Software // Information Management
Commentary
3/4/2011
11:54 AM
James Kobielus
James Kobielus
Commentary
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Aster Data Deal Drives MapReduce Into Teradata's Strategy

The acquisition will advance graph analysis against clickstreams and social media messages. Competitors will respond on the "No SQL" and social network analytics fronts.

Giving Customers A Choice

As we noted in our Wave report, EDW customers increasingly require a choice of DBMS, so they can deploy and tune the optimal database architecture to each analytic node, server, or cluster. With Aster nCluster, Teradata is acquiring a DBMS that, like Teradata's core DBMS, is row-based relational, but which is evolving into a virtualized platform with agile integration of graph database and other "No SQL" architectures.

No, the acquisition of Aster Data will not improve Teradata's standing in the growing midmarket for EDW solutions. But that's not as critical as it had been just a year or two ago for Teradata, which has addressed this challenge reasonably well through aggressive price-cutting and its strong go-to-market push on the 2600-series EDW appliances.

What the Aster Data acquisition will reinforce is Teradata's growing stature as a true innovator in the EDW arena, as opposed to a long-time incumbent resting on past laurels. Forrester expects Teradata to inject considerable R&D monies into its newly acquired product group and to bring Aster Data's development team into close collaboration with Teradata Labs.

For Aster Data, the acquisition is precisely what it needs to strengthen its product portfolio and expand its reach in this hypercompetitive and rapidly evolving marketplace. Just as Netezza has benefited from access to new parent IBM's global professional services force and partner ecosystem, Aster Data is joining a vendor that has built a formidable consulting force and strategic alliances of its own. Professional services, provided through Teradata's consulting organization and ecosystem, will be absolutely essential for positioning Aster Data platforms into increasingly complex enterprise applications in CRM, marketing, and advanced analytics.

How will Teradata and Aster Data rationalize their respective portfolios? Clearly, it's too early for these companies to comment, but Forrester believes it's safe to assume that neither company's customers or partners need to worry that they'll be cut off or end-of-lifed. Forrester expects that Teradata will establish a stand-alone product group around Aster Data, to focus on social-facing customer analytics.

Teradata will likely waste no time integrating Aster Data's sales, service, and partner programs into its own global operations. And, once the deal is closed, we also expect the vendors to roll out a joint roadmap for integrating their respective IP and R&D across all future offerings.

At the very least, we expect Aster Data's SQL-MapReduce API to become a Teradata-wide standard for access to MapReduce functionality from the vendor's growing portfolio of customer and marketing analytics tools. It's also very likely that we will see a more comprehensive Hadoop integration roadmap from the combined Teradata/Aster Data by this fall's Teradata Partners conference, if not sooner.

Now we wait to see how Teradata's nearest competitors on EDW and CRM analytics -- Oracle, IBM, and SAP -- will respond. You best believe they're all evaluating further acquisitions in "No SQL," social network analytics, and graph analysis.

James Kobielus is a senior analyst at Forrester Research. Write him at jkobielus@forrester.com.

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