GraphConnect 2018

One of the best parts of my job is how much I get to learn about topics that I have previously only heard of. One of those things was graph databases and how they can be used and abused for connected data.


I was lucky enough to go to this year’s GraphConnect 2018 in New York City this September 20-21 at the Marriott in Times Square. As a person who grew up on Long Island and worked in New York City, this was an interesting homecoming for me.

The Conference

The conference was a well put together affair and I did learn a ton of stuff about how graphs are used in other industries, the intersection of graph databases, Machine Learning, Deep Learning and AI in general.


  • State of the Graph: Opening Keynote
  • The Present and Future of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
  • Neo4j Graph Platform for Demographics Master Data at Citigroup
  • Predictive Analysis from Massive Knowledge Graphs on Neo4j
  • Neo4j Morpheus: Interweaving Table and Graph Data in Spark
  • Large-scale real time recommendations with Neo4j
  • DeepWalk – Turning Graphs into Features via Network Embeddings
  • How Graph Technology is Changing Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
  • Infinite Segmentation: Scalable Mutual Information Ranking on real world graphs
  • Machine Learning Algorithms in Neo4j


  • Neo4j for Data Science and Machine Learning
  • Graph Modeling Clinic

Taking a Walk

mountaineering copyI had a lot of fun at the conference, meeting new people and vendors selling everything from graph based analytics to ML training systems. The best talk of the whole conference was the “DeepWalk – Turning Graphs into Features via Network Embeddings“. This talk was a standing room only talk from one of the authors of the paper and was a lot of fun going through the paper and discussing how graphs can be used for feature extraction for our connected datasets and ML training grounds.

line_structure_relations_hierarchyThe first day was all talks while the next day was all learning. I took the Graph Modeling clinic to help me get over my propensity to design a data model like a RDBMS ERD diagram and the “Data Science and Machine Learning” course for the fun of learning more about Machine Learning and Model training.

All in all, a nice conference with interesting speakers and training without a lot of pushy sales people. I have to hand it to Neo4j, they put on a nice conference.

My Re:Invent 2017


The conference is over, I’m back home and it’s time to digest and make plans. AWS re:Invent 2017 was my first big conference and it was a lot of fun. I learned a lot, and now I have a bunch of new stuff to learn. When will it end? Hopefully never!


Here is the list of the announcements that I was hoping for and never dreamed they would announce.

DynamoDB Global TablesAmazonDynamoDB

The biggest and most welcome announcement at re:Invent for me was DynamoDB Global Tables. Yep, Kubernetes support, graph databases and Golang for Lambda is great and all, but cross-region replication is going to be a hit at work. No more loading 100’s of GB in three regions from a Data Pipeline job that takes days. YAS!!!


The announcement of AWS Neptune was a complete shocker for me. I’ve been researching graph databases for a couple of months and the industry is decidedly against using the common graph database flavors in a transactional system like the one I work on.

Time will tell, but from what I’ve read, Neptune is limited to an in-memory store with read replicas in the same region. For me, that won’t work. I still think Dgraph would be a better fit with their distributed transaction and multiple machine support. I might start a Dgraph POC in a few weeks and I’ll try to blog about the results.


Most cloud providers now have Kubernetes support and it could not have come at a better time. I still need to dig into Kubernetes more and start using it in anger. This announcement was expected but nice to hear.

Go for LambdaAWSLambda

This was a surprise and a very welcome announcement. It’s not released yet, and we did not get a good timeframe for its release. Or at least good enough for me.  When it is, we will be using it heavily at work.

My Schedule

For those of you that have never been to one of these conferences, here is what my days looked like. I was lucky that all of my sessions were in the Venetian Hotel. Other people I went with had to move between two or three hotels during the day.

Code Description Time
ATC303 Cache Me If You Can: Minimizing Latency While Optimizing Cost Through Advanced Caching Strategies 11/27/17 10:45 AM
ATC301 1 Million bids in 100ms – using AWS to power your Real-Time Bidder 11/27/17 12:15 PM
GAM307 Ubisoft: How For Honor Runs Using Amazon ECS 11/27/17 1:45 PM
GAM401 Designing for the Future: Building a Flexible Event-based Analytics Architecture for Games 11/27/17 3:15 PM
DAT321 From Minutes to Milliseconds: How Careem Used Amazon ElastiCache for Redis 11/28/17 9:15 AM
ARC209 A Day in the Life of a Netflix Engineer III 11/28/17 10:45 AM
ARC401 Serverless Architectural Patterns and Best Practices 11/28/17 1:45 PM
DEV206 Life of a Code Change to a Tier 1 Service 11/28/17 3:15 PM
DAT305 ElastiCache Deep Dive: Best Practices and Usage Patterns 11/28/17 4:45 PM
GEN25 Andy Jassy’s Keynote 11/29/17 8:00 AM
DAT328 Tinder and DynamoDB: It’s a Match! Massive Data Migration, Zero Down Time 11/29/17 11:30 AM
DEV314 Monitoring as Code: Getting to Monitoring-Driven Development 11/29/17 1:45 PM
DAT304 DynamoDB – What’s new 11/29/17 3:15 PM
GEN06 Werner Vogels’ Keynote 11/30/17 8:30 AM
ARC319 How to Design a Multi-Region Active-Active Architecture 11/30/17 11:30 AM
DAT327 DynamoDB adaptive capacity: smooth performance for chaotic workloads 11/30/17 2:30 PM
ARC321 Models of Availability 11/30/17 4:00 PM

Going Again

I think I’m going to need the rest of 2017 to recover, but all in all, I think it was worthwhile to go to the conference even though you could watch the reply on Youtube. If you ever have the chance to go, you should take it. One of the benefits of going is speaking to the engineers who built the systems you use. I had a great conversation and a good chuckle about AWS support with them. See you next year at re:Invent 2018.