Commentary
4/22/2008
09:29 AM
Doug Henschen
Doug Henschen
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Teradata Fights Fire With Fire

The price-per-terabyte figures for Teradata's new appliances are aggressive, the performance looks promising and, most important, they all run on the Teradata 12 database. That last point is crucial because most customers would rather not have to run multiple DBMS environments.



Tired of giving up sales to upstart appliance vendors, Teradata yesterday announced its own lineup of appliances spanning data warehousing needs from departmental warehouses and analytic marts up to entry-level warehouses and large-scale enterprise-class warehouses. The price-per-terabyte figures are newly aggressive for Teradata, the performance looks promising and, most important, they all run on the Teradata 12 database. That last point is crucial because most customers would rather not have to run multiple DBMS environments.As I reported in March, column-store database and data warehouse appliance vendors have been making inroads on the leading database/data warehouse vendor, but the most targeted vendor (and customer base) has been Teradata. Teradata customers nearly all have large-scale deployments, they're already running appliances (so they're receptive to hardware-software bundles), and until yesterday, they didn't have lower-cost options available from their primary vendor. Thus the likes of Netezza, DATAllegro and Greenplum were winning deals for focused mart deployments.

Now when Teradata customers want to add a new application that will add a mart's worth of data and put a performance drag on an existing deployment, they'll have the option of adding a Teradata 2500 or stepping up to a Teradata 5550. Either way, they're still on the Teradata database, so the information integration approaches and software is the same and everything is compatible down the road should they decide to fold a mart into the EDW.

Customers mixing disparate databases face complexity, says analyst James Kobielus of Forrester Research. "It raises the question, 'does the appliance require that we rewrite BI and query applications or rearchitect the data model?'"

As long as Teradata is close to the same price/performance league of available rivals, it will have a leg up in retaining its customers. The losers in yesterday's announcement will be the vendors that heavily targeted Teradata without offering distinguishing added value. Teradata's news will have less of an impact on column-store databases (SybaseIQ, ParAccel, Vertica, etc.), appliance vendors that can still demonstrate a price/performance edge (perhaps Netezza - we'll see what performance tests reveal) or appliances that are compatible with other databases (like Dataupia, which plays with Oracle, DB2 and MS SQL Server).The price-per-terabyte figures for Teradata's new appliances are aggressive, the performance looks promising and, most important, they all run on the Teradata 12 database. That last point is crucial because most customers would rather not have to run multiple DBMS environments.

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