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Wayne Eckerson

Welcome to Wayne's World, my blog that illuminates the latest thinking about how to deliver insights from business data and celebrates out-of-the-box thinkers and doers in the business intelligence (BI), performance management and data warehousing (DW) fields. Tune in here if you want to keep abreast of the latest trends, techniques, and technologies in this dynamic industry.

About the author >

Wayne has been a thought leader in the business intelligence field since the early 1990s. He has conducted numerous research studies and is a noted speaker, blogger, and consultant. He is the author of two widely read books: Performance Dashboards: Measuring, Monitoring, and Managing Your Business (2005, 2010) and The Secrets of Analytical Leaders: Insights from Information Insiders (2012).

Wayne is currently director of BI Leadership Research, an education and research service run by TechTarget that provides objective, vendor neutral content to business intelligence (BI) professionals worldwide. Wayne’s consulting company, BI Leader Consulting, provides strategic planning, architectural reviews, internal workshops, and long-term mentoring to both user and vendor organizations. For many years, Wayne served as director of education and research at The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI) where he oversaw the company’s content and training programs and chaired its BI Executive Summit. He can be reached by email at weckerson@techtarget.com.

August 2011 Archives

Teradata has undergone a long overdue conversion. It is no longer a dogmatic proponent of a central data warehousing ideology. Although it still advocates integrated data, it is no longer hostile to the notion of distributed computing.

"We no longer give the EDW sermon," said Ed White, newly appointed general manager of appliances at Teradata , at an analyst briefing in Las Vegas last week. "And it was a sermon. "

During a short presentation, White described how Teradata stopped fighting the reality of federated data stores that exists at most companies and began embracing it. "We used to argue with companies about departmental systems and why they should avoid them. Now we sell them." Awakening to both architectural and economic realities, White added, "We began to realize that organizations had this entire data ecosystem, and we were only competing for the data warehousing portion of it."

Winning Customers

New Accounts. Today, Teradata has a family of appliances that all run on the Teradata database. These range from the one node Data Mart Appliance to the nine node Teradata Data Warehouse Appliance that is expandable to six cabinets. Teradata now has 225 appliance customers, many of whom purchased the Data Warehouse Appliance to replace Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server as the customer's data warehouse platform. As such, this product is helping Teradata win new accounts at the lower end of the data warehousing spectrum, something it couldn't do in the past because it didn't have a competitively priced offering. Priced at roughly $26,000 per terabyte, the Data Warehousing Appliance is helping dispel that notion.

Cannibalization? Although Teradata has been selling its appliances for several years, it has only recently embraced them as a key part its overall strategy. Executives needed to be convinced that the appliances wouldn't cannibalize the company's flagship product, the Teradata Active DW. Although some customers have replaced their Active DW platform with a Data Warehouse Appliance, White says Teradata would have lost that business to competitors if it didn't offer a more appropriately sized system.

More encouraging, 75 Active EDW customers are also running a Data Warehouse Appliance, reinforcing the notion that customers have multi-faceted data ecosystems and that a one-size-fits-all strategy doesn't always align with customer realities. In the end, Teradata's appliances have become a key wedge to unseat competitors at new accounts and an effective way to retain existing customers and compete for a greater share of a customer's wallet.

Managing an Ecosystem

However, Teradata has some work to do to make an appliance strategy work. As a newcomer to distributed computing, it needs to supply tools for managing a multi-faceted ecosystem and dynamically moving data among complementary systems. Staying true to its ideology of centralized computing, Teradata has established the goal of making a Teradata ecosystem function as if it's a single system. For example, this might mean automatically distributed queries to the appropriate system based on workload and availability.

Teradata has already taken a few steps in this direction by releasing Teradata Viewpoint and Teradata Multi-System Manager. Viewpoint provides a single console for monitoring, managing, and controlling Teradata systems in a customer ecosystem. Multi-System Manager goes beyond Teradata products and provides a view of the entire BI stack from source systems to ETL and BI tools. Expect Teradata to make announce additional utilities at its Teradata Partners conference this fall.

On the whole, it's great to see Teradata remake itself, and just in the nick of time. Teradata has always delivered excellent technology and great customer service, and it sincerely desires to make its customers successful. Now that it's taken off its ideological blinders, it has become a rejuvenated competitor as well.


Posted August 6, 2011 5:51 AM
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