Graph Database: What Is It and Why It Matters For Businesses?

Graph databases, sometimes referred as semantic databases, have developed a lot in recent years. They have evolved into mainstream technology and have been successfully deployed across a different variety of applications. Simply put, a graph database is a purpose-built software application to store, query and modify network graphs. It is the rapidly-growing category in data management. The database has gained much traction from social networking models as businesses are leveraging it to meet their big and complex data challenges that conventional databases, such as relational and NoSQL, are not able to do.

Organizations today are implementing graph databases in a range of areas like fraud detection, recommendation engines, AI and machine learning and master data management. The introduction of Amazon Neptune and Azure Cosmos has sparked further the popularity of graph databases in modern businesses and more and more organizations now are looking to utilize them in their production environments.

How Does a Graph Database Work?

A graph data model encompasses vertices representing the entities in a domain and edges that signify the relationships between these entities. While both vertices and edges can have additional name-value pairs called properties, this data model is formally known as a property graph. The way users would move around a graph, it traverses along with specific edge types or across the entire graph. Traversing refers to a journey through or visiting nodes in the graph. In the graph databases, traversing to nodes through their relationships can be compared to the joins on the relational database tables, but these traverses are much quicker than the joins. This is because the relationships are stored in the graph, making retrieval of information from nodes a lot easier.

There are four basics behind a graph database, including Nodes, Relationships, Properties, and Labels. The major reason for the popularity of graph databases is the flexibility of the graph data model.

How to Select a Graph Database

Before delving into how to choose and what graph databases to choose, you must understand why to choose them. Databases like NoSQL has the potential to address potential challenges businesses face today in terms of data size and data complexity. These sorts of databases offer a valuable solution by delivering particular data models to cope with these dimensions. These databases, on one side, resolve issues for scaling out and high data values using compounded aggregate values. In contrast, on the other side, it presents a relationship-based data model that permits to model real-world information comprising high fidelity and complexity.

Most businesses use graph databases as these provide high-performance online query capabilities. However, selecting a graph database that can advance a business plan of an organization is not as easier as it seems. Since this database software is in its infancy and still evolving, enterprises may wrestle with distinct graph databases available out there.

Many experts suggest that users choose the right graph database based on the functionality that refers to a wide range of operations performed by the graph database. Those are query execution speed, scalability, update and insertion execution speed, and ease of use. Assessing the technology incorporated into graph database software is another crucial part of the overall evaluation of the effective graph database selection. Software vendors, implementation, and cost of ownership also must be prioritizing while choosing a graph database.

First published at Analytics Insight

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