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AppFabric Caching and Custom Solutions in SharePoint 2013

So you should’ve heard by now that SharePoint 2013 uses the AppFabric Distributed Caching mechanism to (finally) manage caching across multiple nodes in a SharePoint farm.

Awesome.

So does that mean you can use it for your custom apps? Absolutely not, according to TechNet: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj219572.aspx

If you are using custom applications in SharePoint Server 2013 which use the AppFabric client APIs, or are creating custom caches, you should create a separate AppFabric cache cluster to support your custom applications. Do not use the AppFabric cache cluster supporting your SharePoint Server 2013 farm. Run your separate AppFabric cache cluster for your custom applications on separate servers from the servers dedicated to your SharePoint Server 2013 farm.

Basically, this means if you want something resembling a reliable* distributed cache store to hold a lot of data that you need quickly, you’ll need to stand up more Windows servers if you want to use AppFabric.

* = ‘reliable’ as in, accessible from any server. It’s not “shared nothing”, and doesn’t have anything resembling ¬†MapReduce, so it’s an extremely volatile store. Think of it as HttpRuntime.Cache but code can access keys from any server in the cache cluster.

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