EMC Greenplum, Teradata and Netezza ramblings

Well, that was quite a week….despite following Prof. Marcus du Sautoy onto the stage at the EMC Data Science Series event in London, our presentation covering Search Science was well received. Moscow, Dubai and Hong Kong next? Who knows.

The prospects and web/digital media agencies we met with down in London town were very bullish. The number of inbound enquiries is also on the rise. Some of them are even converting into paying customers in double-quick time. Woo-hoo! It seems like they all say the same thing, along the lines of “we’ve tried all the other bid management tools, and they’re all a) the same and b) underperform”. Just what we want to hear!

El Reg wrote up a nice piece, as usual, on Teradata’s Q4 performance. It seems our friends over at Teradata can do no wrong at the moment. Long may that continue.

The most interesting point in the article for me is that “the 2000 Series Data Warehouse Appliance machinery is what it tends to sell against Netezza and Exadata iron, and that this appliance business had nearly doubled in 2011 after 90 per cent growth in 2010.”

This supports my theory that Netezza is probably the best thing that happened to Teradata (or maybe being spun off from NCR?). How so? Well, quite simply, competition is seen by most as a healthy thing.

Until my good friend Foster Hinshaw and his Netezza boxes arrived on the scene, Teradata largely had the parallel DBMS space to themselves, and it was therefore “reassuringly expensive”. You either ponied up the money or struggled along with a traditional “general purpose DBMS + SMP server + SAN/NAS” approach, and we all know that doesn’t work at scale. Don’t we?

Despite assurances that they “won’t survive 18 months”, Netezza survived, flourished, managed an IPO and got bought by IBM all in less than 10 years. Quite impressive I’d say.

So how is this good for Teradata?

Well, first of all Netezza proved there was latent demand for a broader product offering in the datawarehouse appliance space than the narrow, premium offering previously only available from Teradata.

Secondly, due to the arrival of the upstart Netezza with their “performance, value, simplicity” message, Teradata was forced to re-appraise their product offerings, which quickly broadened into a much wider range than the premium priced “enterprise-only” platform. Just look at all the Teradata platform goodies on offer now – there’s something for everyone.

Teradata now has more platforms being sold in more territories, more users, more revenue and more profit than ever before.

Part of this I chalk up to the arrival of Netezza on the scene. The ‘big data’ wave has also helped, no doubt. Also, let’s never forget just how much those early Teradata developers got right over 30 years ago.

I can still remember how amazed I was when I ran my first BTEQ in the late 1980s at Royal Insurance in Liverpool. Wow – an answer in under 12 hours and no Cobol, this we liked a lot.