Introducing Neo4j Aura: A New Graph Database as a Service


This post originally appeared on the Emil Eifrem blog on 6 November 2019.

I am so thrilled to announce Neo4j Aura, the first fully managed native graph Database as a Service (DBaaS).

Aura is an entirely new, built-from-the-ground-up, multi-tenant graph DBaaS based on Neo4j. It lets any developer take advantage of the best graph database in the world via a frictionless service in the cloud.

Learn more about Neo4j Aura, the first full managed graph DBaaS.


A Developer-First Approach


When we began building Neo4j all those years ago, we wanted to give developers a database that was very powerful, flexible… and accessible to all. We believed that open source was the best way to bring this product to developers worldwide.

Since then, the vast majority of our paying customers have started out with data practitioners leading the way. Individual developers downloaded Neo4j, experimented with it, and realized graphs were an ideal way to model and traverse connected data.

However, only a few of those developers had direct access to a budget to make the leap to our Enterprise Edition. Neo4j Aura bridges that gap for individuals, small teams and established startups. I believe this is the next logical step in Neo4j’s vision to help the world make sense of data.

The Neo4j engineering team has been working on Aura for several years, building what I think is going to be quite an extraordinary experience for the Neo4j developer community and the businesses they represent.

Discover what makes Neo4j Aura unique.


Let me explain a few things I think make Neo4j Aura unique.

Neo4j Aura Offers Always-On Availability


From the outset, Neo4j Aura was designed for fault tolerance and always-on availability.

I think we all know that no infrastructure is perfect, especially in a cloud world. So we’ve designed Neo4j Aura with intelligent self-healing to constantly monitor the running system, identify emerging issues and proactively address them to ensure your database availability is never interrupted.

You’ll Always Have the Latest Updates

Within this self-healing system, Neo4j Aura manages complex processes such as tuning, security patches, software updates and configuration changes. These get applied to your running system without any downtime whatsoever.

Data Storage Will Always Be Dependable

At Neo4j, we’ve always stayed laser-focused on data durability – starting with our focus on an ACID transactional kernel back when the talk of the town in the NoSQL world was that transactions were lame and eventual consistency was the only thing that mattered – and Neo4j Aura is no exception to our commitment.

We built Neo4j Aura with dependability at its core. Neo4j Aura not only ensures ACID transactional consistency for every write but also replicates your data across three separate physical disks to ensure the durability of your data. Finally, Neo4j Aura automatically backs up your database daily so you can always roll back to a previous version.

Neo4j Aura Provides On-Demand Scalability


The second major characteristic of Neo4j Aura is on-demand scalability. To me, this is one of the great fundamental promises of the cloud: to scale up to meet peak loads and then scale back down later.

I’m sure many of us have heard – or lived through – the stories: It’s Black Friday or Cyber Monday and traffic (maybe unexpectedly) reaches peak load. Suddenly you have way more traffic on your system than you originally planned for.

In the old, pre-cloud world, you would talk to IT, and they would start provisioning servers and – if you’re lucky – you would have more infrastructure a day later. Or a week. Or a month.

As we were looking at other DBaaS offerings out there, it was really surprising to me to see that in many cases you actually have to shut down your system when scaling up. To me, that seems entirely backwards: the last time you want to have downtime is when peak load is starting to hit!

With Neo4j Aura, you can scale up or down with zero downtime.

Neo4j Aura Is Developer Friendly


Whether you’re leading a small dev team or you’re a lone wolf developer, Neo4j Aura enables you to build the next generation of cloud-native applications.

With the power and ease of use of Cypher on top of a native graph database, your team’s queries can traverse connected datasets like never before. Likewise, Aura offers a rich set of integration possibilities for developers whether you’re serverless using Lambda or Google Cloud Functions, or you’re using GraphQL with GRANDstack and a React front-end.

// For those enterprise customers who need to customize their cloud deployment, please ask your Neo4j contact about our white-glove offering, Neo4j Cloud Managed Services (CMS).

Concluding Thoughts


I’m really so, so blown away by Neo4j Aura – it’s a great piece of technology – but I’m even more excited to see all the amazing applications you’ll build with it. Please go check it out, and as always, we look forward to hearing your feedback.