November 22, 2008

The Teradata Accelerate program

An article in Intelligent Enterprise clued me in that Teradata has announced the Teradata Accelerate program. A little poking around revealed a press release in which — lo and behold — I am quoted,* to wit:

“The Teradata Accelerate program is a great idea. There’s no safer choice than Teradata technology plus Teradata consulting, bundled in a fixed-cost offering,” said Curt Monash, president of Monash Research. “The Teradata Purpose Built Platform Family members are optimized for a broad range of business intelligence and analytic uses.”

*I actually wrote that quote myself — except of course for the product-name mouthful — which seems worth saying only because so few other people follow the same practice. (This quote for Greenplum is the only one in a while that I didn’t write. Even so, I have my excuses for letting that one through, and it pretty much reflects my views anyway.)

That press release in turn leads to the Teradata Accelerate home page, which mentions what seem to be 12-14+ different versions of the program. (There are 9 bullet points with different named versions, and some of those points have sub-options.) I really only ever was briefed on four versions of Teradata Accelerate, and then not on the utterly final configurations, but I’m not sure the details matter that much. What’s important is the overall idea.

Teradata Accelerate starts with Teradata products and fixed commitments of Teradata professional services, bundled together at a moderate discount from list price. Some versions include third-party software as well. The plan is that this will be enough to meet the need driving the appliance purchase, for under $1 million, with low risk of project failure.

Indeed, the core Teradata Accelerate marketing messages cluster in two areas:

Of the two, I find the “low risk” part particularly interesting. If you want to do a project just like dozens or hundreds of similar projects done by other enterprises, why not just go with Teradata and Teradata’s professional services arm? After all — individually and collectively, they’ve been doing it forever, or so close to forever as to make little difference. Maybe you can save a couple hundred thousand dollars by going with some other choice, but if your project fits into one of the many Teradata Accelerate scenarios, going with Teradata isn’t going to break the bank.

Indeed, Teradata’s main theme for the year has been “We’re not prohibitively expensive!”, starting with the new appliance offerings in April and accelerating with further new offerings announced in October. And the Teradata Extreme Data Appliance 1550’s pricing raised a few eyebrows; not a lot of other offerings list under $20K/terabyte of user data, hardware and software together.

Even on the price side, Teradata Accelerate is pretty interesting. Data warehouse implementation professional services are usually priced on a day-rate rather than fixed-cost basis. Teradata now has put at least semi-firm numbers around a number of different kinds of projects. They’re worth a look, no matter what kind of analytic project you’re looking at doing on what kind of platform.

Teradata Accelerate isn’t for everyone. It’s really only fixed-price if you have simple needs and well under ten terabytes of data. If you’re trying to do something that’s rarely been done before, no vendor — even Teradata — deserves an “obviously a safe choice” label. If data integration is the toughest professional services task — and it often is — then there are a lot of technologically deep alternative providers, and you may not fit so neatly into one of the Teradata Accelerate buckets anyway.

But all that said, Teradata Accelerate is a welcome addition to the data warehouse landscape.


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