Eifrem: It's because the graph model fundamentally assumes that data is connected, whereas the relational model was built back in the 1970s when databases were mostly used to sort tabular data.
InfoWorld: But you're not going to use a graph database for a payroll application or anything like that?
Eifrem: Payroll is actually the example that I always use, because payroll is first name, last name, age, salary, title maybe, and super-well-structured, very tabular, and awesome for a relational database. That's the original use case.
InfoWorld: Are graph databases limited to a single machine?
Eifrem: Neo4j is an open source project. It has a community edition, which is a fully featured graph database, but it runs just on one machine. But then there's Neo4j Enterprise, which is the commercial edition and that's the one that Cisco uses, that's the one that Adobe uses. We have more than 20 of the Global 2000 using Neo4j Enterprise. It's clustered across many, many machines.
InfoWorld: What would you say is the main takeaway from a graph database?
Eifrem: I would say two things. One is it's 1,000 times faster for a lot of queries on connected data than a relational database. The second thing is that it's a lot more intuitive to model many domains as a graph. If you have a domain that is very connected and messy and changing, it's very intuitive and easy to model it with a graph database.
InfoWorld: With Neo4j, can you query it over the Internet?
Eifrem: It has a RESTful API where you can query over the Web. Or you can run it locally. It runs in the cloud on Heroku.
InfoWorld: Neo4j is written in Java, correct?
Eifrem: It's written in Java, that's the 4j.
InfoWorld: Given recent problems with Java security, are you concerned about the security ramifications of Java?