Decrementing Values in Memcached using C# (Detailed Guide w/ Code Examples)

Use Case(s)

Decrementing a value stored in Memcached is commonly used in situations where you need to track the depletion of a resource. Such scenarios include counting down available inventory items, rate limiting (where you decrement a count with each request), or any other scenario where the value of a numeric key needs to be reduced.

Code Examples

In C#, a popular library for working with Memcached is EnyimMemcached. Here are examples using this client:

  1. Initializing the client and connecting to Memcached:
var config = new MemcachedClientConfiguration(); config.AddServer(\"localhost\", 11211); var memcachedClient = new MemcachedClient(config);
  1. Decrementing a value:
ulong initialValue = 100; string key = \"myKey\"; memcachedClient.Store(StoreMode.Set, key, initialValue); ulong decrementedValue = memcachedClient.Decrement(key, 10);

In the example above, we first set up an initial value for myKey as 100. We then decrement this value by 10 using Decrement(). The new value of myKey will now be 90.

Best Practices

  • Always check if the key exists before trying to decrement its value. If not, the operation will fail.
  • Be aware that Memcached's operations are atomic. This means, even in a high concurrency environment, decrement operations will work correctly.
  • Use meaningful key names to make your code more understandable and maintainable.

Common Mistakes

  • An error often encountered is trying to decrement a key that doesn't exist or one that wasn't originally created using the increment or decrement commands.
  • Another common mistake is trying to decrement a non-numeric value. Memcached's increment and decrement operations only work on numeric values, specifically unsigned integers.


  • What happens if I try to decrement a key that doesn't exist?
    The operation will fail. You should always ensure that the key exists before you attempt to decrement its value.

  • What happens if I decrement a value below zero?
    In Memcached, if you attempt to decrement a value below 0, it will not go into negative. It stays at 0.

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