Teradata targets the cloud with data warehousing announcements

The vendor is also prepping a new appliance that uses solid-state technology

Teradata unveiled a range of data warehousing products and initiatives on Monday, including new public and private cloud deployment options and an upcoming appliance that employs solid-state disks.

The company's new Agile Analytics Cloud is a set of products and services for quickly creating virtualized data marts inside a company's private cloud. It employs a free Elastic Mart Builder tool alongside Teradata's workload management software, and is meant to help companies quickly create data marts and analyze information, as well as "control data mart proliferation," Teradata said.

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Teradata also announced versions of its Teradata Express software for Amazon's EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) and VMware Player. Teradata Express provides a feature-limited version of the company's database at no charge. It is meant for use by developers in nonproduction environments.

"We want to make it easier for people to develop analytic applications on the Teradata platform," said CTO Stephen Brobst. Porting Express to pay-as-you-go cloud infrastructure services like EC2 makes doing so more attractive because companies, particularly smaller ones, don't have to acquire additional hardware, he said.

In addition, Teradata announced an upcoming data warehousing machine called Extreme Performance Appliance 4555. Like Oracle's Exadata 2 product, it uses solid-state drives, which offer better performance than traditional hard disks but are more expensive, although prices are dropping. Teradata's appliance uses Intel chips and will scale from between 7 and 200 terabytes of user data.

Teradata is looking for early adopters now and plans to release the appliance in the first half of 2010, according to Brobst.

With Monday's announcements, Teradata "hopes to leapfrog" its competitor Greenplum, which recently launched its own "Enterprise Data Cloud" strategy, analyst Curt Monash said in a blog post.

This is "only fair," since Greenplum's initiative echoes what eBay has already done using Teradata technology, Monash added. "It also provides major support for what I think is an extremely sensible trend."

Each vendor will bring relative strengths to the table, Monash added. Teradata should have an edge in managing virtual data marts versus just physical ones, but Greenplum may do better in regard to pricing and deployment options, he said.

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