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A JanusGraph graph database cluster consists of one or multiple JanusGraph instances. To open a JanusGraph instance, a configuration has to be provided which specifies how JanusGraph should be set up.

A JanusGraph configuration specifies which components JanusGraph should use, controls all operational aspects of a JanusGraph deployment, and provides a number of tuning options to get maximum performance from a JanusGraph cluster.

At a minimum, a JanusGraph configuration must define the persistence engine that JanusGraph should use as a storage backend. Storage Backends lists all supported persistence engines and how to configure them respectively. If advanced graph query support (e.g full-text search, geo search, or range queries) is required an additional indexing backend must be configured. See Index Backends for details. If query performance is a concern, then caching should be enabled. Cache configuration and tuning is described in JanusGraph Cache.

Example Configurations

Below are some example configuration files to demonstrate how to configure the most commonly used storage backends, indexing systems, and performance components. This covers only a tiny portion of the available configuration options. Refer to Configuration Reference for the complete list of all options.


Sets up JanusGraph to use the Cassandra persistence engine running locally and a remote Elastic search indexing system:



Sets up JanusGraph to use the HBase persistence engine running remotely and uses JanusGraph’s caching component for better performance.


cache.db-cache = true
cache.db-cache-clean-wait = 20
cache.db-cache-time = 180000
cache.db-cache-size = 0.5


Sets up JanusGraph to use BerkeleyDB as an embedded persistence engine with Elasticsearch as an embedded indexing system.


Configuration Reference describes all of these configuration options in detail. The conf directory of the JanusGraph distribution contains additional configuration examples.

Further Examples

There are several example configuration files in the conf/ directory that can be used to get started with JanusGraph quickly. Paths to these files can be passed to as shown below:

// Connect to Cassandra on localhost using a default configuration
graph ="conf/")
// Connect to HBase on localhost using a default configuration
graph ="conf/")

Using Configuration

How the configuration is provided to JanusGraph depends on the instantiation mode.


Gremlin Console

The JanusGraph distribution contains a command line Gremlin Console which makes it easy to get started and interact with JanusGraph. Invoke bin/ (Unix/Linux) or bin/gremlin.bat (Windows) to start the Console and then open a JanusGraph graph using the factory with the configuration stored in an accessible properties configuration file:

graph ='path/to/')

JanusGraph Embedded

JanusGraphFactory can also be used to open an embedded JanusGraph graph instance from within a JVM-based user application. In that case, JanusGraph is part of the user application and the application can call upon JanusGraph directly through its public API.

Short Codes

If the JanusGraph graph cluster has been previously configured and/or only the storage backend needs to be defined, JanusGraphFactory accepts a colon-separated string representation of the storage backend name and hostname or directory.

graph ='cql:localhost')
graph ='berkeleyje:/tmp/graph')

JanusGraph Server

JanusGraph, by itself, is simply a set of jar files with no thread of execution. There are two basic patterns for connecting to, and using a JanusGraph database:

  1. JanusGraph can be used by embedding JanusGraph calls in a client program where the program provides the thread of execution.

  2. JanusGraph packages a long running server process that, when started, allows a remote client or logic running in a separate program to make JanusGraph calls. This long running server process is called JanusGraph Server.

For the JanusGraph Server, JanusGraph uses Gremlin Server of the Apache TinkerPop stack to service client requests. JanusGraph provides an out-of-the-box configuration for a quick start with JanusGraph Server, but the configuration can be changed to provide a wide range of server capabilities.

Configuring JanusGraph Server is accomplished through a JanusGraph Server yaml configuration file located in the ./conf/gremlin-server directory in the JanusGraph distribution. To configure JanusGraph Server with a graph instance (JanusGraph), the JanusGraph Server configuration file requires the following settings:

graphs: {
  graph: conf/
scriptEngines: {
  gremlin-groovy: {
    plugins: { org.janusgraph.graphdb.tinkerpop.plugin.JanusGraphGremlinPlugin: {},
               org.apache.tinkerpop.gremlin.server.jsr223.GremlinServerGremlinPlugin: {},
               org.apache.tinkerpop.gremlin.tinkergraph.jsr223.TinkerGraphGremlinPlugin: {},
               org.apache.tinkerpop.gremlin.jsr223.ImportGremlinPlugin: {classImports: [java.lang.Math], methodImports: [java.lang.Math#*]},
               org.apache.tinkerpop.gremlin.jsr223.ScriptFileGremlinPlugin: {files: [scripts/empty-sample.groovy]}}}}

The entry for graphs defines the bindings to specific JanusGraph configurations. In the above case it binds graph to a JanusGraph configuration at conf/ The plugins entry enables the JanusGraph Gremlin Plugin, which enables auto-imports of JanusGraph classes so that they can be referenced in remotely submitted scripts.

Learn more about configuring and using JanusGraph Server in JanusGraph Server.

Server Distribution

The JanusGraph zip file contains a quick start server component that helps make it easier to get started with Gremlin Server and JanusGraph. Invoke bin/ start to start Gremlin Server with Cassandra and Elasticsearch.


For security reasons Elasticsearch and therefore must be run under a non-root account


Starting with 0.5.1, this is just included in the full package version.

Global Configuration

JanusGraph distinguishes between local and global configuration options. Local configuration options apply to an individual JanusGraph instance. Global configuration options apply to all instances in a cluster. More specifically, JanusGraph distinguishes the following five scopes for configuration options:

  • LOCAL: These options only apply to an individual JanusGraph instance and are specified in the configuration provided when initializing the JanusGraph instance.

  • MASKABLE: These configuration options can be overwritten for an individual JanusGraph instance by the local configuration file. If the local configuration file does not specify the option, its value is read from the global JanusGraph cluster configuration.

  • GLOBAL: These options are always read from the cluster configuration and cannot be overwritten on an instance basis.

  • GLOBAL_OFFLINE: Like GLOBAL, but changing these options requires a cluster restart to ensure that the value is the same across the entire cluster.

  • FIXED: Like GLOBAL, but the value cannot be changed once the JanusGraph cluster is initialized.

When the first JanusGraph instance in a cluster is started, the global configuration options are initialized from the provided local configuration file. Subsequently changing global configuration options is done through JanusGraph’s management API. To access the management API, call g.getManagementSystem() on an open JanusGraph instance handle g. For example, to change the default caching behavior on a JanusGraph cluster:

mgmt = graph.openManagement()
// Prints the current config setting
mgmt.set('cache.db-cache', true)
// Changes option
// Prints 'true'
// Changes take effect

Changing Offline Options

Changing configuration options does not affect running instances and only applies to newly started ones. Changing GLOBAL_OFFLINE configuration options requires restarting the cluster so that the changes take effect immediately for all instances. To change GLOBAL_OFFLINE options follow these steps:

  • Close all but one JanusGraph instance in the cluster
  • Connect to the single instance
  • Ensure all running transactions are closed
  • Ensure no new transactions are started (i.e. the cluster must be offline)
  • Open the management API
  • Change the configuration option(s)
  • Call commit which will automatically shut down the graph instance
  • Restart all instances

Refer to the full list of configuration options in Configuration Reference for more information including the configuration scope of each option.