03.03.11

Big Data consolidation march contines: Teradata buys Aster Data

Posted in Business Intelligence, Data Management, Database at 12:09 pm by Tony Baer

At this point, probably at least 90% or more of analytic systems/data warehouses are easily contained within the SQL-based technologies that are commercially available today. We’ll take that argument a step further: Most enterprise data warehouses are less than 5 terabytes. So why then all the excitement about big data, and why are acquisitions in this field becoming almost a biweekly thing?

To refresh the memory, barely a couple weeks back, HP announced its intention to buy Vertica. And this morning came the news that Teradata is buying the other 89% of Aster Data that it doesn’t already own. Given Teradata’s 11% stake, the acquisition was hardly a surprise. Maybe what was surprising was the mere $263 million price tag, which Neil Raden wondered facetiously in his tweet, “That seems like a real bargain. I should have bought them myself!!! Or as Forrester’s James Kobielus tweeted, “Essentially, AsterData gives #Teradata the analytic application server (analytics + OLTP) they need to duke it out with Oracle Exadata.”

The irony is when you talk about Big Data, for years it was synonymous with one player: Teradata. But as we’ve observed, there’s more data everywhere and there’s cheaper processor, disk, cache, and bandwidth to transport and manage it – whether you intercept event streams, store it, or federate to it.

In all this, Teradata has found itself part of a widening vendor ecosystem that has responded to its massively parallel technology with new variants in columnar, in memory, solid state, NoSQL, unstructured data, and event stream technology. While Teradata was known for taking traditional historical analytics, and in some cases, operational data stores to extreme scale, others were eking out different aspects of extreme analytics, whether it being real-time or interactive analysis of structured data, parsing of social media sentiment, taking smarter approaches to managing civil infrastructure or homeland security through analysis of sensory data streams, fraud detection, and so on.

Teradata has hardly stood still, having broadened out its product footprint from its classic proprietary hardware to a broad array of form factors that run on commodity platforms, solid state disk, and virtual cloud, and more recently with acquisitions of MySQL appliance Kickfire and marketing analytics provider Aprimo. Acquisition of Aster Data, probably the best pick of the remaining lot of columnar database challengers, provides Teradata yet another facet of an increasingly well-rounded product portfolio. Going forward, we expect that Teradata will continue its offerings of vertical industry data templates to extend to the columnar world.

Viewed from a market perspective, Teradata’s acquisition marks the home stretch for consolidation of the current crop of analytic database challengers, who are mostly spread in the columnar field. Dell is the last major platform player standing that has yet to make its move.

The currently wave of consolidation hardly spells the end of innovation here, as there is plenty of headroom in taming of the NoSQL world. And although acquisition of Aster Data overlaps with HP’s Vertica deal, that makes Teradata no less attractive for an HP that seeks to broaden out its enterprise software footprint.

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