Teradata Customers Embrace the Cloud

Originally published February 9, 2017

Ron Powell, independent analyst and expert with the BeyeNETWORK and the Business Analytics Collaborative, interviews Brian Wood, director of cloud marketing at Teradata. They discuss Teradata’s cloud offerings, and Brian provides examples of how customers are benefiting from managed, public and private clouds.

Brian, the big message from Teradata is Teradata Everywhere. The big announcement today was about MPP on AWS Marketplace. Can you talk about that?

Brian Wood: We’re very excited about this. Dave McCann, the VP of AWS Marketplace and Service Catalog, was here on stage with all of our other keynoters to help us announce and reinforce the importance of Teradata MPP, or multi-node scalability, on AWS Marketplace. 

What this means is that the very same Teradata software that we use in our on-premises systems is now available on AWS Marketplace, and next quarter it will also be in Microsoft Azure, with the same software, same capabilities and scalable currently up to 32 nodes on AWS. So our customers are very excited about this because many of them already have workloads and data in AWS, and so to have Teradata and this MPP multi-node scalability is a big step forward for us – the first in many steps along this journey of raising the ceiling of capacity of workloads and what we can do in the public cloud environment.

It is part of the Teradata Everywhere announcement – this hybrid cloud story of combining on-premises with private cloud, managed cloud and public cloud and orchestrating data, workloads, and users between those environments to get the best of all of them. 

Is Teradata Everywhere also optimized and managed so that if you don’t know exactly where the data should be, Teradata will do that for you?

Brian Wood: Currently it is more of a manual process in terms of either the company’s IT staff or their business intelligence folks deciding where to put data and workloads, but we’re very rapidly coming up the curve on the software being able to do that automatically. So it will be able to see the patterns, to anticipate the needs – whether it’s end-of-month or end-of-quarter where the system anticipates that there is going to be an increase in users or workloads and therefore you might want to pre-stage data in additional environments and be able to move the workloads at a certain point to maintain the service level agreements for the business users. It’s a journey. We’re currently in the manual stage, but very soon it will be in the automated stage, and then it will be predictive. It is all this evolution to allow the customer to focus on the analytics and the insight rather than what is under the hood and how the work actually gets done. 

That’s great. Teradata works with some of the largest clients in the world, and we hear a lot about cloud, the importance of cloud, and cloud being everywhere. Where are the large companies with cloud today?

Brian Wood: Great question. And, you’d be surprised. Some of the largest companies in the world and also large Teradata customers have been the most aggressive and bullish about moving workloads into the cloud. So you would naturally expect that a large company would be more conservative or slower to move than a small or mid-size company, but we’ve actually experienced the opposite. They’re the most forward-looking and, in many cases, the most sophisticated.  And they see the benefits of adding cloud to their ecosystem. It’s not a replacement of on-premises. It is adding to their on-premises environment. So they get a hybrid environment. Especially with this MPP announcement going up to 32 nodes, many of the large customers are the first in line. They were beta testing, and now that it is in production, they are able to do actual proofs of concept and then move them into production. It’s great.

In other words, it’s not just the brave small companies willing to take a risk. It’s some of the very largest companies that are very sophisticated and have the resources to choose what they want. And many of them are choosing the cloud. 

You mentioned the three cloud offerings – managed cloud, private cloud and public cloud – how do you see that breakdown with your customers? Are many of them going one way or the other, or do you see an equal distribution? 

Brian Wood: It’s a mix. It really is dependent on the customers and their current infrastructure and ecosystem and trajectory and their desire to manage or not manage certain aspects of the infrastructure. And here’s what I mean. So, many companies – even though they have people and knowledge to manage infrastructure – they might choose not to do so because there are opportunity costs. You’ve got your own people focused on certain activities. That means that they’re not available to focus on other activities. So many of them come to our managed cloud because Teradata Cloud Operations manages that infrastructure so that the customer does not have to. They can just focus on the insight – the results of the analytics. We have other customers, though, that do have the people on hand and the knowledge or they want to develop that knowledge in house so they’d rather be a little more hands-on. Then we have those that eventually want to do it themselves. They may not know how to do it now, so they engage our services team. Our services team will come in and help them understand and architect and migrate workloads into the cloud, while at the same time train the customers so they can take the reins and do it themselves once it is stood up. So it’s really a spectrum.

The benefit of managed cloud is that they don’t have to worry about what’s under the hood. The benefit of public cloud is that they can either choose to manage it themselves or have us manage it for them. Either way, they’re getting the benefits of agility, flexibility, pay-as-you-go and more.

Do you have some marquis customers you can share that have moved to the cloud?

Brian Wood: You bet. Our most famous cloud customer is Netflix. A few years ago they made headlines for getting out of data centers completely, being 100% in the cloud. They have much of their infrastructure in Amazon Web Services (AWS), but they use Teradata Managed Cloud for their advanced analytics. So while they use many of the AWS services to run their business, they use Teradata Managed Cloud for their advanced analytics to understand customer preferences, what type of content customers are choosing, and when they bail out of content. That helps Netflix develop their own media like “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.” So they’re the most famous.

We have other companies like Core Digital Media that have an on-prem system for production, and then they use the cloud for disaster recovery. Then we have companies like Social Gaming Network that do all their production in the cloud. 

So, it’s really a mix. Some are all in the cloud. Some are hybrid between on-prem and cloud. Some are existing customers that have been with Teradata for a long time. Others are new Teradata customers that are just getting started with the cloud.

Great! We talked about AWS. Are there any plans for Azure?

Brian Wood:  Absolutely. That was part of the Teradata Everywhere announcement. Teradata Database on Azure will go live in Q4 of 2016. So all of the same capabilities that we’re talking about in AWS in terms of multi-node scalability. I didn’t mention some of the other features like hot-standby nodes and directly backing up to and from lower cost storage areas. All of these capabilities will also be available in Microsoft Azure. 

Brian, it’s always great to get an update on the cloud because it seems to be moving very quickly.

Brian Wood: Very fast – very exciting. We’ve got a lot of people invested on the engineering side. Customers are definitely waking up to the opportunities and the potential so it’s a great thing, and I’m glad to be associated with Teradata and the cloud.

Thanks Brian!

  • Ron PowellRon Powell
    Ron, an independent analyst and consultant, has an extensive technology background in business intelligence, analytics and data warehousing. In 2005, Ron founded the BeyeNETWORK, which was acquired by Tech Target in 2010.  Prior to the founding of the BeyeNETWORK, Ron was cofounder, publisher and editorial director of DM Review (now Information Management). Ron also has a wealth of consulting expertise in business intelligence, business management and marketing. He may be contacted by email at rpowell@powellinteractivemedia.com.

    More articles and Ron's blog can be found in his BeyeNETWORK expert channel. Be sure to visit today!

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