Once Netezza hit the market, Teradata had a classic “disruptive” price problem – it offered a high end product, at a high price, sporting lots of features that not all customers needed or were willing to pay for. Teradata has at times slashed prices in competitive situations, but there are obvious risks to that, especially when a customer already has a number of other Teradata systems for which it paid closer to full price.
This year, Teradata has introduced a range of products that flesh out its competitive lineup. There now are three mainstream Teradata offerings, plus two with more specialized applicability. Teradata no longer has to sell Cadillacs to customers on Corolla budgets.
But how do we tell the five Teradata product lines apart? The names are confusing, both in their hardware-vendor product numbers and their data-warehousing-dogma product names, especially since in real life Teradata products’ capabilities overlap. Indeed, Teradata executives freely admit that the Teradata Data Mart Appliance 551 can run smaller data warehouses, while the Teradata Data Warehouse Appliance 2550 is positioned in large part at what Teradata quite reasonably calls data marts.
When one looks past the difficulties of naming, Teradata’s product lineup begins to make more sense. Let’s start by considering the three main Teradata products.
- Teradata’s complete-system, MPP (Massively Parallel Processing) products have four-digit numbers – Teradata 1550, Teradata 2550, Teradata 5550. Among these:
- The Teradata Extreme Data Appliance 1550 has the largest, cheapest disks, and hence the lowest price per terabyte.
- The Teradata Data Warehouse Appliance 2550 is in the middle, in terms of disk size and price per terabyte.
- The Teradata Active Enterprise Data Warehouse 5550 has the smallest disks and highest price per terabyte of the three.
- More generally, the Teradata 5550 is the classic Teradata high-end system. Unlike other Teradata hardware/software products, the Teradata Active Enterprise Data Warehouse 5550 is not called an “appliance,” because its storage can be configured in a broad variety of ways.
- All of the Teradata 1550, Teradata 2550, and Teradata 5550 use identical processors on their nodes (two sockets of Intel quad-core, and 32 GB of RAM). While I didn’t ask, I’m guessing these might be based on Dell 2950s, because Teradata mentioned that you can add into a rack Dell 2950s that don’t manage a share of the database, e.g. to do data transformation or data mining.
- The Teradata 1550 and Teradata 5550 rely on Teradata’s usual proprietary Bynet interconnect. But the Teradata 2550 uses Bynet software over standard Gigabit Ethernet.
- Not coincidentally, the Teradata 1550 and Teradata 5550 scale, at least in theory to 1024 nodes, while the Teradata 2550 scales to 44 nodes. (Presumably, that limit is related to the fact that the Teradata 2550 uses Dell 48-node switches.)
- The Teradata Active Enterprise Data Warehouse 5550 comes with Teradata’s flagship workload management product TASM (Teradata Active System Management). If I understood correctly, TASM can’t be had with the Teradata 1550 or Teradata 2550.
- The Teradata Data Warehouse Appliance 2550 comes with LSI Logic disks and special firmware that prefetches a couple of megabytes of memory into cache whenever a block is accessed. This increases performance on table scans, at the cost of performance on more operational BI kinds of uses (the latter because cache is getting flushed more often).
- The Teradata Extreme Data Appliance 1550 and Teradata Data Warehouse Appliance 2550 do have fixed configurations (storage and operating system alike).
- The three products have very different price points:
- The Teradata Active Enterprise Data Warehouse 5550 is priced around $200,000 per terabyte of user data. That’s high end.
- The Teradata Data Warehouse Appliance 2550 is list-priced around $99,000 per terabyte of user data, but Teradata signals that street price is comparable to Netezza at $55-60K. In addition, you can get a Teradata 2550 and pay for only the amount of data you store, while getting additional performance from the rest of the capacity. Teradata believes this is responsive to Netezza’s pricing tactics.
- The Teradata Extreme Data Appliance 1550 is list-priced around $16,500 per terabyte of user data. That’s very competitive at the low end, probably even lower than Greenplum’s double-secret mystery pricing.
- So far, I’ve only uncovered one pricing “gotcha” on the appliances. Real-time updating (streaming or otherwise, as opposed to bulk/batch load and export) is a chargeable option on the Teradata 1550 and 2550. I hope Teradata reverses that choice soon.
Less central but still not trivial are Teradata’s non-MPP products. These are meant primarily for test and development, with deployment on Teradata 5550s or other four-digit-number Teradata products, and include:
- The single-SMP-node (Symmetric MultiProcessing) Teradata Data Mart Appliance 551.
- The Teradata Software-Only Edition, which you can install on an Intel-based SMP box of your choice.
Notwithstanding their main purpose, these systems are sometimes used in production. One way or the other, if I understood correctly, over 100 550-series systems have been sold in the past year.
Teradata has a nice four-page brochure with much of this information, including some clear and colorful tables, but I haven’t been able to find a URL for same. Perhaps some helpful Teradata person will kindly post a link. What I did find on Teradata’s arcanely organized website isn’t nearly as good. Edit: See the first comment below for a link!