MemoryCache out of the box, it is thread safe. Browse the source code of my open source distributed caching solution to see how I use it (MemCache.cs):

https://github.com/haneytron/dache/blob/master/Dache.CacheHost/Storage/MemCache.cs

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