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Graph database vendors: Who they are, what they do and who their customers are

Scott Carey | June 27, 2016
Here are the big players in the small but growing graph database vendor space, from open source to Oracle

Graph databases are growing in popularity in the enterprise space. According to Forrester analyst Noel Yuhanna in his market overview the graph database market is "embryonic but will grow significantly".

Gartner started including graph database vendors in its magic quadrant for operational database management systems (ODBMS) in 2014 with the inclusion of Neo4j and GraphDB and also expects to see more entrants in the coming years.

A quick recap on what a graph database is first:

A graph database is a flavour of NoSQL database built upon graph theory, an academic computer science methodology which plots data points, known as objects or nodes, and the connections between them on a 'graph'. So, where a traditional, relational database stores data in rows and columns, a NoSQL database stores large sets of unstructured data. A graph database goes a step further by including the connections between those data points, essentially building up a network of data.

Here are some of the leading graph database providers in the market right now, from open source to established vendors and a few noteworthy pilots worth keeping an eye on.

1. Neo Technologies

Neo Technologies
© Neo4J

Swedish co-founder and CEO of Neo Technologies Emil Eifrem started building graph databases eight years ago when he realised the limations of relational database technology as he built content management systems for enterprise customers.

He explains: "The key reason it was working against us is because the information we were working with didn't really fit, the information was big and messy and interconnected and ever changing and evolving."

The result was Neo4j, one of the first commercially available graph databases with a broad range of customers. Eifrem says: "When it comes to actual customers we now see this very horizontally across any aspect of the software industry. So we have a lot of pure software companies.

"Also financial services, retail, media and entertainment and social networks are an obvious example, telecoms and healthcare."

2. DataStax

© iStock

DataStax announced its graph database product at its London summit in April 2016, adding it to its existing DataStax Enterprise platform, DSE, which is built on Apache Cassandra.

CEO Billy Bosworth told ComputerworldUK: "Think of [Cassandra] as our backbone. We can now do things like model the data differently on top of it, introduce different workloads like search indexing, real-time analytics, basic transactions. Here's the real key: to never have any of those collide."

The addition of graph comes on the back of DataStax's acquisition of open-graph database specialists Aurelius and is essentially a new version of its Titan database.

Speaking at the DataStax summit, Matthias Broecheler, director of engineering for DSE Graph said: "DataStax Enterprise Graph is us taking the ideas from Titan and placing them on an enterprise grade platform."


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