Amazon Neptune is a fast, reliable, fully-managed graph database service that makes it easy to build and run applications that work with highly connected datasets. The core of Amazon Neptune is a purpose-built, high-performance graph database engine optimized for storing billions of relationships and querying the graph with milliseconds latency.

When to use graph databases

Graph databases, like Amazon Neptune, are purpose-built to store and navigate relationships. They have advantages over relational databases for use cases like social networking, recommendation engines, and fraud detection, where you need to create relationships between data and quickly query these relationships.

There are a number of challenges to building these types of applications using a relational database. You would need multiple tables with multiple foreign keys. SQL queries to navigate this data would require nested queries and complex joins that quickly become unwieldy, and the queries would not perform well as your data size grows over time.

Neptune uses graph structures such as nodes (data entities), edges (relationships), and properties to represent and store data. The relationships are stored as first-order citizens of the data model. This allows data in nodes to be directly linked, dramatically improving the performance of queries that navigate relationships in the data.

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