Gather stats and slab keys from memcached
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Memcached Stats

Note: This gem is probably not yet ready for production environments. Use at your own discretion.

The goal of this gem is to provide overall memcached statistics (uptime, size, etc/) as well as an advanced look at cache slabs, providing slab item statistics as well as slab keys and values arranged hierarchically. As of the current release, this gem does not use the memcached binary protocol, therefore memcached versions prior to 1.4 (as well as 1.4+) should work fine with this gem. Please open an issue through github specifying your version of memcached if you find this is not the case.

The following usage guidelines are subject to change…at least until 0.1.x release (which may or may not occur).



  $ gem install memcached_stats

(You may need to install the gem with sudo prepended)

The steps below assume usage from irb, however this gem can just as easily be used within a Rails project.

First, require the memcached_stats gem.

  require 'memcached_stats'

memcached_stats assumes a default host of localhost and a port of 11211. Values other than the default can be specified when creating a new MemcachedStats object:

  stats =, your_port)

After you create the new MemcachedStats object, you can fetch the basic stats from memcached:


Summary Statistics

Once you do this, you have access to the following default memcached statistics through the following instance accessor methods (via attributes courtesy of method_missing) which are described in greater detail on the memcached github page under the “General-purpose statistics” heading. The definitions below are copied directly from this document:

NOTE: These memcached statistics methods are somewhat memcached version specific. They are defined in the text protocol of your particular memcached version, which can be viewed by visiting the github page linked above and switching to the tag which corresponds to your memcached version. Alternatively, via irb following the steps above, run stats.summary.keys to view the keys which MemcachedStats was able to attain.

pid – Process id of this server process
uptime – Number of secs since the server started
time – current UNIX time according to the server
version – Version string of this server
pointer_size – Default size of pointers on the host OS (generally 32 or 64)
rusage_user – Accumulated user time for this process (seconds:microseconds)
rusage_system – Accumulated system time for this process (seconds:microseconds)
curr_items – Current number of items stored
total_items – Total number of items stored since the server started
bytes – Current number of bytes used to store items
curr_connections – Number of open connections
total_connections – Total number of connections opened since the server started running
connection_structures – Number of connection structures allocated by the server
cmd_get – Cumulative number of retrieval requests
cmd_set – Cumulative number of storage requests
cmd_flush – Cumulative number of flush requests
get_hits – Number of keys that have been requested and found present
get_misses – Number of items that have been requested and not found
delete_misses – Number of deletions requests for missing keys
delete_hits – Number of deletion requests resulting in an item being removed
incr_misses – Number of increment requests against missing keys
incr_hits – Number of successful increment requests
decr_misses – Number of decrement requests against missing keys
decr_hits – Number of successful decrement requests
cas_misses – Number of CAS reqs against missing keys
cas_hits – Number of successful CAS reqs
cas_badval – Number of CAS reqs for which a key was found, but the CAS value did not match
auth_cmds – Number of authentication commands handled, success or failure
auth_errors – Number of failed authentications
evictions – Number of valid items removed from cache to free memory for new items
reclaimed – Number of times an entry was stored using memory from an expired entry
bytes_read – Total number of bytes read by this server from network
bytes_written – Total number of bytes sent by this server to network
limit_maxbytes – Number of bytes this server is allowed to use for storage
threads – Number of worker threads requested
conn_yields – Number of times any connection yielded to another due to hitting the memcached -R limit

The following are defined as well, providing a few more useful metrics:

hit_ratio – Number of keys requested and found present over the total number of retrieval requests
miss_ratio – Number of keys requested and not found over the total number of retrieval requests
request_rate – Number of key retrieval requests over the memcached instance uptime (aka ‘requests per second’)
hit_rate – Number of keys requested and found present over the memcached instance uptime (aka ‘cache hits per second’)
miss_rate – Number of keys requested and not found over the memcached instance uptime (aka ‘cache misses per second’)

Slab Item Statistics

The fetch_stats instance method not only provides top level memcached statistics, but also gathers statistics for memcached slabs. Each slab is accessible via the slabs accessor: a hash of hashes, the first of which is keyed by the slab_id, then the resultant hash is keyed by the statistic of interest. So for example:

  stats.slabs # => {"1"=>{"number"=>"1234", "age"=>"7000", "evicted"=>"0", "evicted_nonzero"=>"0", "evicted_time"=>"0", "outofmemory"=>"0", "tailrepairs"=>"0", "reclaimed"=>"0"}, "2"=>{"number"=>"122", "age"=>"161000", "evicted"=>"0", "evicted_nonzero"=>"0", "evicted_time"=>"0", "outofmemory"=>"0", "tailrepairs"=>"0", "reclaimed"=>"1"}...}
  stats.slabs["1"] # => {"number"=>"1234", "age"=>"7000", "evicted"=>"0", "evicted_nonzero"=>"0", "evicted_time"=>"0", "outofmemory"=>"0", "tailrepairs"=>"0", "reclaimed"=>"0"}
  stats.slabs["1"].number # => "1234"

on the memcached github page under the “Item statistics” heading, the slabs statistics represented in the slabs hash above are explained as follows:

number – Number of items presently stored in this class (expired items are not automatically excluded)
age – Age of the oldest item in the LRU
evicted – Number of times an item had to be evicted from the LRU before it expired
evicted_nonzero – Number of times an item which had an explicit expire time set had to be evicted from the LRU before it expired
evicted_time – Seconds since the last access for the most recent item evicted from this class (use this to judge how recently active your evicted data is)
outofmemory – Number of times the underlying slab class was unable to store a new item (this means you are running memcached with -M or an eviction failed)
tailrepairs – Number of times we self-healed a slab with a refcount leak
reclaimed – Number of times an entry was stored using memory from an expired entry

Slab Keys

One of the nice features of this gem is the ability to fetch all slab keys in a hierarchical hash. This is best explained with an example:

Suppose your stored the following keys and corresponding values in memcached

"User:bananastalktome:EmailCount" = 1
"User:bananastalktome:Alerts" = 5
"User:anotheruser:EmailCount" = 0
"Post:Article:12:title" = "This article is cool"

Using this gem, call fetch_all_slab_keys on the MemcachedStats object (stats) created above. The following hash will result, as an attribute called slab_keys:

    "User" => 
      "bananastalktome" => 
        "EmailCount" => 
      , "Alerts" =>
      , "anotheruser" =>
        "EmailCount" =>
  , "Post" => 
    "Article" =>
      "12" =>
        "title" =>

Arranging the cache keys in this manner allows quick traversal down a hash to determine if a given key exists and, if it does, in which slab the key exists. For the lowest level of each tree in the hash, there is a prod defined called value, which can be invoked to retrieve the value for that particular cache key. For example:

  stats.slab_keys["User"]["bananastalktome"]["EmailCount"].value # => 1

Experimental Branch

In the experimental branch of this project, I am messing with the ability to gather stats from multiple memcached instances configured in a cluster (as done in many production Rails projects) in an intuitive way. If you would like to help out with this, please

Bugs and Feedback

If you notice any bugs, would like any features added, or would just like to write code or tests ( hint hint :) ), please do not hesitate to do so! Either follow the Note on Patches/Pull Requests guidelines below, submit a issue through github, or email me directly at

Note on Patches/Pull Requests

  • Fork the project.
  • Make your feature addition or bug fix.
  • Add tests for it. This is important so I don’t break it in a
    future version unintentionally. (I tend to be lax on tests, so if you want to make some for the code that I already have, you get bonus points!)
  • Commit, do not mess with Rakefile, VERSION, history, or other files not directly relevant to your contribution.
    (if you want to have your own version, that is fine but bump version in a commit by itself I can ignore when I pull)
  • Send me a pull request. Bonus points for fun request messages.


Copyright © 2010 William Schneider. See LICENSE for details.