Neo4j builds tools for creating graph databases, and today at its GraphConnect conference in New York City, it announced a new platform for developers to build graph-based applications using a common set of services.
Emil Eifrem, Neo4j co-founder, says while the concept of graph databases has steadily gained in popularity in recent years, the databases need to connect to various enterprise systems. That requires more of a platform play that allows developers to build applications more quickly.
Before today's announcement, customers were forced to create their own architecture to manually connect to these systems. "What we’ve learned over the years, which should come as a huge shock to no one, was that our customers don’t use our products in isolation. What we saw time and again was that many built their own architecture and the software to connect to the database," Eifrem explained. As part of offering a more mature solution, it made sense to provide a platform of services for the customer instead of having them build their own.
This includes integration with various open source tools like Hadoop and Spark, graph visualization and analytics tools and a developer desktop control for controlling configuration.
You might not know it, but you use graph databases all the time. It is the database that shows you the connections between you and your friends on Facebook, or when you're shopping online finds you other products you might be interested in based on what you bought. It's actually a very important technology, especially in an age of growing amounts of data precisely because it is built to find connections in the data that might not otherwise be readily apparent.
You also may not know that Neo4j actually coined the term graph database to describe these types of connections. Today, graph databases are becoming increasingly commonplace. Earlier this month Box announced a Box graph, which is designed to surface the relationships between files and the people who use them to help automate content delivery based on what you can learn from those relationships.
Neo4j launched in 2007 and has raised over $80 million. While the base tool is open source, that has allowed the company to be number one graph database while offering commercial services on top of the open source offering. The company has over 250 commercial customers including Comcast, Cisco, eBay and Walmart.
This article originally appeared on TechCrunch.