back to article Jaguar Land Rover reaches for graph database in search of supply chain knowledge during chip shortage

Car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover rejected leading graph database Neo4j over scalability concerns, according to its head of data and analytics. A customer of rival database TigerGraph for a little over two and a half years, the £23bn turnover automotive manufacturer first applied the concept of graph analytics to its supply …

  1. MJI Silver badge

    Got any 300TDis handy?

    They are ECU less.

    Anything newer will be full of ECUs ranging from 1 (TD5 Defender) to too many

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

      Re: Got any 300TDis handy?

      ECU less = field hardened.

      I pity the poor sod going into the boondocks and an ECU fries...

      Anything can happen in the boondocks. Mr Murphy's a regular visitor to forn parts.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Got any 300TDis handy?

      I really don't understand why some people think that having an ECU controlled engine makes it unreliable when compared with older engine technology.

      ECU controlled fuel injection brought unprecedented levels of reliability, fuel economy, clean emissions and performance, that was simply not possible with carburetors. That's why all modern engines are built that way. It is incredibly rare for an ECU to fail and even when a sensor or actuator fails, they usually let you limp home rather than being stuck by the roadside waiting for a very nice man in a yellow tow truck.

      Maybe you are not old enough to remember the sheer hell of trying to start a 1970's car on a cold and damp morning. Spraying WD40 inside the distributor cap and then cranking it until the battery goes flat while fiddling with the choke trying to find just the right mix to make it fire.

      ECU controlled cars don't ever have that trouble, they start first time, every time. They give you double the mileage and double the horsepower.

      I dunno, maybe Landrovers are different to other cars. They do have a reputation for being unreliable. But if you do break down while exploring the wilder parts of Africa in a Landrover, I expect you will find that the local mechanics are far more experienced at fixing fuel injected engines than carburetor engines because every car they've seen in the last 30 years has been made like that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Got any 300TDis handy?

        I don't consider myself old (just under 40), but I do remember chokes, my first car had one what a pain that was.

        ECU's == good :) other on-board computer systems in cars == bad, I've lost count of how many times my car has told me tyres are flat and I know damn well they're fine (you can feel a flat tyre), at which point its into the terrible UI to find the appropriate menu and force a recalibration; the thing is, you can have the sensors replaced, car software upgraded, etc... and the problem still occurs.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Got any 300TDis handy?

          "ECU's == good :) other on-board computer systems in cars == bad"

          The problem - as we saw with analysis of the Toyota runaway acceleration issues - is that improved computer horsepower and increased memory led to rotten programming and lax practices becoming widely tolerated in safety-critical systems as accountants took over

          mechanical systems wear and Landrovers were always hideously unreliable - hence why they went from 98% to 1% of the australian 4WD market in 12 months when Landcruiser became available without an electronic system in sight

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Got any 300TDis handy?

        I really don't understand why some people think that having an ECU controlled engine makes it unreliable when compared with older engine technology.

        It's more about being able to fix problems when they go wrong with a rudimentary toolkit like you would have for a Ferguson TE20. At least with a rotor arm and distributor cap and a carb jet you could see stuff that's gone wrong and poke it out with a bit of wire or fashion a workaround.

        I'm not a fan of old cars, but that was the old 1940s design Land Rover thing. If you were in some desert or jungle environment, a handy fix is usually possible.

        The biggest problem with old cars is even low speed accidents bust the bodies of the occupants.

      3. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Got any 300TDis handy?


        Actually with the older ones they were not THAT bad.

        If they break they are usually repairable, unlike some of the alternatives.

        The last decent old Defenders if you were taking them to the back of beyond a S/H but correctly coded ECU was a good idea, and a crank sensor a VERY good idea.

        On my contemporary Discovery I have had a few minor breakdowns, fuel pump failed, drove home 140 miles with no fuel pump, bought in part (VDO). Alternator failed (charged battery and went and got a new one), bought in, starter (whacked with breaker bar), bought in, battery consumable (RAC got me started, did not turn off until back home again with a new one).

        Not bad for a near 20 year old car.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >If you have a very static system that you're just trying to optimise you're just trying to squeeze that lemon: that's a relational database's kind of work. But it's not about dealing with change

    >...the whole point of graph is your pre-encoding your joins.

    I don't disagree that a graph is a great tool for supply chain management, but it takes some serious cognitive dissonance/fundamental misunderstandings to maintain the simultaneous positions that relational schemas are inflexible because they can't be easily changed and graph schemas are flexible because they're pre-encoded and physically laid out for a specific purpose.

    Any graph practitioner (including myself!) will tell you change is as big a killer - if not bigger - than in relational systems. In warehouse land we have efficient ETL tooling and we have very robust data modeling designs to evolve data (e.g. scd, data vault etc). If you need to change a graph you've probably got no choice but to rewrite the whole thing from scratch, because they are all just lists of pointers under the covers.

    And that's the point you discover just how bad the world of bulk-transformation graph tooling really is.

    1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      I recall during a presentation of a major non-sql database, the question was asked about schema changes. "Yeah--don't do that." They were not even a little bit shy about it. Their position was, "Figure out your data. Then come talk to us." At the time that was shocking. I've learned a bit more about data since then, and I think I might get what's going on.

      Hyper-optimized for shape H --not for I.

  3. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

    ...Harry Powell...

    Why am I thinking of Harry Potter?

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "you can't just stop the factory"

    Um, in point of fact, if you are missing a critical component in your production process, I don't see that you have the choice.

    Of course, you can likely make vehicles while you wait for tow bars, but when you make engines and you don't get the chips they need, you're gonna have to stop making them until you do.

    This wonderful world of JIT production is going to have to get back to grips with the notion of stock (oops, a beancounter just fainted).

    1. Commswonk

      Re: "you can't just stop the factory"

      This wonderful world of JIT production is going to have to get back to grips with the notion of stock (oops, a beancounter just fainted).

      (My bold)

      A good start, but something more permanent would be better.

      Please try harder.

  5. Abominator

    Is Versant DB still about? That I remember you could build exceedingly large graphs in and was extremely fast.

    I see TigerGraph is written in C++ and headquartered in Redwood City....just like Versant. What are the chances?

  6. trevorde Silver badge

    Solution looking for a problem

    Was force to use neo4j on an NHS project as the NHS architect wanted to use 'shiny, shiny'. There was no graph-like data in the project.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Solution looking for a problem

      Doesn't matter. From my NHS experience, you do the work, roll out the product, then nothing. No users and it's quietly forgotten until someone else comes along with a similar idea.

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