Teradata Unveils Solid State Data Warehouse
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Tuesday, 20 October 2009

By Mel Duvall

Teradata raised the stakes in the race to provide companies with real time business intelligence Monday by unveiling what it says is the world's first solid state drive data warehouse appliance. The device, which was unveiled at the Teradata Partners conference in Washington, is able to perform at speeds 150 times faster than conventional hard drives.

A beta version of the Extreme Performance Appliance 4555 is on display at the conference, but the company said the device won't be available for purchase until the first quarter of 2010.

Scott Gnau, head of development for Teradata, told CIOZone that the technology behind the device is more expensive than standard hard drives and that the solid state appliance won't be for everyone. However, he said some companies who see real competitive advantages in "knowing the answers to questions now" will be willing to pay the premium. Gnau would not reveal how much more expensive the solid state appliance would be, saying that would depend on competitive factors at the time of release.

"In this business environment some people will probably think we're crazy bringing out a box that will be more expensive, but we think there is an obvious business advantage," said Gnau.

Over the years computer manufacturers have made giant leaps in terms of improving computing performance, but improvements to hard disk drives have not come anywhere close to keeping pace. They have largely been hampered by the physical speeds at which a disk can spin and the information retrieved.

Solid state drives are believed to be the next big step forward. Solid state drives - or SSDs - also take up less space than traditional hard drives and provide better energy efficiency. Teradata says its prototype takes up about 7% of the floor space of an equivalent hard disk appliance and is 50% more energy efficient.

Teradata said it is working with several customers who want to use the appliance in trials, but would not name those customers. However, Gnau said it has obvious appeal to those companies who are involved in making real time decisions base on click-stream analysis, such as electronic commerce and online travel. Teradata counts a number of the largest e-commerce customers among its client base, including Wal-Mart, Amazon.com, eBay, and Travelocity.

Teradata said the new appliance will scale from seven to 200 terabytes of data.




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