ADO.NET As Ignite.NET Cache Store

Implementing efficient Ignite.NET persistent store with ADO.NET and SQL Server: continue the story from Entity Framework Cache Store.

ADO.NET vs Entity Framework

Previous article, Entity Framework Cache Store, describes a way to persist Ignite in-memory data in SQL Server using Entity Framework. The code is nice and elegant, but not efficient (as mentioned on reddit), because converting object operations to SQL queries introduces overhead.

Today we are going to cut out all the middlemen:

  • Work with SQL directly to read and write data
  • Use binary mode in Ignite to avoid serialization costs

Ignite 2.0 Generic Cache Store

Cache store interface has been reworked in Ignite.NET 2.0 to operate on generic arguments. This reduces casting and boxing, making code nicer and faster:

// Ignite 1.x
class MyStore : ICacheStore
    public object Load(object key) => db.Find((int) key);

// Ignite 2.x
class MyStore : ICacheStore<int, string>
    public string Load(int key) => db.Find(key);

Ignite Binary Mode

By default, Ignite works with user-defined objects and types, serializing / deserializing them as needed. While this serialization is very efficient, it is still not free.

To squeeze every bit of performance there is a binary mode where we work with objects in serialized form, retrieving and modifying individual fields.

We are going to use this binary mode both on cache side and cache store side.


The full source code is on, under AdoNetCacheStore folder.

The project is self-sufficient, you can download the sources and run it without setting anything up. It uses SQL Server Compact (via NuGet) and creates a database in the bin folder when needed.

Data Model

Our model will be defined in SQL server like this:

CREATE TABLE Cars (ID int, Name NVARCHAR(200), Power int)

In Ignite this can be represented with ICache<int, Car> where Car class has Name and Power fields. However, we are going to use binary mode where classes are not needed:

// Retrieve cache and switch to binary mode.
ICache<int, IBinaryObject> cars = ignite.GetCache<int, object>("cars")
    .WithKeepBinary<int, IBinaryObject>();

// Create new value with binary builder.
IBinaryObject car = ignite.GetBinary()
    .SetStringField("Name", "Honda NSX")
    .SetIntField("Power", 600)

// Put to cache, this causes ICacheStore.Write call (when store is configured and write-through).
cars[1] = car;

Of course you can mix and match binary and non-binary modes (store can work with binary objects while cache operations are with classes, and vice versa).

Cache Store Configuration

Configuration is almost the same as in Entity Framework store, but with important difference: KeepBinaryInStore is true:

var cacheCfg = new CacheConfiguration
    Name = "cars",
    CacheStoreFactory = new AdoNetCacheStoreFactory(),
    KeepBinaryInStore = true,
    ReadThrough = true,
    WriteThrough = true

This way cache store implementation receives IBinaryObject instances directly without any deserialization.

Implementing Cache Store

Let’s look at Write method first, which is called under the hood of cache.Put:

public class AdoNetCacheStore : ICacheStore<int, IBinaryObject>
    // Notice that method arguments correspond to ICache<int, IBinaryObject> above.
    public void Write(int key, IBinaryObject val)
        using (var conn = new SqlCeConnection(ConnectionString))
            using (var cmd = new SqlCeCommand(@"INSERT INTO Cars (ID, name, Power) VALUES (@id, @name, @power)", conn))
                cmd.Parameters.AddWithValue("@id", key);

                // Transfer data directly from binary object to SQL query.
                cmd.Parameters.AddWithValue("@name", val.GetField<string>("Name"));
                cmd.Parameters.AddWithValue("@power", val.GetField<int>("Power"));



There are no intermediate objects, we operate on raw field values here, which is as efficient as it gets.

Read method is in similar fashion:

public IBinaryObject Load(int key)
    using (var conn = new SqlCeConnection(ConnectionString))
        using (var cmd = new SqlCeCommand(@"SELECT Name, Power FROM Cars WHERE Id = @id", conn))
            cmd.Parameters.AddWithValue("@id", key);


            foreach (IDataRecord row in cmd.ExecuteReader())
                // Return first record.
                return Ignite.GetBinary()
                    .SetStringField("Name", row.GetString(0))
                    .SetIntField("Power", row.GetInt32(1))

            return null;

Again, we create serialized object directly from the data reader, keeping allocations and overhead to a minimum.

Running The Example

Download the code (git clone, open AdoNetCacheStore\AdoNetCacheStore.sln and run.

I recommend setting breakpoints on cache operations and cache store methods to see it all in action.

ICacheStore.Delete is not implemented, by the way. I leave it up to the readers to implement it and test by calling cache.Remove(1).

Written on May 26, 2017