We have just had a Microsoft Customer Reference Case published regarding our work with the Java-based NoSQL graph database and our work to deploy and run it on Windows Azure. The original case study (in Swedish) can be found here: Ny typ av databas möjliggör bättre affärer på internet. And the translation (which is kind of rough and quick but should be kind of readable) is here below:
Neo Technology has developed a new type of database, Neo4j, which can solve problems that can not be solved effectively with traditional database technology. With Neo4j companies can create functionality on the Internet that hardly has been possible before. Neo4j is open source and is now tailored for Microsoft’s Cloud Windows Azure Platform.
Recently it has become increasingly clear that there are problems with traditional databases in many contexts. The reason is mainly two factors:
- The amount of data on the Internet is growing tremendously fast.
- Data Complexity on the Internet is increasing rapidly.
That is why, among other things, it was not possible to deal with the recent major Internet services with traditional database technology. This has meant that services like Facebook, Twitter and Amazon have had to build their own database solutions based on Not Only SQL technology – NoSQL.
- These developments have increased interest in alternative database technologies. We have created a new type of database that is not based on a traditional relational database model, but on graph theory. With graph databases you can create entirely new types of applications on the Internet that hardly have been possible before, says Peter Neubauer, co-founder and product manager at Neo Technology AB.
Faster database in the cloud
The company has developed the graph database solution Neo4j. It’s open source and, in collaboration with consulting firm Diversify it now has a version tailored for Microsoft’s cloud platform Windows Azure. It is also available on many other platforms. Neo4j can handle large amounts of strongly linked data very fast.
A graph is a set of points, called nodes, which are connected by lines, called arcs. There are many systems that can be represented by a graph. One example is the social network where nodes represent individuals, and arcs the relations between them. Other examples include road networks, traffic routing, telephone lines and internet access.
- Traditional databases are significantly slower when the number of relationships they should handle starts to amount to several million, said Peter Neubauer. This is different from graph databases where the nodes are already linked together. What previously took an hour for a traditional database can now be done in half a second.
- To us it feels urgent to offer Neo4j on Windows Azure. For Microsoft’s the Cloud is strategically important. This makes for an extremely good opportunity to deliver excellent cloud services on this platform. In addition 50 percent of our clients use Windows for their development.
Better business with Neo4j on Windows Azure
Diversify have started using Neo4j as a back end store in their customers’ Cloud applications.
- The benefits of Neo4j for our client companies are mainly three. It is a cheaper solution than traditional database solutions. It can solve problems that client companies have not been able to solve well enough or at all. Customers can create new functionality that they have dreamed of achieving before. All of this means that client companies can do better business on the Internet, says Magnus Mårtensson, Business Responsible Azure at Diversify.
There are many areas where graph databases such as Neo4j are particularly suitable, for example, business intelligence, e-commerce, social media, customer data, product configurations, geographic services, semantic systems and the financial context.
- We are not the only ones working on this. There are a number of other players who develop graph databases. For us it’s good if they succeed, because it is faster to create a market with many customers. We will see a tremendous development in this area, says Peter Neubauer.
Text: Måns Widman
Industry: Information Technology, Media and Telecommunications
Solution Area: Business Solution
Product: Windows Azure