Monday, January 11, 2016

Jill Ray, the best co-founder I could ever have

Only 3 years ago, OrientDB Company was a startup at the first stage where all the efforts were on the product: no sales, no marketing, just an open source software that I created with a few contributors around the world that worked on it for free. OrientDB was only for a few nerds. The world didn’t know OrientDB and the amazing things it could do.

On January 11, 2013, exactly 3 years ago from today, I met Jill Ray in Rome, Italy. After that day, everything changed in OrientDB. Jill agreed to join my efforts to take OrientDB to the next level.  She worked with me as the best co-founder I could ever have. Days, nights and weekends were all busy on building the stairs to bring the company to where it is, today.

Jill worked on the creation of the new “OrientDB face” through the new website and an active participation on the social channels. Jill was the source of the best ideas and doggedly pursued them and eventually turning them into reality with an incredible energy.

When Gartner contacted me to be included in the Magic Quadrant 2013, I wondered why Gartner was monumentally important.  Fortunately, Jill knew them very well and she understood its impact to success. We worked together to achieve a spot in the Magic Quadrant and we succeed doing so: OrientDB was the first Graph Database to be on the Operational DBMS Magic Quadrant 2013.

Jill’s strength as a negotiator in both ideas and contracts proved essential. She was able to obtain a full working office gratis for a year, as well as being a critical element in negotiating contracts with attorneys, employees, support staff, investors and clients. Her efforts have enabled OrientDB to remain financially independent.

I remember the first time, a Fortune10 company contacted us to consider OrientDB in a challenge where they would be selecting the best Graph Database among 3 products. We were David against 2 Multi-Million Goliaths of the DBMS industry. We won that deal thanks to the Jill’s strategy and leadership. That was just the first of the many big battles to be won against our competitors. Jill was a critical piece in all of those victories.

There are many other challenges and achievements where Jill’s involvement was the key to greater success. Giving credit where credit is due, Thank You, Jill. Without you, I couldn't have taken the company to the next level, where it was possible to attract great talent to join the team.
This post is to say thank you to my co-founder and my best friend Jill for these 3 intense and wonderful years :-)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

5 Wonderful Years on Github -- Thanks to the Community!

Yesterday was the 5th anniversary of my GitHub account. 5 awesome years working with talented and passionate people to make OrientDB a better product. During this time, I received 1000’s of comments, commits and pull requests. To give you an idea, just on the core OrientDB project, we’ve had 10,197 commits, 42 releases and 80 contributors. If we add all the other projects under the Orient Technologies management, we have way more than 100 contributors and 15,000 commits.

Thanks to everybody for your time and the passion you bring to improving OrientDB. I appreciate each and every contribution. I always tried to give visibility to the great work from contributors. (For example, most of the core development and consulting team was hired directly from the community.) Let me know if I can do more.

Unfortunately, sometimes I had to make decisions for the long term future of the product that weren’t welcomed by all of you. I apologize if I hurt someone's feelings but there are multiple voices to consider and not all the advice could be accepted.

A few days ago, a “disgruntled” anonymous user and advocate of a competing product created multiple brand-new accounts on GitHub/Twitter/HackerNews/etc. He seems to be on a mission to spread his negative feelings about OrientDB and me personally retweeting his blog to happy OrientDB users and to the world. This is very unfortunate.

With more than 50,000 downloads a month, I accept that having 100% of satisfied users is impossible. That said, rest assured that I’ve read his suggestions and am taking his feedback seriously and in a constructive way to make OrientDB even better. Stability and performance are our priority and our code contributions are going in that direction. We have 2,869 test cases in our product and we’re adding more daily.

Since OrientDB is new technology, we encourage all clients to work directly with the OrientDB team. If clients prefer to pay for consulting services outside of the OrientDB team (for assistance with data modeling, query performance tuning, POC building, etc) it’s important that they work with a certified OrientDB consultant to ensure they have the training/knowledge required. Also, it’s important that they look at the project design as a whole from the beginning instead of trying to fix pieces of an implementation after the deadline has been reached. Coming from the RDBMS world can be tricky, because you have to adopt a new way of thinking and working. However, our experience has been, once you understand how OrientDB works, you won’t want to go back to the old ways of managing data.

Do I think that OrientDB is perfect? Absolutely not. I’ve spent my entire life building this product. Everyone involved with the project works hard to improve it every day. We accept there are bugs to fix and stuff to improve, however we’re also encouraged by the feedback of 1,000’s of happy users and 100’s of paying customers.

Do I think OrientDB is the best thing happening in the DBMS industry in the last 40 years? Absolutely YES.

Everyone’s free to chose the database deemed appropriate for their use cases. I respect the right of people to do that and I’m happy to hear all constructive feedback. However, we don’t allow disrespectful language or offensive remarks, as this does not contribute to creating great software. In my 5 years on GitHub, I've only blocked one user/one conversation (deleting one comment only) - and it was for this reason.

Going forward, please submit your feedback regarding the product within Github or in the community forum. I will address this topic exclusively with my code contributions and by providing outstanding support to customers. If you want to talk to me about how OrientDB can be improved or get some help on your next project, I’d be really happy to help. Please drop an email to l-dot-garulli-- at --orientdb-dot-com, or write to the info -at--- if you want to involve the company.


Monday, November 03, 2014

GraphDB Communities comparison

This post is an update to my last post related to GraphDB marketshare (posted more than 2 years ago.) After 2 years, how have the GraphDB Communities changed? Twitter followers, reviews, etc can be bought/falsified.

But with an Open Source project, with open communities, I found a metric that is very hard to cheat: participation in groups. Then I discovered that Google Groups already provides this metric.

Below find the Neo4j and OrientDB charts.



It's very cool to see that not only is the OrientDB community very active on Groups, noting that OrientDB also has other channels (Chat, StackOverflow, etc.), but OrientDB is actually more active than Neo4j. In the past month, October 2014, OrientDB had 472 posts compared to 351 posts on Neo4j.

Monday, September 23, 2013

New Neo4J marketing campaign

This morning I've read a tweet by Emil Eifrem, CEO of Neo Technology (the company behind Neo4J product).

Do they really had to spend the $ 10.6 Million of dollars received in funding in this marketing operation?

If Open Source OrientDB wasn't SUPERIOR (faster, smarter and more complete) to the OVERPRICED Neo4j, Neo4j wouldn't be so obsessed with campaigning against it.

To remain in the telco field  is like : leader for a while but didn't innovate. And then came ...

Friday, August 02, 2013

The popularity of OrientDB grows up so fast!

Sometimes I check the site with the ranking of DBMS products in popularity (this is the method they use). I'm not surprised to see OrientDB at the second position in Graph Database market right after Neo4JNeo4J has a score of 9.73 against OrientDB with "only" 0.92.

But the most interesting thing is the grow up factor: OrientDB is at +22,8% while Neo4J is at "only" +8,3. So can OrientDB surpass Neo4J in terms of popularity? What are the pros and cons of OrientDB against Neo4J? Any comments is welcome, also in private.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

OrientDB: huge improvement in performance (+9,000%) in many use cases. Thanks RaspberryPi !

Hi all,
today I've a good story to tell you. A couple of days ago Fabrizio Fortino sent to me an email with some metrics and screenshots about the profiling of an in-production instance of OrientDB. Well, a lot of time was spent on open/close of database. 

That was the issue 1145 ( but I assigned to it a low priority because it was an improvement, not a real bug...

Well today I'm hacking with a Raspberry PI cheap HW and OrientDB to see if it could be used in production for some limited use cases. Well on this kind of HW everything is much-much slower! "Yeah, it's normal: I have a $35 HW, Java is not so optimized yet on this ARM platform, etc.". This were my firsts thoughts about the initial results.

But after some profiling I was arrived at the same conclusion of Fabrizio, so I decided to spend 2 hours of my life to investigate in deep.

Well, I've just committed a small patch (r7134) that avoids to open a database every time a database is re-used from the pool. In facts this is a quite costly operation, specially if you do many small atomic operation where most of the cost is in open/close that in the operation itself!

This fix improved a lot these scenarios:
  • Usage via HTTP/Rest, because a new connection is acquired every time from the pool at every operation
  • Java Web Applications where at the server side you used the database pool
  • you wrote a Java App that every time creates a new instance of a database. if this is your case I strongly encourage using the database pool that at this time is much faster
  1. in case metadata changes (schema, security, functions) you would need to invoke a reload() to get the changes
The improvement will be minor in the cases:
All these are PROS, what about CONS?
This is a simple load of a tiny document against a database on my pc:

$ ab -n1000 -A admin:admin -k -c10 http://localhost:2480/document/demo/71:1
Requests per second:    52.56 [#/sec] (mean)

$ ab -n1000 -A admin:admin -k -c10 http://localhost:2480/document/demo/71:1
Requests per second:    4694.57 [#/sec] (mean)

This is 90x faster, namely 9,000%, namely a huge improvement!

Now it's funny that OrientDB on the Raspberry PI, with the new patch, runs at a speed quite close to my PC I used everyday to work before this patch!

Saturday, May 05, 2012

GraphDB market share

Last week a market analysis agency contacted me to ask some questions about OrientDB saying that OrientDB, following its research, has the second position in the worldwide GraphDB market right after Neo4J. Awesome!

But who are the main players of the GraphDB market?
Since each vendor claims, more or less, to be the market leader, what is the real user base? Seems quite hard to gather real data about users and customers directly from vendors.

So I though that one of the best way is to look into the public groups and forums because users, before or after, will subscribe on it because it's the first hand source of information, help and tricks. They can't lie! This document contains some metrics extracted from public sources. Click on the source to see with your eyes about the source I used.

By reading this data Neo4J is, without any doubts, the GraphDB market leader, followed by OrientDB in rapid grow and after a long distance InfiniteGraph and  DEX. By reading the web site  InfiniteGraph seems to have some real customers, but seems all related to the previous product ObjectivityDB (an ODBMS born more than a decade ago).

Below the metrics:

Updated on
created on
April 2011
April 2010
September 2011
May 2011
threads since the beginning
posts since the beginning
posts in the last month (April 2012)
posts 2 months ago (March 2012)
but 100% announcements

Monday, February 20, 2012

Why I hate Maven

Yes, I admin that Maven has improved the development of Java programmers because the tons of dependencies each project brings.

So why I hate it so much? Well, because the thousands (really thousands!) of network calls to the remote server to:

  • check versions
  • check md5
  • download pom.xml files
  • download jars

But why Maven has been realized in the way we know? All the logic is at client side. This means that each Maven user pays the absurd latency cost for each network calls! The solution? Git teaches.

Why don't build a tree of requested JARs, send it to the Maven server and download the resulting zipped archive containing all the stuff to install in one shot?

In this way updates daily updates would take ms or just some seconds depending by the updates and the network bandwidth, not any more by the network latency.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

GraphDB benchmark part II

After some months since my last post about OrientDB (sorry but I prefer micro-blogging than blogging...) I'm back to write some news about the OrientDB engine.

The hard work has been the optimization at many levels:
  • minimize the wasted space created by set/delete operations (HOLES)
  • minimize marshalling/unmarshalling operations, specially on LinkSet type responsible of relationships between vertices and edges
  • fine tuning of Transactions
The main difficulty has been reduce the Disk I/O when you update a record. In facts when you execute an update, rarely the serialized content size will be the same of the original size. In this case you've a new HOLE, namely a free space marked to being reused.

The problems I found with the HOLES were that small spaces aren't reused at all and huge defragmentation was present. This caused a global slowness and the growth of the database on disk (in some cases many times the original size). After 2 weeks of work I've published in the SVN and maven the new version of the OrientDB storage with:
  • In-line defrag: something like some File Systems already do by joining small holes all together. In-line defrag works while the database is online and in use
  • Improved the management of small changes to records
  • 2 configurable strategies of how to find the best hole to join during defrag process
  • configurable hole distance to decide when to join multiple holes all together
The gain of overall speed has been perceived by a lot of users. Since there are not benchmarks against GraphDB yet I've re-run the TinkerPop Blueprints Test Cases (see my previous post about this).

This test suite is part of TinkerPop Blueprints project and is NOT a BENCHMARK, but just a lot of tests against GraphDB implementations to test the compliance level of them. So please don't flame about this. It's not an official benchmark, just a way to test how OrientDB performs in comparison with other GraphDBs and with the previous releases of the same OrientDB. More how OrientDB performs on different platforms. The comparison in this case is only with Neo4J (the market leader?) since DEX supports only few Test Cases and it wouldn't be fair. Note that both GraphDBs run with default settings.

These are the results on a cheap Linux server (Linux CentOS, Intel Atom Dual Core 330 1,6Ghz, 1GB Ram DDR2, HD U-ATA 7200rpm):

Test name Times in ms. Less is better = faster
OrientDB 1.0rc1 snapshot Neo4J 1.3 + faster, - slower
VertexTestSuite 11,190.80 48,354.85 +432,1%
EdgeTestSuite 6,421.55 24,361.78 +379,4%
GraphTestSuite 12,642.21 36,932.11 +292,1%
IndexableGraphTestSuite 1,173.55 2,618.00 +223,1%
IndexTestSuite 462.70 1,052.32 +227,4%
AutomaticIndexTestSuite 1,719.91 4,912.81 +285,6%
TransactionGraphTestSuite 1,603.59 4,237.17 +264,2%
GraphMLReaderTestSuite 1,291.93 2,365.85 +183,1%
Total 36,506.24 124,834.89 +342,0%

OrientDB completes all the tests in less than a third of the time of Neo4J: +342% faster than Neo4J!

The difference is lower running the same test against a MacBook Pro (OS X 10.6.7 64bit, 4GB Ram, CPU Intel core 2 duo 2.4ghz, HD 5400rpm):

Test name Times in ms. Less is better = faster
OrientDB 1.0rc1 snapshot Neo4J 1.3 + faster, - slower
VertexTestSuite 13,380.67 23,647.54 +176,7%
EdgeTestSuite 7,508.78 14,139.71 +188,3%
GraphTestSuite 9,514.58 18,664.99 +196,2%
IndexableGraphTestSuite 523.92 969.06 +185,0%
IndexTestSuite 263.58 640.80 +243,1%
AutomaticIndexTestSuite 1,672.92 2,943.86 +176,0%
TransactionGraphTestSuite 1,378.59 3,047.77 +221,1%
GraphMLReaderTestSuite 1,418.21 1,805.27 +127,3%
Total 35,661.25 65,859.00 +184,7%

In this case OrientDB completes all the tests in about half time: +184,7% faster than Neo4J. I was not able to complete all the tests on Windows 7 machine (Intel i7 720q, 4GB Ram, HD 7200rpm) since Neo4J gives errors and break the test suite:

Test name Times in ms. Less is better = faster
OrientDB 1.0rc1 snapshot Neo4J 1.3 + faster, - slower
VertexTestSuite 7,762.61 51,474.76 +663,1%
EdgeTestSuite 6,737.59 71,479.28 +1.060,9%
GraphTestSuite 7,280.43 75,695.77 +1.039,7%
IndexableGraphTestSuite 2,766.07 Error n.a.
IndexTestSuite 1,064.49 Error n.a.
AutomaticIndexTestSuite 2,796.08 Error n.a.
TransactionGraphTestSuite 3,471.80 Error n.a.
GraphMLReaderTestSuite 3,067.81 Error n.a.
Total 34,946.88 198,649.81 +921,2%

However by looking at the 3 available tests OrientDB outperforms Neo4J also on Windows machines of +921,2%!

Another interesting point is about the platforms. Linux CentOS performs very well even if the underlying HW is cheaper & older than the other 2 machines.

I'm pretty satisfied of these results in relation to the previous ones where Neo4J performed better in some circumstances. Thank you to all the OrientDB contributors and users that have made this possible!

It's not time to rest or sleep, because the work is not yet ended: all the efforts now are for the 1.0 release.

How to execute these test on my PC?

To re-execute the same test on your machine just install Java 6, Git and Apache Maven. Then execute these command in a shell (or command prompt if you've MS Windows):

> git clone git://
> cd blueprints
> mvn install

Now wait that all the software is compiled and all the tests start. Now you've your results. Please share them to the OrientDB Group attaching your HW/SW configuration!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Codemotion 2011, the most important Italian conference about programming

Save this date: March 5th 2011! In Rome, Italy there will be the most important conference about programming. The event is totally FREE. About 1,500 attendees. Sessions in English and Italian languages.

For information: