[Neo] neo4j for the sysadmin?

Kai Devan k3house at gmail.com
Tue Apr 27 09:23:19 CEST 2010

I agree with the entirety of this post. Going in this direction with
documentation would help me a lot.
best, kai

On Mon, Apr 26, 2010 at 11:38 PM, Zach White <zach at box.net> wrote:

> Hi Everyone,
> I would find it very helpful if there was some documentation targetted at
> sysadmins. Something that gave us a brief overview of what neo4j is (keeping
> in mind that most us have not done any java programming, even if we have
> experience working with and deploying java apps) and gives us hints on
> finding the information that we're looking for. I would say there's two
> basic (but very different) needs that the average admin is trying to fill:
> 1. Download and install the software for a user that asks for it
> I've spent the last 2 hours poking around the site and the wiki, but until
> I found "Getting Started REST" I had no inkling that there was a standalone
> server that could be setup. A user who has asked their sysadmin to "install
> neo4j" is most likely to want the RESTful server to query against, since
> they would otherwise just download the class files themselves.
> 2. Learn about neo4j prior to a deployment so they can support an
> engineering dept that has decided to use neo4j, or so they can sign off on a
> decision to use neo4j.
> It is this need that I am trying to fill.
> I spent some time looking over the site, but was only successful in finding
> bits and pieces of what I wanted. I finally asked on irc, and was pointed to
> the Performance Guide and Configuration Settings page (thanks thobe,) which
> helped too, but I'm still feeling a bit lost.
> Here's a list of the types of questions I'm trying to answer (presumably
> about the REST API):
> * Is there a preferred way to package this, or am I rolling my own
> RPM/debs?
> * Can I make the app fit into the FHS, or is running it in a self-contained
> directory my only reasonable option? (Reasonable means I don't have to patch
> the source code.)
> * How do I scale this up? How much RAM will it take before CPU or Disk I/O
> are my main bottlenecks? Do I ever have to worry about CPU, or will I run
> out of RAM and Disk I/O long before I could think about using all the
> processing power in a modern multi-core hyperthreaded processor?
> * Can I change configuration options without doing a full restart?
> * What are the replication options? Do any of them handle having the
> databases in separate geographical areas (say 80-250ms from each other?)
> What about periods where connectivity is broken, how does neo4j handle that
> situation?
> * How do I upgrade neo4j without downtime for end users? (This implies
> working master/master replication or the ability to promote a slave
> gracefully.)
> * What happens if the app dies in a non-clean fashion? (kill -9, OOM, power
> lost, SAN catches fire, whatever)
> That covers the "sysadmin" side of the equation, but treats neo4j like a
> black box. Most sysadmins will want to interact with the database a little,
> since they will likely be asked to look things up or make minor
> modifications. The REST API documentation is clear enough to me, but I am
> not the average sysadmin. Most of the admins I work with need something a
> little more howto and a little less reference.
> A short howto-style narrative explaining how to use curl or poster to query
> the root node, follow links, and view properties would go a long towards
> giving sysadmins some basic visibility into the DB. Following that up with
> some simple examples showing how to pull some basic stats (number of nodes,
> number of relationships, size of db, or whatever is exposed) would cover 80%
> of what most sysadmins need to get out of the database.
> Finally, in an attempt to bring this too-long email to a close, allow me to
> doff my Professional SysAdmin hat and put on my hobbyist programmer fedora.
> I've actually briefly explored using neo4j in a personal project I was
> doing, but did not spend long considering it. At the time there was no AJAX
> component and I brushed it off with, "just another java database, man I hate
> java." (Hey, I said hobbiest, not professional. ;)
> Now that I know about the existence of the AJAX component and the python
> module, and have spent a little time looking, the project interests me a lot
> more. I could see myself using neo4j as the backend for some of my toy
> projects. The same information that you would be providing for sysadmins,
> based on what I wrote above, would also be helpful in educating the
> hypothetical hobbiest who doesn't know about neo4j yet.
> Perhaps what's needed to assist both groups of users is a FAQ that contains
> some of this information and is easier to find. (To find the FAQ I first
> looked on the front page of neo4j.org, went to "Documentation," tried the
> wiki because nothing else looked right, and finally found the FAQ buried in
> the middle of the page.)
> Thanks for reading and considering my suggestion.
> -Zach
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