by Charles Roe
In an effort to leverage the knowledge of several of the top minds in the Data Management industry, DATAVERSITY™ has been conducting a series of interviews on some of the most relevant topics in the field today. Recently, we interviewed Jim Webber, the Chief Scientist of Neo Technology, the creators of Neo4j, a prominent and robust Graph Database technology built from the ground up for use in mission-critical systems with highly inter-connected data models.
Neo Technology is an Exhibitor at the NoSQL Now! Conference in San Jose, CA from August 20-22, 2013.
The Sponsor Spotlight Column (and its parallel venture the Speaker Spotlight Column) is an ongoing project that focuses on highlighting several of the central issues represented at the many Data Management conferences produced by DATAVERSITY.
The primary emphasis of the interview was to question Jim Webber and Neo Technology on their current work and history within the industry, with particular importance on the products and/or services being highlighted at the upcoming conference:
DATAVERSITY (DV): Please tell our readers about you and your company (e.g. brief history, industry focus, primary product line etc.)?
Jim Webber (JW): We’re Neo Technology the commercial backers of the world’s leading graph database Neo4j. Formed in Sweden back in 2007, Neo Technology is now headquartered in San Mateo, CA and focusses on the development of novel databases that solve the connected data problem for a wide range of domains.
DV: What is your company’s elevator pitch?
JW: Built for the demanding enterprise, Neo4j takes you queries from minutes to milliseconds by using a graph rather than relational management engine to support rich domain modelling, high performance querying, and effective ACID transaction processing.
DV: What will you be highlighting or showcasing at NoSQL Now! 2013? Are you planning any product releases or announcements this year at NoSQL Now!?
JW: At this year’s NoSQL now we’ll be talking about graph analytics atop Neo4j and showing how the graph paradigm enables amazing futurespective projects and amazing real-time retrospective analysis which is all but impossible with other data technologies. We’ll also be showing how our latest (beta) release has some amazing features for labelling and how that’s making the database easier to use and making domain modelling even more elegant.
DV: What’s the unique selling proposition of your product or service versus your competitors? What do you do that nobody else does (or better than anyone else)?
JW: We are the world’s leading graph database, nobody else has the pedigree of product, established active community, mission-critical deployments, and solid commercial backing as Neo4j. Add to that the world-class performance of Neo4j, taking queries that take a minutes in a relational database to milliseconds makes Neo4j a powerful data solution.
DV: Why should the conference attendees stop by your booth this year?
JW: Not only will we have core Neo4j developers on hand, but we’ll also be giving away a copy of the new O’Reilly Book “Graph Databases” to every attendee.
DV: What do you see as the most significant trend happening at this time within the database industry at this time? Within Data Management in general?
JW: Big Data is clearly an overarching trend for the industry. It’s clear that in the last 12-18 months graphs have become hot too (witness the investment activity in graph platforms and the explosive growth that we ourselves have been seeing). The graph trend is something that will become pervasive over the next 24 months and beyond, across an increasing variety of verticals.
DV: How is such a trend going to affect your particular business focus? How does your product/service address that trend?
JW: Neo4j addresses both Big Data and graph data. What’s driving both these trends is the tremendous business value that can be found from making sense of the highly connected systems that constitute our world: social networks, biological networks, organizational structures and interactions, and so on. Tackling these types of data with traditional technologies is enormously impractical and under-performing. For someone modeling a social network in a relational database, “Big” might mean only a few thousand records. Beyond that, you can’t get the performance you need to run the key queries that you need to run in real time. Neo4j handily deals with many billions of things. We have customers running online web systems with over half the Facebook graph in a single Neo4j cluster.
DV: What is your next big product push?
JW: We have lots of great things happening with the product. As to the very next thing on the roadmap… Neo is the company that invented the property graph model. Based on our experience with many thousands of Neo4j deployments, we are taking it forward a significant step by updating that model with labels, which are going to make it much easier for new users to create a useful graph application quickly and provide the bedrock for future governance-oriented features like structure and value constraints.
DV: What is something noteworthy or uniquely interesting about your company that most attendees and readers may not know about, but that you would like them to know?
JW: Unlike most NOSQL stores, which are relatively new, Neo4j has been around for a decade and is fully ACID. Yet Neo4j is scalable enough for our users to store Facebook-sized graphs while providing for significantly more query sophistication than even Facebook’s Graph Search. It’s rather un-Swedish of us as a Swedish company, but we’re rather proud of that.
If you are interested in more information about sponsors and exhibitors at NoSQL Now! 2013 see the full listing at: http://nosql2013.dataversity.net/sponsors.cfm
About NoSQL Now!:
NoSQL Now! is an educational conference and exhibit focused on the emerging field of NoSQL technologies. NoSQL (Not Only SQL) refers to the new breed of databases that are not based on the traditional relational database model, including document stores, key value stores, columnar databases, XML databases and graph databases. The NoSQL Now! Conference is designed to educate developers, data managers and architects on how these new technologies work, the applications they are best suited for, and how to deploy them. The upcoming 2013 event is expected to draw over 800 attendees. Additional details are available at http://www.NoSQLNow.com.