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Memcached is a distributed memory object caching system that increases the performance of dynamic web applications by decreasing the load on the database. It is generic in nature and can be used by applications based on the Wiki software.

The developer of memcached was Danga Interactive, but the code is open source and available under the broad BSD license. Danga explains its history as follows:[1]

Danga Interactive developed memcached to enhance the speed of, a site which was already doing 20 million+ dynamic page views per day for 1 million users with a bunch of webservers and a bunch of database servers. memcached dropped the database load to almost nothing, yielding faster page load times for users, better resource utilization, and faster access to the databases on a memcache miss.

The memcached explanation for Wikis is available here. See also WikiMedia explanation.