NHibernate.Caches.SysCache2: don’t forget to call SqlDependency.Start()

One of the projects I’m involved at work in is slowly migrating from classic ADO.NET to NHibernate. However, with around 2,200 stored procedures and 30 mapped classes, there is some overlap that cannot be avoided: a number of tables are written by one side but queried by the other.

For performance, we want to use NHibernate’s level 2 cache as much as possible. When rows in the underlying table are changed outside of the NHibernate session however (e.g. by a stored proc), the L2 cache needs to be flushed so it can repopulate with the new updated values.

SysCache2 is a drop-in cache provider for NHibernate that supports SqlDependencies, a SQL Server feature that notifies our application when data changes. It’s pretty easy to set up, but I found mine falling over immediately with the following error:

System.InvalidOperationException: When using SqlDependency without providing an options value, SqlDependency.Start() must be called prior to execution of a command added to the SqlDependency instance.

This isn’t mentioned in the documentation for SysCache2, and there’s not much on Google about it, but as the error message suggests, all you need to do is call SqlDependency.Start() at some point when your app starts. For example, in a web application, you can simply chuck it in global.asax.cs, before you configure the Session Factory.

public class Global : HttpApplication
{
    protected void Application_Start(Object sender, EventArgs e)
    {
        SqlDependency.Start(Config.DefaultConnectionString);

        // create SessionFactory, set up container etc
    }

    protected void Application_End(Object sender, EventArgs e)
    {
        SqlDependency.Stop(Config.DefaultConnectionString);
    }
}

2 thoughts on “NHibernate.Caches.SysCache2: don’t forget to call SqlDependency.Start()

  1. in the recent times, I’ve got a chance to evaluate some L2 cache providers and i was mighty pleased by the performance of NCache. Large cache size lets you cache more data and further improve performance & scalability. NCache pools memory of multiple cache servers together to let you grow cache size indefinitely. With NCache, you can easily have 100GB+ cache sizes.

    http://www.alachisoft.com/ncache/nhibernate_l2cache_index.html

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