Open In App

Introduction to Graph Database on NoSQL

Last Updated : 22 Feb, 2023
Like Article

A graph database is a type of NoSQL database that is designed to handle data with complex relationships and interconnections. In a graph database, data is stored as nodes and edges, where nodes represent entities and edges represent the relationships between those entities.

  1. Graph databases are particularly well-suited for applications that require deep and complex queries, such as social networks, recommendation engines, and fraud detection systems. They can also be used for other types of applications, such as supply chain management, network and infrastructure management, and bioinformatics.
  2. One of the main advantages of graph databases is their ability to handle and represent relationships between entities. This is because the relationships between entities are as important as the entities themselves, and often cannot be easily represented in a traditional relational database.
  3. Another advantage of graph databases is their flexibility. Graph databases can handle data with changing structures and can be adapted to new use cases without requiring significant changes to the database schema. This makes them particularly useful for applications with rapidly changing data structures or complex data requirements.
  4. However, graph databases may not be suitable for all applications. For example, they may not be the best choice for applications that require simple queries or that deal primarily with data that can be easily represented in a traditional relational database. Additionally, graph databases may require more specialized knowledge and expertise to use effectively.

Some popular graph databases include Neo4j, OrientDB, and ArangoDB. These databases provide a range of features, including support for different data models, scalability, and high availability, and can be used for a wide variety of applications.


As we all know the graph is a pictorial representation of data in the form of nodes and relationships which are represented by edges. A graph database is a type of database used to represent the data in the form of a graph. It has three components: nodes, relationships, and properties. These components are used to model the data. The concept of a Graph Database is based on the theory of graphs. It was introduced in the year 2000. They are commonly referred to NoSql databases as data is stored using nodes, relationships and properties instead of traditional databases. A graph database is very useful for heavily interconnected data. Here relationships between data are given priority and therefore the relationships can be easily visualized. They are flexible as new data can be added without hampering the old ones. They are useful in the fields of social networking, fraud detection, AI Knowledge graphs etc.

The description of components are as follows:

  • Nodes: represent the objects or instances. They are equivalent to a row in database. The node basically acts as a vertex in a graph. The nodes are grouped by applying a label to each member.
  • Relationships: They are basically the edges in the graph. They have a specific direction, type and form patterns of the data. They basically establish relationship between nodes.
  • Properties: They are the information associated with the nodes.

Some examples of Graph Databases software are Neo4j, Oracle NoSQL DB, Graph base etc. Out of which Neo4j is the most popular one. 

In traditional databases, the relationships between data is not established. But in the case of Graph Database, the relationships between data are prioritized. Nowadays mostly interconnected data is used where one data is connected directly or indirectly. Since the concept of this database is based on graph theory, it is flexible and works very fast for associative data. Often data are interconnected to one another which also helps to establish further relationships. It works fast in the querying part as well because with the help of relationships we can quickly find the desired nodes. join operations are not required in this database which reduces the cost. The relationships and properties are stored as first-class entities in Graph Database. 

Graph databases allow organizations to connect the data with external sources as well. Since organizations require a huge amount of data, often it becomes cumbersome to store data in the form of tables. For instance, if the organization wants to find a particular data that is connected with another data in another table, so first join operation is performed between the tables, and then search for the data is done row by row. But Graph database solves this big problem. They store the relationships and properties along with the data. So if the organization needs to search for a particular data, then with the help of relationships and properties the nodes can be found without joining or without traversing row by row. Thus the searching of nodes is not dependent on the amount of data.

Types of Graph Databases:

  • Property Graphs: These graphs are used for querying and analyzing data by modelling the relationships among the data. It comprises of vertices that has information about the particular subject and edges that denote the relationship. The vertices and edges have additional attributes called properties. 
  • RDF Graphs: It stands for Resource Description Framework. It focuses more on data integration. They are used to represent complex data with well defined semantics. It is represented by three elements: two vertices, an edge that reflect the subject, predicate and object of a sentence. Every vertex and edge is represented by URI(Uniform Resource Identifier). 

When to Use Graph Database?

  • Graph databases should be used for heavily interconnected data. 
  • It should be used when amount of data is larger and relationships are present.
  • It can be used to represent the cohesive picture of the data.

How Graph and Graph Databases Work? 

Graph databases provide graph models They allow users to perform traversal queries since data is connected. Graph algorithms are also applied to find patterns, paths and other relationships this enabling more analysis of the data. The algorithms help to explore the neighboring nodes, clustering of vertices analyze relationships and patterns. Countless joins are not required in this kind of database. 

Example of Graph Database:

  • Recommendation engines in E commerce use graph databases to provide customers with accurate recommendations, updates about new products thus increasing sales and satisfying the customer’s desires. 
  • Social media companies use graph databases to find the “friends of friends” or products that the user’s friends like and send suggestions accordingly to user.
  • To detect fraud Graph databases play a major role. Users can create graph from the transactions between entities and store other important information. Once created, running a simple query will help to identify the fraud. 

Advantages of Graph Database:

  • Potential advantage of Graph Database is establishing the relationships with external sources as well
  • No joins are required since relationships is already specified.
  • Query is dependent on concrete relationships and not on the amount of data.
  • It is flexible and agile.
  • it is easy to manage the data in terms of graph.
  • Efficient data modeling: Graph databases allow for efficient data modeling by representing data as nodes and edges. This allows for more flexible and scalable data modeling than traditional relational databases.
  • Flexible relationships: Graph databases are designed to handle complex relationships and interconnections between data elements. This makes them well-suited for applications that require deep and complex queries, such as social networks, recommendation engines, and fraud detection systems.
  • High performance: Graph databases are optimized for handling large and complex datasets, making them well-suited for applications that require high levels of performance and scalability.
  • Scalability: Graph databases can be easily scaled horizontally, allowing additional servers to be added to the cluster to handle increased data volume or traffic.
  • Easy to use: Graph databases are typically easier to use than traditional relational databases. They often have a simpler data model and query language, and can be easier to maintain and scale.

Disadvantages of Graph Database:

  • Often for complex relationships speed becomes slower in searching.
  • The query language is platform dependent.
  • They are inappropriate for transactional data
  • It has smaller user base.
  • Limited use cases: Graph databases are not suitable for all applications. They may not be the best choice for applications that require simple queries or that deal primarily with data that can be easily represented in a traditional relational database.
  • Specialized knowledge: Graph databases may require specialized knowledge and expertise to use effectively, including knowledge of graph theory and algorithms.
  • Immature technology: The technology for graph databases is relatively new and still evolving, which means that it may not be as stable or well-supported as traditional relational databases.
  • Integration with other tools: Graph databases may not be as well-integrated with other tools and systems as traditional relational databases, which can make it more difficult to use them in conjunction with other technologies.
  • Overall, graph databases on NoSQL offer many advantages for applications that require complex and deep relationships between data elements. They are highly flexible, scalable, and performant, and can handle large and complex datasets. However, they may not be suitable for all applications, and may require specialized knowledge and expertise to use effectively.

Future of Graph Database:

Graph Database is an excellent tool for storing data but it cannot be used to completely replace the traditional database. This database deals with a typical set of interconnected data. Although Graph Database is in the developmental phase it is becoming an important part as business and organizations are using big data and Graph databases help in complex analysis. Thus these databases have become a must for today’s needs and tomorrow success. 

Like Article
Suggest improvement
Share your thoughts in the comments

Similar Reads