With their thousands of software engineers, huge resources and myriad databases, the Googles, Amazons and Facebooks may seem to inhabit an alternative IT universe.

But what the big web services firms are doing today with data volumes and data types will soon be the common experience for many businesses, according to Neo Technology CEO Emil Eifrem.

Neo Technology is the company that developed the open-source Neo4j graph database, implemented in Java, which is used by businesses such as eBay and Walmart. Graph databases use nodes and the connections between them to describe networks and contexts.

“If you’re interested in seeing the future of how data-oriented architectures are likely to evolve, the future is already here — just unevenly distributed,” Eifrem said.

“What that means is if you look at some of the big web services — the Googles and the Amazons of the world — they are already today dealing with the volume and shape of data that everyone else will be working on in five years from now.”

Those companies have invested a lot of time in building up systems that keep data in sync, to cope with it being broken down and distributed to various types of databases chosen for their efficiency at certain tasks.

“When you receive an email in your Gmail account, that’s going to be chopped up into various forms and stored as a simple log over here in maybe the equivalent of a document database. But then over here all the contacts and the keywords are going to be stored in a graph database. Then they have really awesome systems for keeping all that data in sync,” he said.

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