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APC (Alternative PHP Cache) started its life as fairly simple opcode cache for PHP. But along its development, a data cache seemed like a useful, yet simple addition to the package. As the usage of this grew, it became apparent that it was fraught with locking issues.
To ensure proper usage of shared memory, locks are essential. But the acquisition of locks are often hierarchical and assumptions about critical sections in code paths can lead to reduction in the number of lock and unlock calls involved. Also thread/process data separation can ensure that no two processes/threads hold pointers to the same area, allowing the removal of locks around such code.
Even though locks are the critical bottleneck that has been addressed, the talk also touches upon the other performance tweaks, tried and tested best practices, and a general summary of the new features in APC.
Gopal Vijayaraghavan is a technical lead at Yahoo! Bangalore and works in the platform engineering team. He is a lead developer of the open source PHP APC (alternative php cache) and dotgnu portable.net. He hacks on APC as part of his work and otherwise. His blog can be found at http://t3.dotgnu.info/blog/.