Teradata's fight to avoid being labelled a cloud laggard

Teradata has denied it is a cloud laggard as it faces increased cloud-based data warehousing and big data analytics competition in the enterprise market.


Teradata has denied it is a cloud laggard as it faces increased cloud-based data warehousing and big data analytics competition in the enterprise market.

Teradata launched its cloud-based data warehousing solution, Teradata Cloud, in earnest a year ago, but at the moment it only sells that solution from a US-hosted data centre.

While any company outside the US can theoretically buy into that solution, it acknowledges that it needs data centres outside the US to help further stimulate demand - particularly amongst organisations who want to access their sensitive data from locally-based data centres to meet regulatory requirements, and also reduce the chance of latency problems in accessing their data.

When asked about the current value of Teradata Cloud sales by ComputerworldUK, Teradata chief analytics officer Bill Franks said the firm was not revealing the value at this stage, but acknowledged they were "relatively small" for the $2.69 billion turnover company.

Franks said: "At the moment many of our customers would prefer to run Teradata as an on-premise system and not in the cloud." He said the company could make no commitment yet as to when Teradata Cloud would be available in the UK direct or from any other country direct outside the US.

Teradata maintains that many sales prospects ask about a hosted Teradata solution in the cloud, but at the same time are either in no position to move into the cloud yet or simply don't plan to at the moment.


However, in the big data cloud hosted market, Teradata is facing increasing competition from the likes of Oracle, SAP and Amazon, for instance. The challenge from Amazon was illustrated at Teradata's Partners user conference in Nashville this week, when Netflix revealed it considered Amazon Redshift as a cloud-hosted data warehousing solution over Teradata Cloud.

In the end though, Teradata Cloud won out, after being deemed a more fully featured solution. Netflix chose Teradata Cloud last year after already being in the cloud with Amazon Web Services for various functions, before Amazon Redshift made an appearance. The company is still a committed AWS customer for those other functions.

Vishal Jain, manager for data platforms at Netflix, told delegates in Nashville: "Our Teradata infrastructure was previously not in the cloud and we did not want to invest any more in our data centre to meet company growth, so we wanted to move our warehousing and analytics into the cloud.

"Amazon Redshift integrated well into our ecosystem, but Teradata had a very mature ecosystem of its own which matched ours, so we chose that over Amazon Redshift. We used exactly the same codebase in the cloud, and while there were initially some latency problems, these have now been ironed out."

Such latency problems may have been linked to the fact Netflix is serving an increasingly international business from a US-hosted data warehousing solution.

When asked by ComputerworldUK as to whether Teradata was moving quick enough to build out its Teradata Cloud access network, Jain said: "The cloud sees low margins being achieved through high volumes, so cloud providers have to increase those volumes quickly.

"As I understand it Teradata Cloud is currently only available from the US at the moment, they will have to move quickly to make sure they address the needs of the market."

In response to this, Ed White, general manager for Teradata Cloud, said: "We're in the middle of building out our cloud offering with a global presence, in mind to global compliance needs and regulatory environments. We are still deciding where to locate new data centres in response to demand."

Build and they will come?

One could say "build and they will come", but White emphasised that Teradata Cloud regional expansion was reliant on "real production environments" needing "data replication with loads of up to 150 terabytes".

White said: "We have to make sure the demand is there, you can't go into Europe half-hearted, you have to go fully in." He said Teradata Cloud was not strictly in the same market as Amazon Redshift, as Redshift also relied on business involving smaller piecemeal batch loads.

However, Mark Rousel, head of information delivery at Australia-based Fairfax Media, which is currently an on-premise Teradata user, told ComputerworldUK: "Netflix were absolutely right, Teradata will have to move fast in expanding its cloud offering. Amazon Redshift may not be the ready-made solution to fully compete with Teradata at the moment, but that may well change in the near future."

Rousel added: "We have a CIO who is now looking at a 'cloud first' strategy, which illustrates the position in which Teradata finds itself."

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