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Hibernate – Cache Expiration

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Caching in Hibernate means storing and reusing frequently used data to speed up your application. There are two kinds of caching: Session-level and SessionFactory-level. Level 1 cache is a cache that stores objects that have been queried and persist to the current session. This cache helps to reduce the number of database round trips by storing objects that are frequently accessed in the session. Level 1 cache is the default cache that is stored by default in hibernate. It is related to the hibernate session object.

Hibernate’s Level 2 caching is a built-in caching mechanism that allows you to cache data across several sessions. Level 2 cache stores data in your application’s shared cache region, which is accessible by every Hibernate session in your application. Level 2 caching can help optimize your application by reducing the number of database queries needed to load data. There are several cache providers available for Hibernate. You can use any of them, including Ehcache, Infinispan, Hazelcast, and others.

What is Cache Expiration?

The process of cache expiration is the setting of a time limit on the retention and utilization of data stored in a cache before it is deemed obsolete and invalid. When data is stored in a cache, it is temporarily stored in memory or disk, to optimize system performance and minimize the burden on the underlying data source. On the other hand, if the data is not regularly updated or removed from the cache, it may become stale and result in inaccurate or irrelevant results. Setting a cache expiration time ensures that the system regularly checks for and removes obsolete data from the cache to ensure that only the most relevant and up-to-date data is used.

Importance of Cache Expiration

Cache expiration is important because it ensures that users are presented with the most up-to-date information when accessing a website or application. When data is stored in a cache, it is typically done so because it is frequently accessed, and retrieving it from the source each time it is needed would be time-consuming and resource-intensive.

  1. Data freshness: Cache expiration ensures that cached data is not used indefinitely and that the latest information is obtained from the source. This is important because the data in the cache may become stale or outdated, leading to incorrect or irrelevant results.
  2. Performance: Caching data can improve system performance by reducing the number of requests to the source, but if cached data is never refreshed, it can result in degraded performance. Cache expiration ensures that cached data is periodically refreshed, improving system performance.
  3. Storage: Caching can require significant storage space, especially if large amounts of data are being cached. Cache expiration ensures that old data is removed from the cache, freeing up space for new data.
  4. Security: If sensitive data is cached, cache expiration can help ensure that the data is not exposed for longer than necessary. Once the cache has expired, sensitive data is removed from the cache, reducing the risk of exposure.

Types of Cache Expiration in Hibernate

Hibernate offers several cache expiration mechanisms. These mechanisms manage how and when to invalidate or delete data in the cache. Common cache expiration mechanisms include:

  1. Time-based expiration: This type of cache expiration is based on a time interval. The cached data is considered valid only for a specified time interval, after which it is automatically removed from the cache. Hibernate provides configuration options to set the expiration time for different types of cache.
  2. Query-based expiration: This type of cache expiration is based on specific queries. When a query is executed, the result set is cached. The cached data is invalidated when the data in the database table on which the query is based changes.
  3. Transaction-based expiration: This type of cache expiration is based on transactions. When a transaction is committed, the cached data associated with that transaction is invalidated. This ensures that the cached data is not used in subsequent transactions.
  4. Manual expiration: This type of cache expiration is based on manual intervention. In this case, the cached data is removed from the cache manually by the developer or administrator. This can be useful when the cached data becomes invalid due to external factors, such as changes in the application configuration or database schema.

Configuration Options for Cache Expiration in Hibernate

To regulate cache expiration, Hibernate offers a range of configuration options. These can be specified in the configuration file of the application or the application code using the API. The following configuration options are some of the most frequently used when cache expiration is being controlled:

  1. Cache region: A cache region is a logical name given to a particular type of cache. Each cache region has its own set of expiration settings, which can be configured separately. Hibernate provides a default cache region for each type of cache, but developers can also define their cache regions.
  2. Expiration time: The expiration time determines how long cached data is considered valid before it is removed from the cache. This time can be specified in seconds or milliseconds, depending on the type of cache. For example, the expiration time for the second-level cache can be set using the “hibernate.cache.default_cache_concurrency_strategy” property in the Hibernate configuration file.
  3. Cache mode: The cache mode determines how the cache is used by Hibernate. There are several cache modes available, including “READ_ONLY”, “READ_WRITE”, and “NONSTRICT_READ_WRITE”. Each cache mode has its own set of expiration settings, which can be configured separately.
  4. Cache provider: The cache provider is responsible for managing the cache and implementing the cache expiration settings. Hibernate supports several different cache providers, including EHCache, Infinispan, and Hazelcast. Each cache provider has its own set of configuration options for cache expiration.

Best Practices for Configuring Cache Expiration in Hibernate

Here are some best practices for configuring cache expiration in Hibernate:

  1. Understand your application’s caching requirements: Before configuring cache expiration in Hibernate, it’s important to understand your application’s caching requirements. Determine which data needs to be cached and for how long. This will help you choose the appropriate cache expiration settings for each type of cache.
  2. Use the appropriate cache provider: Different cache providers have different capabilities and configuration options for cache expiration. Choose the cache provider that best meets your application’s caching requirements and provides the necessary cache expiration features.
  3. Use separate cache regions for different types of data: Use separate cache regions for different types of data, such as entities, queries, and collections. This allows you to configure cache expiration settings for each type of data separately, which can improve cache performance and reduce the load on the database server.
  4. Use a combination of cache expiration mechanisms: Use a combination of cache expiration mechanisms, such as time-based, query-based, and transaction-based expiration, depending on your application’s caching requirements. This ensures that cached data is always up-to-date and valid while minimizing the load on the database server.
  5. Monitor and tune your cache settings: Regularly monitor your cache expiration settings and tune them as necessary to ensure that cached data is always up-to-date and valid. Use caching performance monitoring tools to identify bottlenecks and optimize your cache settings.

Tools and Techniques for Monitoring and Debugging Cache Expiration in Hibernate

Monitoring and debugging cache expiration in Hibernate can be challenging, but there are several tools and techniques that can be used to make the process easier. Some of these tools and techniques are:

  1. Hibernate Statistics: Hibernate provides built-in statistics that can be used to monitor cache usage and performance. The statistics include information such as cache hit-and-miss rates, cache evictions, and query execution times. Hibernate statistics can be enabled in the Hibernate configuration file.
  2. Logging: Logging can be used to track cache usage and performance. Hibernate provides a logging API that can be used to log cache events, such as cache hits and misses, cache evictions, and cache expiration events.
  3. Caching performance monitoring tools: There are several third-party caching performance monitoring tools available that can be used to monitor cache usage and performance. Some popular tools include AppDynamics, New Relic, and Dynatrace.
  4. Debugging tools: If you suspect that cached data is not being refreshed correctly or that cache expiration is not working as expected, debugging tools can be used to trace the execution flow and identify any issues. Tools such as Eclipse or IntelliJ IDEA can be used for debugging Hibernate applications.
  5. Manual testing: In some cases, it may be necessary to manually test the cache expiration behavior by modifying data in the database and verifying that the cached data is updated correctly.



public class MyClass {
    // Define a static cache instance
    private static Cache myCache = new MyCache();
    // Define a method that retrieves
    // data from the cache
    public MyObject getData(Long id) {
        // Attempt to retrieve data from the cache
        MyObject myObject = myCache.get(id);
        // If the data is not in the cache,
        // retrieve it from the database
        if (myObject == null) {
            myObject = retrieveDataFromDatabase(id);
            // Add the data to the cache with 
            // an expiration time of 10 minutes
            myCache.put(id, myObject, 600000);
        return myObject;
    // Define a method that retrieves data from the database
    private MyObject retrieveDataFromDatabase(Long id) {
    // Retrieve data from the database using Hibernate
   // ...


  • It can be concluded that cache expiration is one of the most significant aspects of caching in the context of Hibernate. By specifying an expiration time for the data that is being cached, we can prevent the data from remaining in the cache indefinitely, which can result in stale or out-of-date data. The data is refreshed automatically after the expiration time, thus ensuring that the data stored in the cache is always up to date.
  • Hibernate supports cache expiration through a variety of caching techniques and APIs, making it simple to implement the feature in our applications.

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Last Updated : 27 Mar, 2023
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