Amazon is in the middle of its AWS Re:INVENT keynote right now, and the company just announced a brand new database service. Amazon Neptune has been specifically designed for relationship graphs. So if you’re thinking about building a social network feature, Neptune can help you.
The issue with traditional relational databases is that they’re not made for complex social graphs with complicated lists of friends and followers. By default, you have to run demanding database queries to list the friends you have in common for instance.
So you can either throw more coal into the engine or you can optimize your database. Amazon Neptune has been optimized to handle billions of relationships and run queries within milliseconds. Neptune supports fast-failover, point-in-time recovery and Multi-AZ deployments. And you can also encrypt data at rest.
Amazon is trying to use existing technologies to interact with Neptune. The database service supports graph models Property Graph and W3C’s RDF and their query languages Apache TinkerPop Gremlin and SPARQL.
Graph databases can be useful beyond social networks and dating apps. You can use a graph database for recommendation engines, logistics, genomic sequencing and more. Let’s see if big clients are going to switch to Amazon Neptune in the coming months. More details here.