Memgraph logo
Back to blog
Memgraph vs NebulaGraph

Memgraph vs NebulaGraph

September 8, 2023
Matea Pesic

Graph databases are crucial for managing interconnected data across various applications such as social networks, recommendation engines, and fraud detection. This article provides a straightforward comparison of two major contenders, Memgraph and NebulaGraph, each with its strengths and capabilities when manipulating graph data. Whether you're a developer or an organization planning to use a graph database, this article aims to simplify the decision-making process and help you choose the right one for your project.

About NebulaGraph and Memgraph

In the DB-Engines graph databases ranking, both Memgraph and NebulaGraph hold positions in the top 10, with Memgraph securing the 6th spot and NebulaGraph ranking 10th. Let's take a look beyond DB-Engines and dive into the structure, use cases, and technical features that each of these databases offers.

db rankings


NebulaGraph is an open-source and distributed graph database system designed for handling and querying large-scale graph data. It is specifically designed to manage and analyze graph-structured data, making it well-suited for use cases where relationships and connections between data points are essential, such as social networks.


Memgraph is an in-memory, open-source graph database built for teams who expect highly performant, advanced analytical insights, powered by high-performance, ACID compliance and Neo4j compatibility. Memgraph is engineered from the ground-up leveraging an in-memory first, durable, redundant architecture and querying large-scale graph data. Its C/C++ implementation delivers the capability of supporting both transactional and analytical storage modes. Unlike relational databases, Memgraph offers a shema-less approach while handling linked data for efficient graph-based data analytics. You can download its community edition, get a quote for the enterprise version or start your free trial for the Memgraph Cloud service.


Differences between the two databases


Both solutions have a long standing presence and comparable features sets, but Memgraph's compatibility with the Cypher, the most popular graph query language, makes it more accessible to users already familiar with graph databases and offers a shorter learning curve, while its emphasis on high performance and efficiency makes it a compelling choice for read-heavy workloads. Additionally, Memgraph boasts an active community, extensive documentation and a user-friendly experience, making it easier for developers to use it. With commercial support options and an open-source version available, Memgraph provides flexibility and scalability to suit a wide range of use cases.


To compare Memgraph and NebulaGraph, both databases offer strong support for ACID transactions, replication, concurrency, durability, backups, and authentication. However, Memgraph stands out with a broader range of supported programming languages for drivers and clients, extensive trigger support, Bolt protocol support for enhanced connectivity, integration with multiple real-time streaming platforms and the ability to generate query execution plans. The choice between these two databases would largely depend on specific project requirements and language preferences, with Memgraph offering more versatility and extensive feature support.

Query language

NebulaGraph uses their own variant of query language, Nebula Query Language (NQL) which could also be a bigger learning curve since most graph database users are used to the Cypher Query Language Neo4j developed. Let’s take a look at two simple queries, one written in NQL and the other one in Cypher:


The query written in NQL first creates a new node type in graph called Person and then creates nodes with their appropriate name values and relationship between them based on their ID value. The syntax of the language is based on Nebula and takes a learning curve to get used to.

On the other hand, the query written in Cypher is much more intuitive, simple and uses familiar syntax while having the same output.


Drivers and clients

Both NebulaGraph and Memgraph offer a wide array of drivers in various programming languages to cater to the needs of their user base. While NebulaGraph provides a set of drivers, including those for C++, Java, Python, and Go, Memgraph, on the other hand, maintains a core set of in-house drivers (C, C++, Python, Rust) and is also compatible with most of the Neo4j drivers, allowing them to be used with Memgraph. This compatibility is due to the fact that both Memgraph and Neo4j use the Bolt protocol, a labeled property graph model.

The best for your application

As mentioned earleir, Memgraph and NebulaGraph have their strengths in different use cases, and the choice between them depends on specific project requirements and goals. Memgraph is designed for real-time analytics and is especially well-suited for building knowledge graphs and recommendation engines, while NebulaGraph excels in managing complex data, making it a strong choice for social networks.

Memgraph use cases

  1. Cybersecurity: Memgraph helps organizations prevent cyber attacks by analyzing compromising patterns within their network data. By leveraging graph analytics, it can detect suspicious connections and behaviors, enabling timely responses to potential threats and enhancing overall cybersecurity.

  2. Credit card fraud detection: With Memgraph, organizations can eliminate chargeback fees and unrecoverable fraud in real-time. Analyzing transaction data in a graph database makes it possible to swiftly identify patterns indicative of fraudulent activity, protecting both businesses and consumers from financial losses.

  3. Recommendation engine: Now, Memgraph's capabilities extend to predicting customer behavior and providing accurate product recommendations. With graph-based algorithms at hand, it helps businesses enhance user experiences and increase customer engagement.

  4. Fraud detection in insurance: Memgraph also empowers insurance companies to confidently expose fraudulent claims while efficiently processing legitimate ones. Its graph-based approach can detect irregularities and anomalies in claims data, reducing losses and ensuring fair payouts.

  5. Identity and access management (IAM): Additionally, Memgraph enables the building and scaling of modern IAM systems. It assists organizations in securely managing user identities and controlling access to resources, ensuring data security and compliance with privacy regulations.

  6. Network resource optimization: Besides all other use cases, Memgraph empowers organizations to answer critical questions about their network through graph analytics. This capability aids in making impactful decisions related to network resource allocation, performance optimization, and troubleshooting.

  7. Data lineage: Finally, with Memgraph, organizations can ensure the reliability of their data and prevent its misuse. To that event, Memgraph helps track and visualize data lineage, making it easier to trace the origins and transformations of data, enhancing data quality and compliance.

NebulaGraph use cases

  1. Social network analysis: NebulaGraph is well-suited for social network analysis. It can efficiently store and query social graph data, enabling features like friend recommendations, community detection, and trend analysis on social media platforms.

  2. Recommendation systems: It can also be employed to build recommendation systems, providing personalized content or product recommendations to users based on their historical interactions and preferences, making it valuable for e-commerce and content platforms.

  3. Knowledge graphs: As a powerful choice for constructing knowledge graphs, companies can use Nebula to represent structured and unstructured data, enabling semantic search, entity linking, and knowledge discovery for applications in various domains, including healthcare and education.

  4. IoT data management: NebulaGraph is well-suited for managing and analyzing data from the Internet of Things (IoT) devices since it can efficiently store sensor data and help gain insights from the relationships and patterns in IoT data for predictive maintenance and process optimization.


When choosing a graph database, it’s crucial to match it to your project’s unique requirement, use case and language preferences. This article has offered a comparison between NebulaGraph and Memgraph, one of the top-ranking popular graph databases. While NebulaGraph offers great management of interconnected data, Memgraph stands out with Cypher compatibility and extensive features, making it suitable for real-time analytics and diverse applications.

If you still have questions about Memgraph, you are welcome to join our community on Discord where we discuss all things graphs. See you there!

Join us on Discord!
Find other developers performing graph analytics in real time with Memgraph.
© 2024 Memgraph Ltd. All rights reserved.