AWS releases Amazon Neptune to help health organizations build apps

The cloud-based managed graph database service allows health systems and life sciences companies to more easily manage connected datasets for application development.
By Mike Miliard
02:00 PM

AWS has rolled out its new Amazon Neptune technology, a cloud-based tool that enables healthcare organizations and others to manage complex connected data for faster application development.

The graph database service stores and navigates these datasets, allowing developers at health systems, life sciences companies and others to more easily make interactive graph apps, and query "billions of relationships with millisecond latency," according to the company.

Already, several customers have leveraged Neptune to create an array of tools, said AWS: social networks, recommendation engines, fraud detection tools, drug discovery apps and more.

The tool offers an alternative relational databases – an easier way for developers to make leading-edge apps that can understand and navigate billions of relationships between highly connected data, officials note.

Amazon Neptune supports popular graph models such as Property Graph and W3C's RDF, and their respective query languages Apache TinkerPop Gremlin and SPARQL.

Graph databases store knowledge about that connected data as graphs, allowing for apps to more quickly query these relationships. AWS officials say Neptune strikes a balance between the affordability of open-source and community edition graph databases with the reliability and scalability of commercial technology. With no upfront costs or licenses, customers pay only for the resources they use.

As more and more leading health systems accelerate their in-house app development and make their own predictive analytics tools this technology could prove useful.

"The days of modern technology companies using relational databases for all of their workloads have come and gone," said Raju Gulabani, vice president of databases, analytics and machine learning at AWS in a statement.

"As the world has become more connected, applications that navigate large, connected datasets are increasingly more critical for customers," he added, noting that Neptune offers "a high-performance graph database service that enables developers to query billions of relationships in milliseconds using standard APIs, making it easy to build and run applications that work with highly connected datasets.”

Among the healthcare organizations already planning to avail themselves of the tool's capabilities is Blackfynn a Philadelphia-based life sciences startup whose software focuses on treatment of neurological diseases such as Epilepsy, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and ALS.

"Neptune will allow us to connect the dots between genomics, pathology, neurochemistry, device and patient clinical data, efficiently and at scale, helping us drive breakthrough discoveries," said Chris Baglieri, senior vice president of engineering at Blackfynn.

And LifeOmic creates cloud-based machine learning tools for secure precision medicine delivery. Its JupiterOne is a DevSecOps technology to automate and simplify security and compliance such as HIPAA and HITRUST.

"Security operations, analytics and compliance fundamentally boil down to the ability to ask the right questions and get the right answers quickly, but the speed of DevOps and the ephemeral nature of cloud make this difficult," explained Erkang Zheng, chief information Security Officer at LifeOmic. "With Neptune, we can harness the power of graph databases without infrastructure maintenance overhead."

Amazon Neptune is now available in a handful of U.S. (Virginia, Ohio, Oregon) and in Ireland. AWS says it will expand to additional regions in the coming year.

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
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