A host system includes a multicache system configured within the host system's memory which has a plurality of local and central cache systems used for storing information being utilized by a plurality of processes running on the system. Persistent shared memory is used to store control structure information entries required for operating central cache systems for substantially long periods of time in conjunction with the local caches established for the processes. Such entries includes a descriptor value for identifying a directory control structure and individual sets of descriptors for identifying a group of control structures defining those components required for operating the configured central cache systems. The cache directory structure is used for defining the name of each configured central cache system and for providing an index value identifying the particular set of descriptors associated therewith. The multicache system also includes a plurality of interfaces for configuring the basic characteristics of both local and central cache systems as a function of the type and performance requirements of application processes being run.