Using a cache

A cache can be used at two levels in JHipster:

  • With the Spring Cache abstraction, which is a specific question when your application is generated, and which uses the Spring Boot @EnableCaching annotation. This needs to be tuned according to your specific business needs, and works at a higher level than the Hibernate 2nd-level cache.
  • As an Hibernate 2nd-level cache, a caching solution can give a huge performance boost to your application, and this is what people usually do with JHipster. Please note that this option is only available for SQL databases, and if you have selected to use Spring Cache.

Spring Cache and the Hibernate 2nd-level cache will use the same caching solution, but do not work at the same level: we do not recommend to use both for the same objects, as this will make cache invalidation issues even more complex. Instead, we recommend you use:

  • Spring Cache for higher-level or aggregate objects, like you typically have with DTOs
  • The Hibernate 2nd-level cache for entities mapped to the database, in order to reduce the number of SQL requests

Common configuration

Caches are configured in the CacheConfiguration class, and can also be tuned using the JHipster common application properties.

Caching with Ehcache

Ehcache is the default cache with monoliths in JHipster. Ehcache is simple to setup and configure, and starts up very fast, so it’s a perfect solution for “normal” monoliths.

With JHipster, Ehcache cannot work as a distributed cache, as it doesn’t have an API allowing to add new nodes programmatically

Ehcache is configured in the CacheConfiguration Spring configuration bean, which defines 2 properties (time-to-live-seconds and max-entries) in the JHipster common application properties. More properties can be added in your application’s specific ApplicationProperties Spring configuration bean.

By default, time-to-live-seconds has a default value of 3600 seconds (1 hour) both in dev and in prod mode, and max-entries has a default value of 100 entries in dev mode and 1,000 entries in prod mode.

Those values should be tuned depending on your specific business needs, and the JHipster monitoring screen can help you better understand cache usage in your application. Please also refer to the Ehcache documentation to fine-tune those values.

Caching with Hazelcast

Hazelcast can work as a local cache (like Ehcache), but can also work as a distributed cache. As a result:

  • It is the default option for microservices, as we expect microservices to scale
  • It is the default option for gateways, as we expect them to scale, and as Hazelcast is used to distribute the gateway rate-limiting information
  • When used within a monolith, Hazelcast needs to have the JHipster Registry option in order to scale

For scaling applications, Hazelcast will use the configured service discovery in order to find new nodes, and scale horizontally. With microservices and gateways, this will work both with the JHipster Registry and Consul, and for monoliths this will only work with the JHipster Registry.

When a new node is added, it will register itself to the service discovery (for instance, it will be available in the JHipster Registry), and look for other nodes of the same type. If it finds one or several nodes of the same type, it will create a clustered cache with them: you should see in the logs of each node a message, like in the following example:

[]:5701 [dev] [3.7]
Members [4] {
Member []:5701 - 3cbddfcd-0229-4cd5-be55-4611927a9071 this
Member []:5701 - 204d457d-f6fe-43f2-8e8d-497e96b3f08e
Member []:5701 - 7804d535-86fb-46be-b2a5-d7801dc6a4df
Member []:5701 - 6114ae28-56cd-4840-a575-4d73a6003744

To work better with Hazelcast, JHipster includes support for the Hazelcast Management Center:

  • Please note that you can only monitor 2 nodes for free, as this is a proprietary product. But that’s already enough for testing your application.
  • It is configured using JHipster common application properties, using the key, in your application-dev.yml and application-prod.yml files. Please note that it is disabled by default.
  • JHipster generates a Docker Compose configuration to run easily the Hazelcast Management Center. Please read our Docker Compose documentation, and run the application using docker-compose -f src/main/docker/hazelcast-management-center.yml up -d.

Caching with Infinispan

Infinispan is a highly performant caching solution that can work as an in-memory local cache as well as clustered cache. It offers support for multiple cache modes,

With JHipster, Infinispan can be used:

  • As an implementation of the Spring Cache abstraction
  • As an Hibernate 2nd level cache

Following is the pre-configured default configuration:

  • Entities operate in invalidation cache mode
  • For application-specific caching, three caching configurations are pre-defined
    • local-app-data for caching data local to the nodes
    • dist-app-data for distributed caching of data across nodes (number of copies determined by the distributed replica count)
    • repl-app-data for replicating data across nodes

Eviction, time-to-live and max-entries for each of the individual operation mode in the cache and the replica count for the distributed mode can be fine-tuned using the JHipster common application properties. Fine tune the properties in jhipster.cache.infinispan for application-specific caching and for Hibernate’s 2nd level cache.

If the JHipster Registry is enabled, then the host list will be populated from the registry. If the JHipster Registry is not enabled, host discovery will be based on the default transport settings defined in the config-file packaged within the Infinispan Jar. Infinispan supports discovery natively for most of the platforms like Kubernets/OpenShift, AWS, Azure and Google.

Though Infinispan 9.0.0.Final GA and later releases added support to run Infinispan embedded caching applications on Kubernetes and OpenShift by making use of native KUBE_PING discovery, Hibernate dependency is not yet updated to 9.x releases and hence native discovery is not supported on Kubernetes and OpenShift. However you can run the applications by making use of JHipster Registry for instances discovery.