The VLDB Journal

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 125–150

NScale: neighborhood-centric large-scale graph analytics in the cloud

Regular Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00778-015-0405-2

Cite this article as:
Quamar, A., Deshpande, A. & Lin, J. The VLDB Journal (2016) 25: 125. doi:10.1007/s00778-015-0405-2


There is an increasing interest in executing complex analyses over large graphs, many of which require processing a large number of multi-hop neighborhoods or subgraphs. Examples include ego network analysis, motif counting, finding social circles, personalized recommendations, link prediction, anomaly detection, analyzing influence cascades, and others. These tasks are not well served by existing vertex-centric graph processing frameworks, where user programs are only able to directly access the state of a single vertex at a time, resulting in high communication, scheduling, and memory overheads in executing such tasks. Further, most existing graph processing frameworks ignore the challenges in extracting the relevant portions of the graph that an analysis task is interested in, and loading those onto distributed memory. This paper introduces NScale, a novel end-to-end graph processing framework that enables the distributed execution of complex subgraph-centric analytics over large-scale graphs in the cloud. NScale enables users to write programs at the level of subgraphs rather than at the level of vertices. Unlike most previous graph processing frameworks, which apply the user program to the entire graph, NScale allows users to declaratively specify subgraphs of interest. Our framework includes a novel graph extraction and packing (GEP) module that utilizes a cost-based optimizer to partition and pack the subgraphs of interest into memory on as few machines as possible. The distributed execution engine then takes over and runs the user program in parallel on those subgraphs, restricting the scope of the execution appropriately, and utilizes novel techniques to minimize memory consumption by exploiting overlaps among the subgraphs. We present a comprehensive empirical evaluation comparing against three state-of-the-art systems, namely Giraph, GraphLab, and GraphX, on several real-world datasets and a variety of analysis tasks. Our experimental results show orders-of-magnitude improvements in performance and drastic reductions in the cost of analytics compared to vertex-centric approaches.


Graph analytics Cloud computing Egocentric analysis Subgraph extraction Set bin packing Data co-location Social networks 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MarylandCollege ParkUnited States