NCR's Teradata Database Meets Windows 2000. A Match Made in Redmond?

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Event Summary

"SAN FRANCISCO - NCR corporation announced it will support Microsoft Windows 2000 across its entire offering of products, including its powerful Teradata database and many retail products. In addition, NCR will present a full suite of consulting and support services to help businesses migrate to the Windows 2000 environment.

With NCR's Teradata database, companies that prefer to employ a Windows 2000-based infrastructure will have the ability to have a fully scalable MPP (Massively Parallel Database) data warehouse. Teradata extends the scalability of Windows 2000 in data warehousing by relying on Teradata's own parallel extensions and architecture rather than just the operating system itself. This combination accommodates large data warehouses, many users and complex query and analysis. With Teradata, organizations on the Windows 2000 platform can make the virtual world part of their real world business without worrying about scalability and bandwidth."

"In order to help businesses take full advantage of their migration to the powerful Windows 2000 environment, NCR will offer a range of Microsoft lifecycle services. While most Microsoft service partners focus on installation and support, NCR offers a full suite of consulting and support services for Windows. NCR's consulting services provide comprehensive planning, design and integration of enterprise-wide Windows solutions.

NCR's RightSTART Assessment for Windows 2000 is a high-impact, low-risk assessment that enables businesses to quickly assess their organization's readiness to deploy Windows 2000. The service identifies potential issues and provides recommendations on how to best remedy them along with an estimate of the total impact of migration."

Market Impact

This development could have major consequences for data warehousing on Windows NT (now known as Windows 2000). Teradata has long been known as a highly scalable and robust database, but has been expensive to deploy due to its requirement to be installed on UNIX operating systems. NCR is referring to the product as "TNT" (Teradata for NT). The UNIX version of the database system is able to scale to multiple terabytes of data, and can support extremely complex queries.

The NT version of the system is said to support MPP (massively parallel processing) and SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) technologies to allow for the huge volumes of data and complex queries which Teradata is renowned for. The method by which NCR accomplished this is by using between two and four systems running Windows NT, each with up to four processors, to share the load caused by the database queries and the database instance itself. The only downside we can see in the current release of Teradata is that the database has no stored procedure language.

Full support for Windows 2000 and stored procedures are expected with the next release in June 2000. The question remains as to whether Teradata and Windows are an appropriate match for industrial strength data warehouses.

User Recommendations

Customers evaluating database alternatives on Windows NT should definitely include NCR Teradata on a short list of candidates. Its robust database architecture, ability to scale to massive amounts of data, and support for MPP and SMP make it a strong candidate for large data warehouses.

However, customers should consider whether Windows NT is sufficiently mature and scalable to support warehouses in the terabyte range. UNIX should also be considered as a viable candidate for an operating system to support the warehouse. Before committing to the NT version of Teradata technology, reference sites should be visited and closely questioned on the performance of the warehouse.

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