Caching In Entity Framework Core Using NCache

What is Entity Framework Core?

Entity Framework Core (EF Core) is an open-source, cross-platform Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) framework developed by Microsoft. It provides a set of tools and libraries for developers to work with relational databases using .NET applications. EF Core simplifies database access and interaction by allowing developers to work with database entities and relationships using object-oriented programming techniques, rather than writing raw SQL queries.

Key features of Entity Framework Core include:

  1. ORM Capabilities: EF Core enables developers to map .NET objects (entities) to database tables, and it automatically handles the translation between the object-oriented data model and the relational database schema.
  2. Model-First or Database-First Approaches: Developers can create their data models using code-first conventions, where the code defines the data structure, or they can generate data models from an existing database schema using the database-first approach.
  3. LINQ Support: EF Core provides Language Integrated Query (LINQ) support, allowing developers to write database queries using C# or other .NET languages. This results in more readable and type-safe queries compared to writing raw SQL.
  4. Change Tracking: EF Core tracks changes made to entities in memory and automatically generates SQL statements to persist those changes to the database when SaveChanges is called.
  5. Migration Support: EF Core includes tools for managing database schema changes and versioning. Migrations allow developers to easily update the database schema as the application evolves.
  6. Cross-Platform: EF Core is designed to work on different platforms, including Windows, macOS, and Linux, making it suitable for a wide range of application scenarios.
  7. Support for Multiple Databases: EF Core supports various relational database management systems (RDBMS) such as Microsoft SQL Server, SQLite, PostgreSQL, MySQL, and more.
  8. Modularity: EF Core is designed in a modular way, allowing developers to choose the specific components they need and leaving out the ones they don’t, which can help reduce the overhead of unused features.
  9. Testability: EF Core can be used with testing frameworks to enable unit testing and integration testing of database-related code.

Entity Framework Core is widely used in .NET applications to streamline database operations, improve productivity, and maintain a separation of concerns between the application’s data access logic and its business logic. It is a successor to the original Entity Framework (EF) and is optimized for performance and cross-platform development.

Caching in Entity Framework Core (EF Core) using NCache involves integrating NCache, a distributed in-memory caching solution, with your EF Core application. This can help improve the performance and responsiveness of your application by reducing the number of database queries and accelerating data retrieval.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to set up caching in EF Core using NCache:

  1. Install NCache:
    Start by installing the NCache NuGet package in your project. You can do this using the Package Manager Console or the .NET CLI:
   dotnet add package Alachisoft.NCache.SDK.Core
  1. Configure NCache in Startup:
    Open your Startup.cs file (assuming you’re using ASP.NET Core) and configure NCache services. Add the following lines to the ConfigureServices method:
   using Alachisoft.NCache.Client;

   public void ConfigureServices(IServiceCollection services)
       // ... other services

       services.AddNCacheDistributedCache(options =>
           options.CacheName = "myCache"; // Change this to your cache name
           options.EnableLogging = true;
           options.ExceptionsEnabled = true;
           options.Connection = "localhost:9800"; // NCache server address

       // ...
  1. Use Caching in EF Core:
    Now, you can use caching with your EF Core DbContext. You can enable caching for specific queries or entire tables. Here’s an example of caching a query result:
   using Microsoft.EntityFrameworkCore;
   using Microsoft.Extensions.Caching.Distributed;

   public class MyDbContext : DbContext
       private readonly IDistributedCache _cache;

       public MyDbContext(DbContextOptions<MyDbContext> options, IDistributedCache cache)
           : base(options)
           _cache = cache;

       public async Task<List<SomeEntity>> GetEntitiesWithCaching()
           var cacheKey = "EntitiesCacheKey";

           var cachedEntities = await _cache.GetAsync(cacheKey);

           if (cachedEntities != null)
               return JsonConvert.DeserializeObject<List<SomeEntity>>(Encoding.UTF8.GetString(cachedEntities));
               var entities = await SomeEntity.ToListAsync();
               var serializedEntities = JsonConvert.SerializeObject(entities);
               var cacheOptions = new DistributedCacheEntryOptions
                   AbsoluteExpirationRelativeToNow = TimeSpan.FromMinutes(10) // Cache for 10 minutes
               await _cache.SetAsync(cacheKey, Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes(serializedEntities), cacheOptions);

               return entities;
  1. Clear Cache on Data Changes:
    When data in the database changes (inserts, updates, deletes), you should clear the corresponding cache entries to ensure that cached data remains consistent. You can use cache tags or keys to manage cache invalidation based on data changes.
  2. Test and Optimize:
    After implementing caching, thoroughly test your application to ensure that data consistency and caching behavior meet your requirements. Monitor performance and adjust cache settings as needed.

Remember that caching introduces additional complexity, and you should carefully consider cache invalidation strategies, memory usage, and cache coherence when implementing caching in your EF Core application using NCache or any other caching solution.

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