Summary:

Graph databases are a pretty specialized product — but as NoSQL keeps gaining mainstream acceptance, they seem to be catching on, and the latest evidence comes in the form of a $10.6 million funding found for Silicon Valley firm Neo Technology.

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Graph databases are among the more specialized databases around, but as NoSQL keeps gaining mainstream acceptance, they seem to be finding a place in the greater IT consciousness. The latest evidence comes in the form of Neo Technology‘s $10.6 million funding round for its support of the Neo4j graph database.

Technically, the “NoSQL” label applies to a broad collection of databases that do a wide variety of things, with a single unifying characteristic: that they’re not SQL. Although document-oriented systems (such as MongoDB and CouchDB) and key-value stores (such as Cassandra) get much of the attention because they address common issues around scale, speed and flexibility for web companies and even large enterprises, graph databases are finding their own voice.

As I explained previously while covering GoldenOrb, another graph database:

Essentially, graph databases excel at finding relationships between disparate pieces of data, with one major use case being social graphs. They run analyses over terabytes of graph data while maintaining the relationships between the data, even as the data and the relationships constantly evolve.

Aside from GoldenOrb, an open source product from Austin, Texas-based startup Ravel Data, we’ve also recently seen database veteran Objectivity work its way into the NoSQL space with its InfiniteGraph product.

Graph databases have actually been around for a while, but they’ve gained some popularity recently because of their use with large web properties such as Google and Twitter. Google built its own called Pregel, and Twitter built one called FlockDB.

For its part, Neo4j is an open source database for which the Menlo Park, Calif.-based Neo Technology offers support, services and commercial licenses. Fidelity Growth Partners led this funding round for Neo — its first — along with seed investors Sunstone Capital and Conor Venture Partners.

Images courtesy of Neo4j.

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