On Neo4j Aura Enterprise. Q&A with Ramanan Balakrishnan

Ramanan Balakrishnan is Senior Director of Product Marketing at Neo4j. As an engineer turned product manager and marketer with more than 18 years of experience, he’s passionate about building disruptive tech, bootstrapping v1 products, and scaling them to high growth businesses. He’s managed and launched a variety of successful hardware and B2B SaaS products in the cloud in both large organizations and startups. 

“More than 90% of our customers chose to run their graph-powered applications in the cloud, many of whom were first-time graph technology users.”

Tell us about what 2020 taught you about how people are using graph databases? 

For Neo4j, in 2020, we saw our customers rapidly turning to the cloud. More than 90% of our customers chose to run their graph-powered applications in the cloud, many of whom were first-time graph technology users. Additionally, as global businesses slowed down due to COVID-19, we saw a rise in demand from organizations looking to use graph databases to manage supply chains and ensure business continuity during one of the most uncertain periods. 

We are also pleased to see our graph database technology used to solve real-world problems. Last year was no exception, with highlights such as uncovering money laundering in the FinCEN Files and the work that came out of our Graphs4Good GraphHack, where developers, data scientists, researchers, and other practitioners worked on various projects to fight the escalating spread of COVID-19. 

You just launched Neo4j Aura Enterprise; if you could share three things people should know about it, what would they be?

First, Neo4j Aura Enterprise supports large scale graph databases with billions of nodes and properties without compromising performance. Second, it meets enterprise customers’ stringent security and compliance requirements, as well as granular and controlled access to even the most sensitive data. Finally, Neo4j Aura Enterprise is highly reliable with a self-healing infrastructure and 99.95 percent uptime guarantee without any scheduled downtime that keeps service available and optimized for any company’s critical workloads.

There are several other Database as a Service (DBaaS) offerings in the market. How does Neo4j Aura Enterprise differ from them? 

Neo4j Aura Enterprise is designed to simplify and manage security and reliability so that developers can focus on core innovation without worrying about maintaining the database. Aura Enterprise brings the battle-tested and trusted Neo4j platform for cloud-native environments. Aura Enterprise meets organizations’ exacting requirements for security and governance with granular node and property-level access control. With an ACID compliant, always-on database service, application teams can rest assured that their mission-critical workloads are always running while the service automatically applies upgrades and patches without downtime. Aura Enterprise offers a uniquely simple consumption-based pricing model that makes it easy to model and predict costs while staying agile.

Who is currently using Neo4j Aura Enterprise, and for what?

Early demand for Aura Enterprise has been strong, with organizations including Levi Strauss & Co., Adeo, and The Orchard choosing Aura for friction-free graph database deployment. Even customers who are new to graph technology have ramped up quickly to solve their most complex data and analytics problems. We’re seeing our customers use Aura Enterprise to solve a wide variety of complex issues, including customer 360, supply chain management, recommendation engines, fraud detection, knowledge graphs, regulatory compliance applications.

What types of use cases are emerging?

Graphs are powerful in situations where connections and relationships in data matter. We’ve seen our customers, such as Dun & Bradstreet and PwC, using Aura Enterprise to fight anti-money laundering, fraud, and other financial crimes. Boston Scientific uses Aura Enterprise to analyze relationships between manufacturing batches and map the intricate data across their many complex supply chains and processes. In general, we’ve seen our customers use Aura Enterprise for various use cases and are excited to see what others emerge. 

What can we expect from Neo4j in the cloud in 2021?

Due to the pandemic, we see organizations rapidly adopt the cloud and accelerate their digital transformation efforts. Our customers have continued to push their problem-solving boundaries with graphs. At Neo4j, we continue to double down on making our platform available everywhere and for everyone. We will expand our offerings to be multi-cloud, providing organizations the flexibility to deploy in their cloud platform of choice. We are also very excited about introducing a new free tier of Aura that would allow a user to start, learn, and use graphs almost instantly, with zero friction and zero cost.

Sponsored by Neo4J.

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