RDF and graphs

Analysis of data management technology optimized for RDF-formatted and/or graph data.

July 8, 2012

Database diversity revisited

From time to time, I try to step back and build a little taxonomy for the variety in database technology. One effort was 4 1/2 years ago, in a pre-planned exchange with Mike Stonebraker (his side, alas, has since been taken down). A year ago I spelled out eight kinds of analytic database.

The angle I’ll take this time is to say that every sufficiently large enterprise needs to be cognizant of at least 7 kinds of database challenge. General notes on that include:

The Big Seven database challenges that almost any enterprise faces are: Read more

July 5, 2012

Introduction to Neo Technology and Neo4j

I’ve been talking some with the Neo Technology/Neo4j guys, including Emil Eifrem (CEO/cofounder), Johan Svensson (CTO/cofounder), and Philip Rathle (Senior Director of Products). Basics include:

Numbers and historical facts include:

Read more

July 2, 2012

Introduction to Yarcdata

Cray’s strategy these days seems to be:

At the moment, the main diversifications are:

The last of the three is what Cray subsidiary Yarcdata is all about. Read more

May 13, 2012

Notes on the analysis of large graphs

This post is part of a series on managing and analyzing graph data. Posts to date include:

My series on graph data management and analytics got knocked off-stride by our website difficulties. Still, I want to return to one interesting set of issues — analyzing large graphs, specifically ones that don’t fit comfortably into RAM on a single server. By no means do I have the subject figured out. But here are a few notes on the matter.

How big can a graph be? That of course depends on:

*Even if your graph has 10 billion nodes, those can be tokenized in 34 bits, so the main concern is edges. Edges can include weights, timestamps, and so on, but how many specifics do you really need? At some point you can surely rely on a pointer to full detail stored elsewhere.

The biggest graph-size estimates I’ve gotten are from my clients at Yarcdata, a division of Cray. (“Yarc” is “Cray” spelled backwards.) To my surprise, they suggested that graphs about people could have 1000s of edges per node, whether in:

Yarcdata further suggested that bioinformatics use cases could have node counts higher yet, characterizing Bio2RDF as one of the “smaller” ones at 22 billion nodes. In these cases, the nodes/edge average seems lower than in people-analysis graphs, but we’re still talking about 100s of billions of edges.

Recalling that relationship analytics boils down to finding paths and subgraphs, the naive relational approach to such tasks would be: Read more

May 7, 2012

Relationship analytics application notes

This post is part of a series on managing and analyzing graph data. Posts to date include:

In my recent post on graph data models, I cited various application categories for relationship analytics. For most applications, it’s hard to get a lot of details. Reasons include:

Even so, it’s fairly safe to say:

Read more

May 7, 2012

Terminology: Relationship analytics

This post is part of a series on managing and analyzing graph data. Posts to date include:

In late 2005, I encountered a company called Cogito that was using a graphical data manager to analyze relationships. They called this “relational analytics”, which I thought was a terrible name for something that they were trying to claim should NOT be done in a relational DBMS. On the spot, I coined relationship analytics as an alternative. A business relationship ensued, which included a short white paper. Cogito didn’t do so well, however, and for a while the term “relationship analytics” faltered too. But recently it’s made a bit of a comeback, having been adopted by Objectivity, Qlik Tech, Yarcdata and others.

“Relationship analytics” is not a perfect name, both because it’s longish and because it might over-connote a social-network focus. But then, no other term would be perfect either. So we might as well stick with it.

In that case, “relationship analytics” could use an actual definition, preferably one a little heftier than just:

Analytics on graphs.

Read more

May 4, 2012

Notes on graph data management

This post is part of a series on managing and analyzing graph data. Posts to date include:

Interest in graph data models keeps increasing. But it’s tough to discuss them with any generality, because “graph data model” encompasses so many different things. Indeed, just as all data structures can be mapped to relational ones, it is also the case that all data structures can be mapped to graphs.

Formally, a graph is a collection of (node, edge, node) triples. In the simplest case, the edge has no properties other than existence or maybe direction, and the triple can be reduced to a (node, node) pair, unordered or ordered as the case may be. It is common, however, for edges to encapsulate additional properties, the canonical examples of which are:

Many of the graph examples I can think of fit into four groups: Read more

April 4, 2012

IBM DB2 10

Shortly before Tuesday’s launch of DB2 10, IBM’s Conor O’Mahony checked in for a relatively non-technical briefing.* More precisely, this is about DB2 for “distributed” systems, aka LUW (Linux/Unix/Windows); some of the features have already been in the mainframe version of DB2 for a while. IBM is graciously permitting me to post the associated DB2 10 announcement slide deck.

*I hope any errors in interpretation are minor.

Major aspects of DB2 10 include new or improved capabilities in the areas of:

Of course, there are various other enhancements too, including to security (fine-grained access control), Oracle compatibility, and DB2 pureScale. Everything except the pureScale part is also reflected in IBM InfoSphere Warehouse, which is a near-superset of DB2.*

*Also, the data ingest part isn’t in base DB2.

Read more

September 8, 2011

Aster Data business trends

Last month, I reviewed with the Aster Data folks which markets they were targeting and selling into, subsequent to acquisition by their new orange overlords. The answers aren’t what they used to be. Aster no longer focuses much on what it used to call frontline (i.e., low-latency, operational) applications; those are of course a key strength for Teradata. Rather, Aster focuses on investigative analytics — they’ve long endorsed my use of the term — and on the batch run/scoring kinds of applications that inform operational systems.

Read more

June 20, 2011

Vertica as an analytic platform

Vertica 5.0 is coming out today, and delivering the down payment on Vertica’s analytic platform strategy. In Vertica lingo, there’s now a Vertica SDK (Software Development Kit), featuring Vertica UDT(F)s* (User-Defined Transform Functions). Vertica UDT syntax basics start:  Read more

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