SQL Server 2017 Graph Database References

This is a list of references I used in creating my SQL Saturday presentation on SQL Server 2017 graph databases. To get started with the graph database features of SQL Server 2017, I recommend that you start with the following official Microsoft documentation:



https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/relational-databases/graphs/sql-graph-sample it provides code for creating and query a simple graph database

or download all three web pages as this single pdf https://docs.microsoft.com/pdfstore/en-us/SQL.sql-content/live/relational-databases/graphs.pdf

Next I recommend reading this to compare and contrast SQL Server 2017 graph to built for purpose graph databases as well as learn about limitations of graph in SQL Server 2017: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/dataplatforminsider/2017/04/20/graph-data-processing-with-sql-server-2017/ Notice how it mentions directionality of edges.

Once you’re ready for a larger graph database, look at https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/sqlcat/2017/04/21/build-a-recommendation-system-with-the-support-for-graph-data-in-sql-server-2017-and-azure-sql-db/ . You might want to learn more about graph databases than what you will find in the Microsoft documentation. It’s good to know about built for purpose graph databases.

Here’s a good article to explain SQL Server 2017 graph in more detail and also discuss the broader topic of graph databases outside of just Microsoft. Once again notice that directionality is mentioned. http://www.nikoport.com/2017/06/03/sql-graph-part-i/

If you’d like to see another simple graph database in SQL Server 2017, you might want to look at https://stephanefrechette.com/sql-graph-sql-server-2017/

No discussion of graph databases is complete without mentioning Neo4j . You can download and install the community edition for free. Neo4j is built for purpose. The Cypher query language is used to query Neo4j. Once you familiarize yourself with Cypher you’ll see that Microsoft’s graph extensions to SQL Server are similar to Cypher syntax. Two people who work for Neo4j authored a free O’Reilly ebook on graph databases that you can obtain from http://graphdatabases.com/ . The title of the book is The Definitive Book on Graph Databases and Introduction to Neo4j, so it tells you that it is biased toward Neo4j. Once again, you should probably pay attention to edge directionality. If you want to read more but want something short instead of a book, try this Wikipedia page on graph databases .

If you’ve checked out any of these links, I’m confident you’ve seen at least one force-directed graph visualization. You’ll want a software tool to create these. There is a Force-Directed Graph visualization for Power BI . I wasn’t able to get it to work with SQL Server 2017 CTP 2.1. You can download this sample Power BI report and see what the Force-Directed Graph visualization looks like.

Figure 1. Force-Directed Graph report in Power BI.

Figure 2. Mouseover on the node named Logan.

When you are reading about graph databases, it’s important that you don’t let the terminology confuse you. Sometimes authors use the word connections instead of relationships when referring to graph databases. Just kind in mind that a relationship in a graph database context is different from relationship in a relational database context. Graph nodes represent entities.

Graph databases are good for applications in fraud detection, management of hierarchies such as bill of materials (BOM – don’t pronounce it at an airport) and parts explosions (opposite of a bill of materials, also not good to discuss at airports), social networks, and purchase recommendations among many other things. I liked reading the academic paper Incremental Anomaly Detection in Graphs . Graph based anomaly detection and description: a survey is another good paper but it is not free to the general public.

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