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Velocity CTP 3 is available

Good news, the 3rd community technology preview of Microsoft’s offering on Caching is out. You can download it here. If you haven’t looked at it yet, now is a good time to start. If on the other hand you’ve already played with it (like me) here’s what’s new in this version.

Cache Notifications
Using cache notifications, the object in the local cache automatically invalidates as soon as it is notified that the object has changed. Get notified when a cached object is added, replaced, or removed, a region is added, cleared, or removed from the cache. Specifying an event-triggered task is now possible with cache notifications.

Performance Improvements
Throughput, latency, and memory usage have been further optimized to improve performance of applications.

Security Enhancements
The cache host Windows service now runs under a lower-privileged account: Network Service. To simplify deployment, the installation program now helps to configure the permissions of installation folders and the cluster configuration storage location. You still need to be an administrator on the cache servers and cluster configuration storage location in order to install “Velocity.”

New Cluster Management Options
Previously, only lead hosts could manage the cache cluster operations. Now, when using SQL Server to store the cluster configuration information, you have the option to let SQL Server perform the cluster management role instead of the lead hosts. This option improves supportability and availability of the cluster, eliminating the possibility of the cluster going down due to an insufficient number of (running) lead hosts.

Updates to the Installation Program
To streamline deployment, the installation program now supports automated installation for the cache host.

Cluster Configuration Editing Options Decoupled from Storage Options
Previously, how you chose to store your cluster configuration settings in the cluster configuration storage location dictated the options available to you for editing those configuration settings. Now, regardless of where you store your cluster settings, you can change those settings with the PowerShell-based cache administration tool or by directly editing an XML representation of the cluster configuration.

Along with this paradigm shift, the option to store the cluster configuration settings in XML (the cluster’s “working copy”) has been removed. Now you can use XML to edit the configuration settings when you choose to store your cluster configuration settings in a SQL Server database or a SQL Server Compact data file in a shared network folder. For more information, see Configuring the Cache Cluster (Velocity).

With this change, your decision for the cluster configuration storage location can be based on application availability requirements and the resources available to your application (that is, how challenging it would be to procure an instance of SQL Server that your distributed cache cluster could use).

To minimize changes in the following release, the “Velocity” API has been changed to enhance usability and more closely resemble the naming conventions of other Microsoft namespaces. The namespace of “Velocity” has been changed to Microsoft.Data.Caching. Additionally, all class and delegate names have been renamed to include the prefix DataCache. Along with the name changes, many overloads have also been changed.

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