Graph for the mass market: Neo4j launches Aura on Google Cloud
Neo4j just launched its cloud offering, which it says will make graph mainstream. We discuss the offering with CEO Emil Eifrem, and take a look at where the graph market is right now.
Neo4j Aura, a fully managed native graph Database as a Service (DBaaS), has just been released. The key points Neo4j emphasizes about Aura are always-on availability, on-demand scalability, and a developer-first approach. With Aura, Neo4j, and graph databases, enter the cloud era.
Aura has been in the works, and we have known about it for at least a couple of years now. Initially, Aura will run on Google Cloud, and we have also known about Neo4j’s partnership with Google since April 2019. So, when discussing Aura with Neo4j CEO Emil Eifrem and Neo4j Cloud product management director Kurt Freytag, these were key points:
What took Aura so long, and where does it stand in relation to the Google Cloud partnership?
Cloud has been a strategic priority for Neo4j for a while now, and one that Eifrem shared in previous conversations, too. As Eifrem put it, sometimes calling out where things are going is the easy part — the hard part is figuring out exactly when things will happen. So, that is one part of the answer; Neo4j wanted to sync with the market.
The other part has to do with the technical complexity that underpins Aura. As Freytag put it, they wanted to do it the right way. The way Neo4j has chosen to implement Aura is based on Kubernetes. Managing stateful workloads, which is a requirement for bringing any database to the cloud, only became possible with Kubernetes recently.
Interestingly, a Kubernetes-based implementation means that, although Aura initially runs on Google Cloud, it can also run on AWS and Microsoft Azure. This is part of the reason Kubernetes was chosen, and AWS and Azure will be supported eventually, too. Which brings us to the second point: Where does Aura stand in relation to the Google Cloud partnership?
Aura does not equal the Neo4j-Google partnership. As per Eifrem, Neo4j is working on deeply integrating with GCP, and there will be another announcement on that soon. The goal is to have two entry points for Aura. Google Cloud customers will eventually be able to use Aura just like they use Google products such as Spanner or BigTable and even integrate with them.