With $20M, Neo Technology makes a case for the graph database

Neo Technology, the creator of the Neo4j graph database, has brought in $20 million in series C money, signaling that we are indeed seeing the rise of graph analysis in big data. The startup now has $44.1 million in total funding.

Unlike document databases like MongoDB, graph databases deal with the relationships between data points and are used by big social networking companies like Facebook and Pinterest to map out the connections of their many users. For example, Pinterest’s graph architecture lets the startup know which users are following other users as well as how their interests overlap with each other.

Similar to the NoSQL world where several companies and related projects like MongoDB, Couchbase and DataStax vie for the crown, there are many different graph database projects with no clear leader(s) yet. Some examples include GraphLab Inc. and the open-source GraphLab database, the Facebook-developed Giraph open-source database and the Cassovary big graph-processing library brought to you by Twitter.

Neo Technology CEO and founder Emil Eifrem said his startup stands out from other projects because of its large development community; the company claims it has 20,000 Neo4j Meetup members in 25 countries and has received 500,000 downloads since Neo4j 2.0 was released last year. Eifrem said that Neo4j now supports many different languages, frameworks and tooling through the help of community support and developers.

Neo4j was created from the ground up by Neo Technology’s founders back in 2007 and is not a rejiggered version of MySQL with some sort of relational layer built on top of it, he said.

Neo4j browser screenshot

Neo4j browser screenshot

As far as building a viable business, Neo Technology is following in the footsteps of other open-source-centric startups like [company]Docker[/company] in that it sells commercial software that functions as “operations and management tools,” but which is built atop open-source technology. While developers can download Neo4j for free, enterprises that want more-traditional IT features like monitoring and management and clustering will have to cough up some cash.

“I can’t see a big, serious company putting [the free version] in production,” Eifrem said.

The 80-person startup claims [company]Walmart[/company], [company]eBay[/company], [company]CenturyLink[/company], [company]Cisco[/company] and Medium as users of the Neo4j database.

Creandum and Dawn Capital drive the funding round along with Fidelity Growth Partners Europe, Sunstone Capital and Conor Venture Partners. Johan Brenner, a Creandum general partner, will join Neo Technology’s board.

Teradata says Hadoop is good for business — but for how long?

Teradata announced a new set of features and products on Monday that should improve its position as a go-to analytics vendor even in an age of Hadoop. But as open sources technologies evolve, Teradata might face a challenge to attract new users.

Apache Tajo SQL-on-Hadoop engine now a top-level project

Apache Tajo, a relational database warehouse system for Hadoop, has graduated to to-level status within the Apache Software Foundation. It might be easy to overlook Tajo because its creators, committers and users are largely based in Korea — and because there’s a whole lot of similar technologies, including one developed at Facebook — but the project could be a dark horse in the race for mass adoption. Among Tajo’s lead contributors are an engineer from LinkedIn and members of the Hortonworks technical team, which suggests those companies see some value in it even among the myriad other options.

MemSQL throws a curve, adds column store on flash

MemSQL, the database startup from two former Facebook engineers, has already raised a lot of money and roped in some big customers. Now it’s looking to broaden its footprint with a flash-optimized columnar store to complement its in-memory row-based one.

Cloudera says Impala is faster than Hive, which isn’t saying much

Cloudera is touting the speed of its Impala query engine compared to Hive and a leading relational database system, but those aren’t really apples-to-apples comparisons. The real question is how all the SQL-on-Hadoop options stack up against one another.

Calvin: A fast, cheap database that isn’t a database at all

Yale researchers Daniel Abadi and Alexander Thomson think they have developed the cure for Oracle and IBM dominance in the world of database performance, and it isn’t even technically a database. The two have created a system they think can level the playing field.

Survey: NoSQL adoption driven by schema hate

Database professionals planning to take the NoSQL leap this year said the restrictive schemas in the RDBMS world drove their move. High latency, high cost and inability to scale out were also cited as reasons to move beyond SQL databases.

Amazon launches home-grown NoSQL database

Amazon Web Services is adding a home-grown NoSQL database to its roster of cloud computing offerings. Amazon CTO Werner Vogels calls DynamoDB a “fully managed” NoSQL implementation the company built over the years and and tested by customers for a few months.