Key Value & Column stores

Visualizing NoSQL databases with KeyLines

Key Value and Column stores are the most basic NoSQL data models. Their speed, simplicity and ability to distribute across multiple hosts has made them popular in the world of enterprise data – and therefore they’re a common choice for network visualization.

What is a NoSQL Key-Value Store?

A Key Value NoSQL database stores data as a set of Keys and Values, also known as an associative array, organized into rows. For example, a database of car insurance policies might look like this:

Value_ Policy_AddressHolder_NameValue_ Vehicle_IDValue_ Vehicle_ModelValue_ Vehicle_Year
Policy_AB 123123123 Road StreetJoe Smith19UYA1234 L000213Coupe2012
Policy_ZN 98798742 Mill CrescentChris Bloggs14PLU1234 L120213Estate2007
Policy_JP 45645612 Sample StreetMichael Richards19UYA1234 L000213Coupe2012

Examples of NoSQL Key Value stores include: Couchbase and DynamoBD.

What is a NoSQL Column Store?

A column store uses a similarly flat structure, but with keys stored in columns rather than rows:

Policy_AB123123Policy_ZN 987987Policy_JP 456456
Value_Policy_Address123 Road Street42 Mill Crescent12 Sample Street
Value_Holder_NameJoe SmithChris BloggsMichael Richards
Value_Vehicle_ID19UYA1234L00021314PLU1234L12021319UYA1234L000213
Value_Vehicle_ModelCoupeEstateCoupe
Value_Vehicle_Year201220072012

Examples of NoSQL Column stores include: Hadoop, HBase and DynamoDB.

Converting NoSQL tables into a network

When visualizing key-value or column data as a network, we need to convert the data into a node-link model.

A single table can be mapped as many nodes or a single node with many properties. For example, an insurance fraud analyst might want to identify individuals making an unusual volume of claims, in which case names, addresses, policies, and claims could all be modeled as nodes, with remaining data entities included as properties:

NoSQL Key-value datastore visualization using KeyLines network visualization software.
NoSQL Key-value datastore visualization using KeyLines network visualization software.

Learn more about modeling graph data

NoSQL Visualization infrastructure

We can visualize NoSQL data in KeyLines using the following architecture:

How to visualize a NoSQL Key value database, including Apache HBASE, FoundationDB, Amazon DynamoDB, Couchbase and Cassandra
How to visualize a NoSQL Key value database, including Apache HBASE, FoundationDB, Amazon DynamoDB, Couchbase and Cassandra

With this setup, AJAX requests are raised when a user interacts with their KeyLines chart. This calls for data from the database, either via an API look Blueprints, or with your own choice of API.

Once the data is retrieved, it is parsed into KeyLines’ JSON and merged or loaded into the KeyLines chart

Learn more

To learn more about the KeyLines network visualization toolkit and how to visualize your complex connected data, download a copy of our KeyLines white paper.

Download the White Paper