Definition

Amazon Neptune

Contributor(s): Tim Culverhouse

Amazon Neptune is a managed service that enables a user to create and manage a graph database in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud. Neptune can support a scalable, high-performance graph database, which is a type of NoSQL database that can store, map and query relationships between data sets.

Amazon Neptune simplifies the process for a developer to write queries that can search connected data points with low latency. Neptune supports graph models, such as World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Resource Description Framework (RDF) and Property Graph, along with their respective query languages, SPARQL and Apache TinkerPop Gremlin.

Amazon Neptune must run within an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), which enables network isolation and greater database control. An admin can also integrate AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) to control user and group access, as well as AWS Key Management Service (KMS) for database encryption.

Amazon Neptune was introduced at AWS re:Invent in November 2017 and released into four regions in the U.S. and Europe in late May 2018.

Amazon Neptune features

Amazon markets Neptune as highly available and durable. Neptune replicates data six times across three availability zones (AZs) in 10 GB segments. Neptune is ACID (atomicity, consistency, isolation and durability)-compliant and provides fault-tolerant and self-healing storage.

In the event of a database instance failure, Neptune automatically restarts in a process that usually lasts less than a minute. Neptune automates failover to a replica instance in another AZ. If a user has not created any Neptune replicas, the graph database will automatically attempt to create a new database instance. Neptune automatically backs up data to Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), and database instances are enabled with point-in-time recovery.

Create and configure a Neptune database instance.
Create a new Neptune database instance in AWS Management Console.

The service enables up to 15 database read replicas, all of which share the same storage as the source instance, to boost read capacity and reduce costs. Neptune does not support cross-region replicas.

Amazon Neptune can scale database instances up or down to meet traffic demands and automatically scale storage capacity up to 64 TB with low effect on performance.

Amazon Neptune uses

With Amazon Neptune, a developer can build knowledge graph applications, which enable an end user to explore relationships between different data points. For example, if an end user wanted to explore all of the actors that a particular film director has worked with, a knowledge graph application would enable him or her to see those connections.

Neptune's ability to process connections between high volumes of data, such as user profiles and interactions, could also make it a good fit for social network applications. For example, Neptune can prioritize search or feed results for a social media app, enabling an end user to see updates from the individuals with whom they most regularly interact.

Developers can also apply Neptune to fraud protection efforts, as the graph database service could process transactions in real time and identify red flags to signal potential fraud.

This was last updated in July 2018

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