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This feature is available in midPoint 3.5 and later. This is considered to be EXPERIMENTAL feature.

MidPoint usually works with fresh data. When midPoint needs to get data about an account then the data will be retrieved on-demand from the resource. This is usually the best method. But there are cases when this approach is problematic. There may be resources that are often down. There may be resources that are very slow. Therefore midPoint has an ability to cache the values of resource objects.

Enabling Caching

The caching is turned off by default. It can be turned on in Resource Configuration:

The only supported caching method is passive caching: Caches are maintained with minimal impact on normal operations. Generally the data are cached only if they are retrieved for other reasons. There is no read-ahead. The writes are always going to the resource (synchronously): read-through, write-through. There is no cache eviction (but old information is overwritten if newer information is available).

If caching is turned on then midPoint will start to cache the data in Shadow Objects. The caches are build gradually as midPoint reads the objects. If you need to populate the caches with information you have to make an operation that is searching all the objects. E.g. reconciliation or similar operation should do the trick.

Impact on Operations

The cached data are accessible by using the ususal IDM Model Interface. There are two operation options that provide access to the cached data:

  • noFetch option: This option returns the data from midPoint repository. Therefore if there are data cached in the repository then the noFetch option returns them.
  • staleness option: Requirement how stale or fresh the retrieved data should be. It specifies maximum age of the value in millisecods. The default value is zero, which means that a fresh value must always be returned. This means that caches that do not guarantee fresh value cannot be used. If non-zero value is specified then such caches may be used. In case that Long.MAX_VALUE is specified then the caches are always used and fresh value is never retrieved. This option was added in midPoint 3.5.

Both options can be used to get cached data. The primary difference is that the noFetch option never goes to the resource and it returns whatever data it has. On the other hand the staleness option is smarter and it determines whether it has to go to the resource or not. In case that the "maximum" staleness option is used it will result in an error if cached data is not available.

Those options can be used both with getObject operations and search operations. For getObject the staleness option work as expected. But there is one special consideration for the search operations. The search operations cannot easily determine how fresh the data in the repository are. E.g. there may be new objects on the resource that are not in the repository. Therefore to be on the safe side the search operations will always make search on the resource even if staleness option is specified. There is just one exception: the maximum staleness option will force repository search. However if the search discovers any object that does not have cached data then it will result in an error (specified in the fetchResult object property).

Caching Metadata in Shadows

Shadow Objects contain cachingMetadata property. This property can be used to determine whether the returned shadow represents fresh or cached data:

  • If no cachingMetadata property is present in the shadow then the data are fresh. They have been just retrieved from the resource.
  • If cachingMetadata property is present then the data are taken from the cache. The cachingMetadata property specified how fresh the data are (when they were originally retrieved).

Limitations

MidPoint is building and maintaining (updating) the cache as necessary. However currently (midPoint 3.5) the caches are not directly used by midPoint core or the user interface. The caches are available for special-purpose midPoint extensions.

This feature is considered to be EXPERIMENTAL. As far as we know it should have no negative impact on normal midPoint operation (except for the overhead of storing cached data in the midPoint repository). We also do not expect any major changes in configuration, interfaces or behavior. But this is still a very young feature and some adjustments might be necessary. Therefore use this feature with care.

See Also

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