IBM Think

Taking Titan to the Next Level

20 Sep 2016

Since earlier this year when I started trying to get a better handle on the breadth of graph database options available for a developer, Titan has been an option I have kept in regular contact with. It’s fair to say there has been a lot of uncertainty about the prospects for Titan. But there have been some interesting developments regarding Titan during the summer. IBM Graph has reached GA on Bluemix, albeit with only REST access, which may not appeal to Java developers, particularly those familiar with Titan and comfortable with natively handling vertices and edges. And more recently there has been a lot of work on integrating Titan with ScyllaDb, which provides a long-term option for using Thrift as a communication mechanism between Titan and the backend database.

With Scylla Summit and Cassandra Summit in close proximity (in location as well as time), it was a good opportunity for discussions to be had. Recently Jason Plurad of IBM has led those discussions in the community. For those interested in graph and open source, like myself, it’s worth being very aware of an initiative Jason is promoting on the Google Group for Titan to take an incubation proposal for Titan to the Apache Foundation. This is definitely what Titan needs now, a new team to take it forward beyond 1.0 release. Although I’ve not really played with it yet, the foundation seems solid, with some good documentation, a choice of backends and a choice of index backends.

Now is not the right time for me to get involved - there are other initiatives I’m working on (both personally and for OpenNTF) and other discussions I feel are more critical to get involved in for the next few months. But it’s a project I will be actively following. As a technical evangelist committed to open source, who fervently believes in the benefit and potential of graph, it’s a project that, with the right time, I would like to be involved in. Much of my work over the last few years has been around documentation, speaking and training. These are areas some developers are less interested in working on - understandably we like adding functionality more than detailing what’s been added. So I’ll be keeping tabs, and we’ll see what next year brings.

But good luck to Titan and thanks to all those dedicating their time to the worthy cause of open source. Regardless of what open source products you use, anyone involved with open source is always to be applauded.