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Amazon Neptune Graph Database Launched in AWS Cloud

Reflecting a general industry trend toward more specialized, purpose-built databases, Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) has launched Amazon Neptune, a high-performance graph database delivered as a fully managed service.

When a Neptune preview was announced last November, AWS said, "The core of Amazon Neptune is a purpose-built, high-performance graph database engine optimized for storing billions of relationships and querying the graph with milliseconds of latency."

Graph databases are emerging to better service data lookups and analysis in the ever-more connected world of Internet of Things (IoT) and ubiquitous networking. Rather than traditional relational SQL lookups -- or even newer-age NoSQL databases -- graph databases focus on that connectivity, storing data related to network vertices (nodes) and edges, or relationships. With a focus on relationships of data sets, stored data can be linked in graph databases and then retrieved in one operation.

"Graph databases are useful for connected, contextual, relationship-driven data," AWS said. "Some examples applications are social media networks, recommendation engines, driving directions, logistics, diagnostics, fraud detection and genomic sequencing."

Creating such applications using a relational database would require multiple tables with multiple foreign keys, AWS said, resulting in unwieldy nested queries and complex joins, not to mention scaling problems.

To directly link data in separate nodes -- speeding up queries that navigate data relationships -- Neptune supports two of the leading graph database models based on open standards: Apache TinkerPop3 style Property Graphs queried with Gremlin; and Resource Description Framework (RDF) queried with SPARQL.

"If you have existing applications that work with SPARQL or TinkerPop you should be able to start using Neptune by simply updating the endpoint your applications connect to," AWS said.

Amazon Neptune is generally available in US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), and EU (Ireland).

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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