Skip main navigation

Graph Data Stores


In the final step of this activity, we’ll explore the third type of NoSQL database called a graph store.

These are most valuable when we’re more interested in the relationship between the data than the data itself, and they allow for more easy visualisation of these relationships.

These graph stores use a different query syntax.

Structure of a graph store

A graph store is a structure that’s composed of vertices and edges. Both objects can have an arbitrary number of key-value pairs as properties.

  • Vertices/nodes – Vertices denote discrete entities, such as a person, a place, or an event.
  • Edges/relationships – Edges denote relationships between vertices. For example, a person might know another person, be involved in an event, and recently been at a location.
  • Properties – Properties express information about the vertices and edges. There can be any number of properties in either vertices or edges, and they can be used to describe and filter the objects in a query.
    • Example properties include a vertex that has name and age, or an edge, which can have a time-stamp and/or a weight.
  • Label – A label is a name or the identifier of a vertex or an edge. Labels can group multiple vertices or edges in such a way that all the vertices/edges in a group have a certain label.
    • For example, a graph can have multiple vertices of label type “person”.

Graph databases are often included within the NoSQL or non-relational database category since there is no dependency on a schema or constrained data model. This lack of schema allows for modelling and storing connected structures naturally and efficiently.

Azure CosmosDB

To create a graph store, we have the choice of either the Graph or Gremlin API.

In the next activity, you’ll put some of the concepts discussed in this activity into practice in the Data Stores CloudSwyft Hands-On Learning Lab. Once you’ve completed the lab, gauge your understanding of the content in the Knowledge Check that follows.

Join the discussion

What could be some valuable applications of graph stores other than the example in the video of social media followers?

Use the Discussion section below and let us know your thoughts. Try to respond to at least one other post and once you’re happy with your contribution, click the Mark as complete button to move on to the next step.

This article is from the free online

Microsoft Future Ready: Fundamentals of Big Data

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education