Modular Caching Library for C++

Cachemere is a modular header-only caching library for C++.

It provides implementations for some state-of-the-art caching algorithms, as well as a comprehensive set of primitives for building custom caching solutions.

Tests License

Getting Started

TinyLFU Cache

#include <cstdint>
#include <optional>
#include <string>
#include <cachemere/cachemere.h>
using Key = int;
using Value = std::string;
// KeyMeasure and ValueMeasure are functors used by the cache to track the amount of memory used by its contents.
// TinyLFUCache is an alias for Cache<policy::InsertionTinyLFU, policy::EvictionSegmentedLRU>.
int main()
// Cache is constrained by a maximum amount of memory.
const size_t max_cache_size_bytes = 150;
MyCache cache(max_cache_size_bytes);
const bool inserted = cache.insert(42, "the answer to life, the universe, and everything");
if (std::optional<std::string> value = cache.find(42)) {
std::cout << "Got value for key: " << *value << std::endl;
return 0;

For more information, take a look at the documentation.

Design Overview


At its core, a cache has much in common with a hash map; both are data structures used for associating a key with a value. The main difference between the two structures is that a cache usually introduces an additional set of constraints to prevent it from growing too much in memory. Some implementations restrict the number of items allowed at once in the cache, others restrict the total amount of memory used by the cache, while some do away with the size constraints entirely and instead restrict the amount of time an item can stay in the cache before expiring.

A caching scheme is the set of algorithms used to select which items should be kept in cache over others. Since many different metrics can be prioritized when implementing a cache, there is no one-size-fits-all caching scheme (e.g. a CPU cache usually only needs to prioritize the cache hit ratio, while a web server cache also needs to consider latency on cache miss).

Because of this impossiblity of relying on a single well-performing and reusable caching scheme, many organizations and products fall back on using a simple Least-Recently Used (LRU) cache everywhere. Although LRU is certainly suitable for most use cases it is far from optimal, and using it without an afterthought might lead to excessive memory usage or degraded performance.

Cachemere is designed with the explicit goal of providing a single reusable cache that can be customized using different schemes, allowing applications to get the maintainability benefits of a single cache implementation, while at the same time getting all the performance benefits of a purpose-built cache.

Modular Policy Design

Cachemere tackles this goal in a modular fashion with the concept of policies. A cachemere::Cache is parameterized by an Insertion Policy and an Eviction Policy.

Broadly speaking, the job of an Insertion Policy is to determine whether an item should be inserted or kept in cache, while the job of an Eviction Policy is to determine which item(s) should be evicted from the cache. The cache will query its policies when it has to make a decision on whether an item should be added or excluded.

This modular design allows for bi-directional code reuse and customization: the core cache implementation can be used with different policies, and the policies can also be used with different cache implementations.

For instance, instead of using more common policies like Least-Recently Used (LRU), a product might need to use a custom cache that takes the frequency of access as well as the size of the item into consideration when establishing which item to evict. To do this, one could implement a SizeBasedEvictionPolicy and use it with the existing cachemere::Cache.

Similarly, imagine a cache that limits the amount of memory it uses. Now, imagine a use case that additionally requires constraining the number of items in the cache. To handle this scenario, you could implement a new Cache object parameterized by these two policies and reuse Cachemere's LRU policy with this Cache object.

Get the size of an object via a user-defined capacity() method.
Definition: measurement.h:20
Get the size of an object via sizeof().
Definition: measurement.h:15
Thread-safe memory-restricted cache.
Definition: cache.h:41