Teradata Will Bulk Up Product Line

Warehousing vendor's upgrades to include boosting speed of database.

Data warehousing player Teradata will spend this year bolstering itself against rivals Oracle Corp. and IBM and with major upgrades to its entire product line.

Later this year, the San Diego-based company—a division of NCR Corp.—plans to upgrade Teradata Database Version 2 Release 4.1 to Release 5.0, which focuses on speed and "near real-time" processing, according to company officials.

Teradata said it hopes to make data warehousing less expensive by doubling its parallel 5255 and symmetric 4855 WorldMark server speeds while using half as many processors, said Chief Technology Officer Stephen Brobst.

In the next few months, the company will add XML and analytics features to the Java Connectivity Architecture of the Teradata customer relationship software. Behind the scenes, the company will continue joint development with the federal government on petabyte database patterning and searching technology, Brobst said.

Although Teradatas core database is a relational system, its typically an adjunct to—rather than a replacement of—an Oracle or IBM general-purpose database. Conversely, "weve replaced nearly 100 transaction databases," such as Oracles and IBMs, that were being used for data warehousing, Brobst said.

A key reason Teradatas product is better for that task is its ability to run parallel queries, Brobst said.

"Parallelism allows you to sort of divide and conquer the execution of the task," Brobst said. Such features can also help users consolidate data marts and tactical data stores, where "you have technology limiting the functionality that you can deliver," he said.

At golf club maker Ping, a division of Karsten Manufacturing Corp., the Teradata database is used as a full production system; previously, the company used an older version of IBMs DB2 system on a mainframe, said Kent Crossland, director of IS, in Phoenix. "We run Teradata as our main database engine. No one even knows you can do that," Crossland said. "When you buy something like an Oracle application, that database is very complex. We have one, single data image. We dont extract data from one environment and port it to another and all of that."

As for Teradatas 2002 plans, Crossland said, "those changes should have a huge impact. Making it faster is something we are definitely interested in. I dont think Oracle will ever get to where they are in terms of massive queries."

In general, Teradatas momentum is part of the growing industry trend of using separate databases to gain functionality not yet perfected by the Big Three—Oracle, IBM and Microsoft Corp. The trend includes functionality for databases for XML, from Software AG, of Darmstadt, Germany; for high speed, from TimesTen Performance Software Co., of Mountain View, Calif.; and for uptime, from Clustra Systems Inc., of Oakland, Calif.