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Teradata Taps the Cloud, Announces Solid-State Appliance

Data warehousing specialist promises cloud flexibility (with limits), and (oh by the way) solid-state hard drive speed.

SSD Appliance Set for 2010

Teradata is not the only vendor working on SSD-based data warehousing hardware. Teradata and IBM last year publically demonstrated early SSD test units. But with today's announcement of the Extreme Performance Server 4555, Teradata becomes the first company to announce an actual product. Beta units are said to be available immediately with final release set for the first half of 2010. Pricing has yet to be determined based on SSD pricing at next year's release date.

The 4555 answers the recently announced Sun Oracle Exadata 2, which Oracle claims is the fastest data warehousing machine now available. In contrast to Teradata's SSD-based design, Oracle is using a flash-memory-intensive approach through the new Sun Storage F5100 Flash Array server. Teradata executives said the 4555 will be faster for data warehousing because SSDs let you write and well as read data, thereby delivering more consistent performance for data warehousing.

"If you read Oracle's literature, they see the biggest benefit of the flash memory being in OLTP performance, not in data warehousing," said Lea. "It doesn't really help to speed up Exadata storage because the RAC [database] environment can't handle it. Cache hits can speed up some of that processing, but you still have to go to the RAC infrastructure to handle concurrency and all the other database work."

Considering the milestone reached with the 4555, this morning's announcement seemed low key, with only a passing mention by Teradata President and CEO Mike Koehler -- a sharp contrast to the bravado and bold claims Oracle served up with its Exadata 2 release. Perhaps they took a understated approach because the Partners event is a user conference or because the 4555 is technically a beta release. Or perhaps it's because, as an appliance, the 4555 doesn't quite square with Teradata's longstanding advocacy of enterprise data warehouse deployments. Indeed, executives signaled that SSDs will eventually coexist with high- and low-data-density spinning disks within Teradata's top-of-the-line Active Data Warehouse. That could happen as soon as late 2010 or early 2011, Lea said, and it would create a data warehousing machine capable of ultra-high data scalability and ultra-high performance all on the same EDW platform.

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