(This posting was inadvertently delayed from the time of its writing, 2012-11-21.)

The Linked Data Benchmark Council (LDBC) project is officially starting now.

This represents a serious effort towards making relevant and well thought out metrics for RDF and graph databases and defining protocols for measurement and publishing of well documented and reproducible results. This also entails the creation of a TPC-analog for the graph and RDF domains.

The project brings together leading vendors, with OpenLink and Ontotext representing the RDF side and Neo Technology and Sparsity Technologies representing the graph database side. Peter Boncz of MonetDB and Vectorwise fame is the technical director, with participation from the Technical University of Munich with Thomas Neumann, known for RDF3X and HyPer. La Universitat Polit├Ęcnica de Catalunya coordinates the project and brings strong academic expertise in graph databasing, also representing their Sparsity Technologies spinoff. FORTH (Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas) of Crete contributes expertise in data integration and provenance. STI Innsbruck participates in community building and outreach.

The consortium has second-to-none understanding of benchmarking and has sufficient time allotted to the task for producing world class work, comparable to the TPC benchmarks. This has to date never been realized in the RDF or graph space.

History demonstrates that whenever something that is sufficiently important starts getting systematically measured, there is an improvement in the metric. The early days of the TPC saw a 40-fold increase in transaction processing speed. TPC-H continues to be, after 18 years, well used as a basis of quantifying advances in analytics databases.

A serious initiative for well-thought-out benchmarks for guiding the emerging RDF and graph database markets is nothing short of a necessary precondition for the emergence of a serious market with several vendors offering mutually comparable products.

Benchmarks are only as good as their credibility and adoption. For this reason, LDBC has been in touch with all graph and RDF vendors we could find, and has received a positive statement of intent from most, indicating that they would participate in a LDBC organization and contribute to shaping benchmarks.

There is further a Technical User Community, with its initial meeting this week, where present-day end users of RDF and graph databases will voice their wishes for benchmark development. Thus benchmarks will be grounded in use cases contributed by real users.

With these elements in place we have every reason to expect relevant benchmarks with broad adoption, with all the benefits this entails.