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Teradata Moves Beyond Intelligence
Teradata Partners '08: With product enhancements galore, the enterprise data warehousing company kicks off its annual conference with a commitment to collective intelligence.
Posted Oct 15, 2008
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LAS VEGAS — Times have changed for the lonely database administrator (DBA). No longer is data just one department’s problem — or even a problem at all, for that matter. Data analysis and business intelligence (BI) have spread across the enterprise in what Steven Brobst, chief technology officer for Teradata, called “pervasive BI” in the opening keynote here at this week’s Teradata Partners, the company's annual user conference.

“Our passion at Teradata is ‘Teradata Everywhere’ -- throughout the organization,” Brobst told attendees. “That means…to [the] front lines, integrated to the call center representative, and to the device the customer is interacting with.” In addition to spreading the good news of data during the morning keynote, Teradata announced several new additions to its data warehousing packages and a committed strategy to data quality.

At last year's Partners conference, the big news was Teradata’s split from former parent company NCR. Since the separation, the newly independent Teradata has been focused on product announcements and enhancements. In fact, according to the company, this month’s release of its Teradata Database 13 includes 75 new features.

“Last year, I said that the spinoff from NCR will give us the opportunity to control our own destiny and to operate with greater speed and focus and innovate better and faster,” said Mike Koehler, Teradata's chief executive officer and president, in his keynote address. Koehler went on to spotlight the newest addition to the Teradata data warehousing family, the Teradata Extreme Appliance 1550 -- hardware, he said, that rivals Exadata, the HP Oracle Database Machine announced at Oracle OpenWorld in late September.

At the time, Larry Ellison, Oracle's cofounder and chief executive officer, bluntly belittled Teradata's offerings, stating in no uncertain terms that Teradata had "no intelligence in their storage server, whatsoever. It's pretty much a sophisticated database." Koehler jabbed back at -- or perhaps offered a rebuttal of -- Ellison's software-turned-hardware approach in his keynote. “Oracle’s new appliances aren’t capable of true enterprise data warehousing,” Koehler said. “They are building a better data mart and claiming to one day be enterprise-data-warehousing-capable.”

At a briefing following the keynote, Scott Gnau, chief development officer for Teradata, provided more details on the product enhancements and announcements. “We want to leverage disruption,” he told attendees, before speaking about the Teradata Extreme Appliance 1550. The new hardware, he said, runs on 50 petabytes and allows people to chip away at huge data volumes at an increased speed. Gnau repeatedly emphasized the appliance's $16,500-per-terabyte price tag.

Gnau also announced the newest version of the company's database product, Teradata Database 13 -- a numbered release that, if nothing else, shows Teradata doesn't suffer from triskaidekaphobia. The release comes jam-packed with new features and offers virtual storage, making Teradata the first data-warehousing company with a virtual-storage offering, according to Gnau.

In other hardware news, Gnau made reference to Apple, and the solid-state memory it popularized in its iPod line of personal electronics. “Who thought an iPod would change and revolutionize the data warehousing industry?” Gnau asked rhetorically, before introducing Teradata’s Advanced Development Technology for Solid State Storage. Gnau admitted that Teradata's small storage devices are pricey, but he said he sees them going mainstream by 2011.

Additionally, the Teradata team announced a services launch for data quality, an area that Gnau called is a “huge value-add” for companies. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it,” he said.

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