March 4, 2011

Teradata, Aster Data, and Teradata/Aster

Teradata is acquiring Aster Data. Naturally, the deal is being presented with a Treaty of Tordesillas kind of positioning — Teradata does X, Aster Data does Y, and everybody looks forward to having X and Y in the same product portfolio. That said, my initial positioning and product strategy thoughts on the Teradata/Aster combination go something like this. 

*At one point I noticed Teradata reposition the classical EDW as the place for “trusted” analytic data. That’s actually a pretty good way of putting it, sweetening (and watering down) the stifling-EDW-bureaucracy lemons, so as to make them into an appealing lemonade.

**At least one analyst firm has gotten all excited about that, and is positioning Aster pretty much as a social media play. One might call that a case of not seeing the Forrest for the trees — but from a graph-theoretic standpoint, that would be wrong …

Let me say some more about ensuring that the Teradata and Aster product lines run the same SQL. It would probably be a Small Matter of Programming to give Aster nCluster the Teradata temporal SQL extensions; to make Teradata run SQL/MapReduce, for some subset of the programming languages that Aster nCluster supports; and generally to make it so that most new things you’d want to develop on one platform would also run on the other. And since Teradata and Aster seem to be SAS’s two favorite DBMS partners — Teradata for market share and Aster for technology — SAS-support compatibility seems like a reasonable goal as well.

Benefits of such compatibility would include:

Performance might be very different between the two product lines, of course. And certain programming techniques might not carry over easily, such as user-defined functions (UDF), stored procedures, or some non-SQL analytic processes. Still, all focused and differentiated product positioning notwithstanding, it would be a Very Good Idea to converge the Teradata and Aster platform capabilities faster than is normal in similar merger situations.

Finally, perhaps I should also say more about Teradata’s and Aster’s relative weakness in generic fast-analytic-query use cases.

And yes, the rumors about Aster’s customer comScore not getting into production seem to be true, even though comScore talked at the same Aster-sponsored event I did in May, 2010.


9 Responses to “Teradata, Aster Data, and Teradata/Aster”

  1. Joe on March 4th, 2011 10:57 am

    You got it wrong in the previous post and this one, even though you originally linked to the right Wikipedia article: it’s Tordesillas.

  2. Curt Monash on March 4th, 2011 7:04 pm

    Thanks. Fixing!

    Now I just have to dig out that broken analyst quadrant link Donald Farmer messaged me about weeks ago & fix that too. 🙂

  3. Danny on March 9th, 2011 12:52 am

    Any word on the price?

  4. Curt Monash on March 9th, 2011 11:48 am

    It’s in the press release, but you have to do a couple of lines of arithmetic to net it out.

  5. Alex on March 12th, 2011 1:56 am

    I heard the actual acquisition price was $325 million. I don’t understand why they are down playing it so much in the press release.

  6. Curt Monash on March 12th, 2011 2:19 am

    I’d trust a public company’s press release about a material transaction over anonymous rumors. If Teradata had a tremendously unprofessional screwup, perhaps they forgot to mention the effect of stock options or whatever. But I think they’d have been more careful than that.

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