Quickstart: Azure Cosmos DB for Apache Gremlin library for .NET


Azure Cosmos DB for Apache Gremlin is a fully managed graph database service implementing the popular Apache Tinkerpop, a graph computing framework using the Gremlin query language. The API for Gremlin gives you a low-friction way to get started using Gremlin with a service that can grow and scale out as much as you need with minimal management.

In this quickstart, you use the Gremlin.Net library to connect to a newly created Azure Cosmos DB for Gremlin account.

Library source code | Package (NuGet)


Azure Cloud Shell

Azure hosts Azure Cloud Shell, an interactive shell environment that you can use through your browser. You can use either Bash or PowerShell with Cloud Shell to work with Azure services. You can use the Cloud Shell preinstalled commands to run the code in this article, without having to install anything on your local environment.

To start Azure Cloud Shell:

Option Example/Link
Select Try It in the upper-right corner of a code or command block. Selecting Try It doesn't automatically copy the code or command to Cloud Shell. Screenshot that shows an example of Try It for Azure Cloud Shell.
Go to https://shell.azure.com, or select the Launch Cloud Shell button to open Cloud Shell in your browser. Button to launch Azure Cloud Shell.
Select the Cloud Shell button on the menu bar at the upper right in the Azure portal. Screenshot that shows the Cloud Shell button in the Azure portal

To use Azure Cloud Shell:

  1. Start Cloud Shell.

  2. Select the Copy button on a code block (or command block) to copy the code or command.

  3. Paste the code or command into the Cloud Shell session by selecting Ctrl+Shift+V on Windows and Linux, or by selecting Cmd+Shift+V on macOS.

  4. Select Enter to run the code or command.

Setting up

This section walks you through creating an API for Gremlin account and setting up a .NET project to use the library to connect to the account.

Create an API for Gremlin account

The API for Gremlin account should be created prior to using the .NET library. Additionally, it helps to also have the database and graph in place.

  1. Create shell variables for accountName, resourceGroupName, and location.

    # Variable for resource group name
    # Variable for account name with a randomly generated suffix
    let suffix=$RANDOM*$RANDOM
  2. If you haven't already, sign in to the Azure CLI using az login.

  3. Use az group create to create a new resource group in your subscription.

    az group create \
        --name $resourceGroupName \
        --location $location
  4. Use az cosmosdb create to create a new API for Gremlin account with default settings.

    az cosmosdb create \
        --resource-group $resourceGroupName \
        --name $accountName \
        --capabilities "EnableGremlin" \
        --locations regionName=$location \
        --enable-free-tier true


    You can have up to one free tier Azure Cosmos DB account per Azure subscription and must opt-in when creating the account. If this command fails to apply the free tier discount, this means another account in the subscription has already been enabled with free tier.

  5. Get the API for Gremlin endpoint NAME for the account using az cosmosdb show.

    az cosmosdb show \
        --resource-group $resourceGroupName \
        --name $accountName \
        --query "name"
  6. Find the KEY from the list of keys for the account with az-cosmosdb-keys-list.

    az cosmosdb keys list \
        --resource-group $resourceGroupName \
        --name $accountName \
        --type "keys" \
        --query "primaryMasterKey"
  7. Record the NAME and KEY values. You use these credentials later.

  8. Create a database named cosmicworks using az cosmosdb gremlin database create.

    az cosmosdb gremlin database create \
        --resource-group $resourceGroupName \
        --account-name $accountName \
        --name "cosmicworks"
  9. Create a graph using az cosmosdb gremlin graph create. Name the graph products, then set the throughput to 400, and finally set the partition key path to /category.

    az cosmosdb gremlin graph create \
        --resource-group $resourceGroupName \
        --account-name $accountName \
        --database-name "cosmicworks" \
        --name "products" \
        --partition-key-path "/category" \
        --throughput 400

Create a new .NET console application

Create a .NET console application in an empty folder using your preferred terminal.

  1. Open your terminal in an empty folder.

  2. Use the dotnet new command specifying the console template.

    dotnet new console

Install the NuGet package

Add the Gremlin.NET NuGet package to the .NET project.

  1. Use the dotnet add package command specifying the Gremlin.Net NuGet package.

    dotnet add package Gremlin.Net
  2. Build the .NET project using dotnet build.

    dotnet build

    Make sure that the build was successful with no errors. The expected output from the build should look something like this:

    Determining projects to restore...
      All projects are up-to-date for restore.
      dslkajfjlksd -> \dslkajfjlksd\bin\Debug\net6.0\dslkajfjlksd.dll
    Build succeeded.
        0 Warning(s)
        0 Error(s)

Configure environment variables

To use the NAME and URI values obtained earlier in this quickstart, persist them to new environment variables on the local machine running the application.

  1. To set the environment variable, use your terminal to persist the values as COSMOS_ENDPOINT and COSMOS_KEY respectively.

    export COSMOS_GREMLIN_ENDPOINT="<account-name>"
    export COSMOS_GREMLIN_KEY="<account-key>"
  2. Validate that the environment variables were set correctly.


Code examples

The code in this article connects to a database named cosmicworks and a graph named products. The code then adds vertices and edges to the graph before traversing the added items.

Authenticate the client

Application requests to most Azure services must be authorized. For the API for Gremlin, use the NAME and URI values obtained earlier in this quickstart.

  1. Open the Program.cs file.

  2. Delete any existing content within the file.

  3. Add a using block for the Gremlin.Net.Driver namespace.

    using Gremlin.Net.Driver;
  4. Create accountName and accountKey string variables. Store the COSMOS_GREMLIN_ENDPOINT and COSMOS_GREMLIN_KEY environment variables as the values for each respective variable.

    string accountName = Environment.GetEnvironmentVariable("COSMOS_GREMLIN_ENDPOINT")!;
    string accountKey = Environment.GetEnvironmentVariable("COSMOS_GREMLIN_KEY")!;
  5. Create a new instance of GremlinServer using the account's credentials.

    var server = new GremlinServer(
        hostname: $"{accountName}.gremlin.cosmos.azure.com",
        port: 443,
        username: "/dbs/cosmicworks/colls/products",
        password: $"{accountKey}",
        enableSsl: true
  6. Create a new instance of GremlinClient using the remote server credentials and the GraphSON 2.0 serializer.

    using var client = new GremlinClient(
        gremlinServer: server,
        messageSerializer: new Gremlin.Net.Structure.IO.GraphSON.GraphSON2MessageSerializer()

Create vertices

Now that the application is connected to the account, use the standard Gremlin syntax to create vertices.

  1. Use SubmitAsync to run a command server-side on the API for Gremlin account. Create a product vertex with the following properties:

    label product
    id 68719518371
    name Kiama classic surfboard
    price 285.55
    category surfboards
    await client.SubmitAsync(
        requestScript: "g.addV('product').property('id', '68719518371').property('name', 'Kiama classic surfboard').property('price', 285.55).property('category', 'surfboards')"
  2. Create a second product vertex with these properties:

    label product
    id 68719518403
    name Montau Turtle Surfboard
    price 600.00
    category surfboards
    await client.SubmitAsync(
        requestScript: "g.addV('product').property('id', '68719518403').property('name', 'Montau Turtle Surfboard').property('price', 600.00).property('category', 'surfboards')"
  3. Create a third product vertex with these properties:

    label product
    id 68719518409
    name Bondi Twin Surfboard
    price 585.50
    category surfboards
    await client.SubmitAsync(
        requestScript: "g.addV('product').property('id', '68719518409').property('name', 'Bondi Twin Surfboard').property('price', 585.50).property('category', 'surfboards')"

Create edges

Create edges using the Gremlin syntax to define relationships between vertices.

  1. Create an edge from the Montau Turtle Surfboard product named replaces to the Kiama classic surfboard product.

    await client.SubmitAsync(
        requestScript: "g.V(['surfboards', '68719518403']).addE('replaces').to(g.V(['surfboards', '68719518371']))"


    This edge defintion uses the g.V(['<partition-key>', '<id>']) syntax. Alternatively, you can use g.V('<id>').has('category', '<partition-key>').

  2. Create another replaces edge from the same product to the Bondi Twin Surfboard.

    await client.SubmitAsync(
        requestScript: "g.V(['surfboards', '68719518403']).addE('replaces').to(g.V(['surfboards', '68719518409']))"

Query vertices & edges

Use the Gremlin syntax to traverse the graph and discover relationships between vertices.

  1. Traverse the graph and find all vertices that Montau Turtle Surfboard replaces.

    var results = await client.SubmitAsync<Dictionary<string, object>>(
        requestScript: "g.V().hasLabel('product').has('category', 'surfboards').has('name', 'Montau Turtle Surfboard').outE('replaces').inV()"
  2. Write to the console the static string [CREATED PRODUCT]\t68719518403. Then, iterate over each matching vertex using a foreach loop and write to the console a message that starts with [REPLACES PRODUCT] and includes the matching product id field as a suffix.

    Console.WriteLine($"[CREATED PRODUCT]\t68719518403");
    foreach (var result in results ?? Enumerable.Empty<Dictionary<string, object>>())
        Console.WriteLine($"[REPLACES PRODUCT]\t{result["id"]}");

Run the code

Validate that your application works as expected by running the application. The application should execute with no errors or warnings. The output of the application includes data about the created and queried items.

  1. Open the terminal in the .NET project folder.

  2. Use dotnet run to run the application.

    dotnet run
  3. Observe the output from the application.

    [CREATED PRODUCT]       68719518403
    [REPLACES PRODUCT]      68719518371
    [REPLACES PRODUCT]      68719518409

Clean up resources

When you no longer need the API for Gremlin account, delete the corresponding resource group.

  1. Create a shell variable for resourceGroupName if it doesn't already exist.

    # Variable for resource group name
  2. Use az group delete to delete the resource group.

    az group delete \
        --name $resourceGroupName

Next step