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Critical Factors for Cloud Deployments: Agility, Flexibility and Scalability the Reasons for Choosing Teradata

Originally published April 3, 2018

Ron Powell, independent analyst and industry expert for the BeyeNETWORK and executive producer of The World Transformed FastForward Series, interviews Brian Wood, director of cloud marketing at Teradata. They discuss the various options Teradata offers for cloud deployments.

Brian, could you give us a summary of what Teradata is doing with the cloud?

Brian Wood: I’d love to, and there is a lot. We have a number of cloud options for customers. One is our managed cloud offering. We call it IntelliCloud. Basically it is a service offering with a number of infrastructure offerings available for customers, including our own hardware and our own data centers. We call that Teradata Cloud. We also have public cloud options such as AWS and Microsoft Azure. Those are all in the managed cloud category. Then we have self-serve or do-it-yourself type software subscriptions on both AWS Marketplace and Azure Marketplace. And then last, but not least, is our private cloud offering, which is Teradata on VMware.

There are three different choices for customers, but the best part is that it is the exact same Teradata software across all three of those choices. So it’s easy for customers to move workloads between the different environments. They have comfort and confidence knowing it’s the same software and that there won’t be any issues in terms of features and capabilities between these different environments.

Great. We’ve seen an acceleration of large enterprises moving to the cloud. Could you give us some examples of the type of companies that are moving to the cloud?

Brian Wood: You’re right. We have seen a large acceleration, not only in the number of companies but also the size and stature of these companies and, more importantly, in the size and complexity of the workloads that they’re moving into the cloud. One example is Coca-Cola. They recently moved into Teradata IntelliCloud, our managed cloud offering. We’ve got Monsanto. Troy Crites is the President of the Partners Steering Committee. In his keynote at Partners, he talked about using IntelliCloud on AWS. We have companies like Ticketmaster and LiveNation. NetFlix is a Teradata in-the-cloud user. We have Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment, a conglomerate with a number of different companies including the Utah Jazz basketball team. Whole Foods uses Teradata IntelliCloud. They were recently acquired by Amazon.com. Obviously, these are very big names. They have lots of data. Analytics are central to what they do. These are just the public ones. There are many more that I haven’t mentioned here. There are many new to Teradata companies that are using cloud as their first entrée into the Teradata ecosystem. It’s a great entry point for new companies coming in to Teradata, and it’s a great expansion option for existing Teradata customers that want to augment their on-premises system with cloud-based resources.

What’s fueling the drive for these companies to move to the cloud?

Brian Wood: There are a number of reasons. There is no one common path. One of the drivers is the shift from capital expense to operational expense. There are CAPEX budgets and there are OPEX budgets. CAPEX budgets typically have a longer cycle. There is much more planning involved and longer time horizons with CAPEX budgets. That has been generally how IT infrastructure has been funded for decades. Well, now with cloud services and subscription-based consumption, many companies can now pull from the OPEX bucket of money rather than the CAPEX bucket of money. Many companies are choosing to do that. They prefer to do that because they have more flexibility. They don’t have to have quite as long planning horizons. So it’s a budgeting reason.

Another reason for cloud consumption is agility and flexibility. Instead of taking months to acquire and install and provision and integrate infrastructure, it literally can be done in days or even minutes with public cloud type deployment. So it’s much faster. They can turn on a dime, spin things up quickly, and turn things down when they’re not needed anymore. This gives them much more flexibility and agility. In this day and age when planning is important but things change so fast, companies need to be able to react to threats and also take advantage of opportunities. If you can do that quickly and pay as you go and not leave a bunch of money on the table, that’s a big win for any company.

Last, but not least, would be our managed offerings like our IntelliCloud offering. More and more companies find less reason to do things in house that are not differentiated or value add. They’d rather pay a company like Teradata to do that for them so they can focus on the data and the analytics, internal customers and higher value add activities rather than the care and feeding of the IT infrastructure, which is necessary but does not add value. So if they can pay us to do that, we’re happy to do that for them. We’re experts at that and they can focus on what they do best.

So there are a number of different reasons for cloud adoption. Every company is at a different point in their journey to the cloud. Some are very aggressive – cloud first and cloud forward – and they want to get out of data centers. Most of our customers, however, have a hybrid mix of on premises and cloud. Cloud is a newer mode of deployment, but most companies are going to maintain their on-premises infrastructure and have a blend.

Great. Brian, we’re seeing a lot of competition in the cloud space. Many companies already have some existing structure, and some already have selected their cloud provider. What are you seeing in that area?

Brian Wood: This is a hot area: data and analytics in general, and cloud data warehousing and analytics in particular.  That means there are a lot of companies that rush into this space. Our key differentiation is what we characterize as Teradata Everywhere. It’s the same software regardless of deployment choice. I was just talking about hybrid environments. Many of our customers have on premises and they want cloud, but they don’t want different versions of the software in these different environments. They don’t want one feature set in one place and a different feature set in another, where the two are incompatible or you have to think about what is similar and what is different. It slows down business. It slows down decision making if you have to go through all sorts of conversions when you’re going from A to B. With Teradata, however, it’s the same consistent software across all these deployment options. And that is unique to Teradata. We’ve got the breadth of deployment choice – the managed cloud, the private cloud, the public cloud and on premises. It is the same software across that wide range of choices. Whereas the competition typically has different versions of their software in the different cloud deployment options, or they have a limited range of deployment choice. So we have cloud only competitors that are only in the cloud – only in one type of cloud such as AWS, for example. That limits the customer’s ability to move down the road because you never know what’s going to happen in the future and how you might want to shift. You don’t want to be locked into one particular vendor so having options is key. 

The other thing that I’ll point out that often is lost in the discussion about cloud analytics is those two words: cloud analytics. There is so much focus on the cloud portion of that phrase that people tend to forget the analytics portion of the phrase, which frankly is the reason why we’re doing this – the analytic capability itself to get value out of the data. For nearly four decades, Teradata has been the leader at extracting value out of data. Those same capabilities and having the flexible cloud deployment option is key. In other words, you don’t want to sacrifice analytics just for cloud. You want to have both. You want to have the best analytic capability with the cloud deployment option and have the flexibility to shift things around in the future as you need to. 

There are many competitors. Some are existing traditional competitors of Teradata, kind of the usual suspects for big IT infrastructures. We’ve got some smaller companies, some startups, that are kind of nipping at our heels, but basically for the size and stature of Teradata customers that we have – the Global 500 – they’re going to want the deep analytic expertise that comes with Teradata and have those cloud deployment options. It’s a win/win for them.

So you’re really giving your customers flexibility, agility and scale, right?

Brian Wood: Absolutely – without sacrificing the insight that they expect from Teradata. When you’re a data-driven business and you need those analytic insights to differentiate you and be number one in your industry, you don’t want to sacrifice capability just for the flexibility of cloud deployment. You can have both with Teradata!

Brian, it’s been a pleasure talking with you and learning more about Teradata cloud options.

  • Ron PowellRon Powell
    Ron is an independent analyst, consultant and editorial expert with extensive knowledge and experience in business intelligence, big data, analytics and data warehousing. Currently president of Powell Interactive Media, which specializes in consulting and podcast services, he is also Executive Producer of The World Transformed Fast Forward series. In 2004, 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). He maintains an expert channel and blog on the BeyeNETWORK and may be contacted by email at rpowell@powellinteractivemedia.com. 

    More articles and Ron's blog can be found in his BeyeNETWORK expert channel.

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