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Teradata and Oracle Partner for Enterprise Analytics

by Wayne EckersonThursday, March 20, 2008

Article written by Stephen Swoyer

Ever since Teradata Corp. spun off from parent company NCR Corp. late last year, it's been a gregarious partner. In fact, post-NCR, Teradata seems to have become even more ambitious on the partnership front.

At last month's TDWI Winter World conference in Las Vegas, for example, Teradata and SAS Institute Inc. touted a new technology partnership and jointly hosted a prominent conference event (see http://www.tdwi.org/News/display.aspx?ID=8813).

Just last week, Teradata signed an agreement -- an "expanded worldwide relationship" -- with Oracle Corp. to promote enterprise-wide analytics. Both companies promise to improve integration and interoperability between Teradata's DW stack and Oracle's BI and operational stack to improve customer insight into a wealth of detail data.

Industry watchers say it makes for a compelling pitch. "Teradata's expanded partnership with Oracle … will facilitate the ability of users to integrate Oracle's business intelligence software and solutions with Teradata's data warehouse technology," says Mike Schiff, a principal with BI consultancy MAS Strategies and a contributing analyst for data management with Current Analysis.

First, some background: Teradata officially expanded its channel relationship to include Oracle's Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition Plus and Business Intelligence Analytic Applications. This is in addition to Teradata's current channel support for Oracle Data Integrator and Oracle Essbase (nee Hyperion). The upshot (for joint or prospective customers) is that the two partners can now tout optimized versions of Oracle's BI products running on Teradata.

It used to be that when you asked Teradata about which vendors it competes with in the high-end data warehousing market, the company named Oracle and IBM Corp. -- and not data warehouse appliance specialists Netezza Inc. or DATAllegro Corp. -- as its foremost rivals. What's Teradata doing partnering with an arch-competitor?

Schiff, for his part, doesn't see a show-stopping contradiction. "While Oracle and Teradata compete with each other in the high-end data warehouse database market, Oracle's BI technology can certainly be of value in non-Oracle database environments including Teradata's installed base," he points out.

Instead, Schiff says, Teradata's accord with Oracle demonstrates a kind of limberness on the part of the high-end data warehousing powerhouse, which -- lest we forget -- was itself an independent company before NCR acquired it 17 years ago.

"Teradata … has faced increased competition from general purpose database vendors … [that are] suitable for both query-intensive data warehouse environments and transaction-oriented operational systems," he concedes, adding that Teradata also markets analytic applications (including CRM, supply chain management, and performance management) that nominally compete with Oracle, too.

"While Teradata is highlighting its expanded partnership with Oracle, it also competes with Oracle in database technology, analytic applications, and master data management."

What does Teradata get out of the deal, then? Schiff sees a number of positives.

"[D]espite the risk of providing Oracle with an entry point into its installed base, this is a good relationship," he argues. "Teradata, prior to being acquired by Oracle, partnered with the companies that provide much of Oracle's current BI portfolio [namely, Hyperion and Siebel]. [It] will be able to highlight the 'openness' of its data warehouse platform and Oracle will be able to demonstrate that its BI technology is not necessarily dependent on an underlying Oracle database," Schiff continues.

"While the competition between the two companies will certainly remain strong, the expanded partnership between them should provide immediate benefits to both."

Stephen Swoyer is a technology writer based in Athens, Ga. You can contact Stephen via e-mail at stephen.swoyer@spinkle.net.

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