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Teradata Announces 'Big Analytics' Appliance, Free Aster Version

Teradata Aster Big Analytics Appliance combines Hadoop and Aster nodes in a configurable, ready-to-go rack.

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Teradata Wednesday announced a plug-in-ready rack unit that runs Apache Hadoop, SQL-MapReduce, and the company's Aster database in one box. Called the Teradata Aster Big Analytics Appliance, the unit combines Hadoop and Aster nodes in a configurable rack.

"It's not just a big data appliance, it's a big analytics appliance," said Chris Twogood, Teradata director of product and services marketing, in a phone interview with InformationWeek. "This provides flexibility for doing storage of raw data inside Hadoop, but then leveraging the power of the analytic engine of Aster."

The Big Analytics Appliance allows enterprises to manage and analyze structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data in one device. It provides Apache Hadoop via Hortonworks HDP 1.1, and SQL-Hadoop integration via Aster SQL-H. Teradata's Viewpoint Web-based portal offers integrated server management and monitoring.

Teradata bought Aster Data Systems in 2011. The Teradata Aster Big Analytics Appliance is the company's first hardware device to offer integrated analytics with Hadoop and HDFS.

"When we acquired Aster, we developed an Aster appliance, but it was just Aster nodes," said Twogood. "What's new is the fact that we've integrated Aster and Hadoop nodes inside the same rack, and then optimized that technology."

Teradata configures each Big Analytics Appliance based on the customer's requirements.

[ Related: See Teradata Upgrades Break Down Database Barriers. ]

"If their needs are heavier on data storage and refinement, we probably put in more Hadoop nodes. If they do more path and graph analysis, we balance it out between Aster and Hadoop nodes. And if they're very heavy in terms of computational analytics, we would configure more Aster nodes," Twogood said.

Teradata claims that the Big Analytics Appliance, which features Infiniband connectivity and Intel's Romley chip, offers up to a 30% performance improvement over Hadoop installations on commodity hardware, which often include a mix-and-match variety of off-the-shelf components.

"If somebody goes out and rolls their own, they haven't optimized the right mix of disk drives, memory, configurations, and network bandwidth. We bring that all together in a pre-tuned solution that helps drive performance," said Twogood.

Teradata also announced Teradata Aster Express, a free version of Aster available for download at the Teradata Developer Exchange. Aster Express lacks the performance and higher data capacity of the full version, but it gives users a way to test the product for free. "It's a fully functional Aster database, with all the different modules and SQL MapReduce," said Twogood. For instance, Aster Express includes all of the 50-plus functions of the Aster MapReduce Analytics Portfolio. "The nice thing is that it's fully packaged--it's not like we're giving you a lite version," he added.

On Oct. 22, Teradata will make a series of announcements about enhancements to its platform architecture and products. They include:

-- Unified Data Environment. Teradata is integrating multiple technologies, including Hadoop, Aster, and the Teradata Database, into a unified architecture as demonstrated by the Aster Big Analytics Appliance. This environment includes Viewpoint, Teradata's system management console that currently works with Aster and Teradata software. Viewpoint will also work with Hadoop in early 2013.

-- The Teradata Data Warehouse Appliance 2700. The next generation of the company's data appliance family promises up to twice the performance and four times the load performance of its predecessor. It's scheduled to ship in the first quarter of 2013.

-- Teradata Database enhancements. A series of improvements designed to simplify and automate database management. For instance, the new Data Labs with Smart Loader feature simplifies importing data from personal computers.

The Smart Loader UI allows a business user to import an Excel file into Teradata without IT intervention, Twogood said.

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