Some product releases break new ground, others are more about sowing and reaping; incrementally realizing the benefits of previous innovations while preparing for further gains.
Approximately one year ago, Neo4j released Neo4j 4.0 – a landmark development in graph technology – further extending the world’s leading graph database.
4.0 was big on headlines, and rightly so. In many ways, it marked the emergence of the graph database into the mainstream of enterprise technology – a true multi-database, multi-use system, able to provide the assurances that enterprises demand on security and scalability, while (further) delighting developers with a reactive API and close integration with developer ecosystems.
Neo4j 4.2 marks the completion of some critical capabilities in performance, operability and security.
Now, we are excited to announce Neo4j 4.2. While it may not be a headline-grabber like 4.0, we think it’s a major step forward in the maturity of the category. Let me explain why.
Firstly, performance is crucial in this release, with improvements across the stack.
Performance gains include extending the implementation of our OLTP optimization runtime to all read operations.
Our Cypher planner has also been enhanced to better handle complex queries with multiple-match clauses.
Meanwhile, the parser is up to 10x more efficient, creating significant gains for workloads with high volumes of queries.
Several of these gains have a particular impact at scale – essential for our global customer base – which deals with sharply growing datasets even as they expand their graph estates to cover ever more use cases.
But we know that performance at scale is only as viable as the team that implements and operates the estate at scale.
So our second area of improvement is in operability.
Neo4j 4.2 sees the implementation of more operations for multiple database instances and multi-tenancy scenarios, with more granular backup / restore and better portability of permissions (not just for resilience and recovery, but also to make load-balancing and re-architecting easier).
Sharding your estate to take advantage of Neo4j 4.x’s Fabric architecture has also been made more accessible, with “filtered store copy” functionality, which lets you migrate parts of your graph between stores, based on node labels or relationship properties.
And of course, Neo4j’s unrivaled ecosystem of tools to help your team work with the database – monitoring, ETL, application development, and querying – continues to lead.
Managing graph data at scale is also subject to meeting enterprise requirements.
Thirdly, we’ve made enhancements to security features. Neo4j is already the only graph database to implement role-based access control (introduced in 4.0).
Release 4.2 now extends coverage to internal and user-defined procedures and functions, making it easier to operate a graph system to serve multiple roles and use cases in your organization, while meeting your obligations in security, role segregation and compliance.
Access to information about indexes and constraints is also now subject to access control.
And there’s more…
I’ve picked out a few themes in this summary, but 4.2 is full of enhancements across the database stack; in the Cypher query language, drivers, cluster management and in the kernel.
What’s more, 4.2 is the most stable, battle-tested release of Neo4j yet.
With the move into a fully managed cloud service – in the form of Neo4j Aura™ – we’ve been running drops of Neo4j 4.2 on 100s of production workloads for some months now, and have scaled our testing infrastructure to match, so you can be confident that 4.2 is the release to target for your upgrade or new installation.
Neo4j 4.2 is downloadable now, integrated into Neo4j desktop for the quickest getting started experience possible, and also available for other deployment options.
There’ll be community engagement in the coming weeks and months to help you find out more about this release and our direction for Neo4j, and to let us know your views. So watch out for invitations, and speak to your customer success manager about upgrading to Neo4j 4.2 today!
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