Joining the Pack, SAS and Teradata Offer In-Memory Analytics Appliance

by   |   April 28, 2012 9:12 am   |   0 Comments

Data warehousing and management vendor Teradata and business intelligence player SAS have rolled out a joint product squarely aimed at customers seeking real-time data analytics in a box. It is the latest announcement by established technology companies with large installed bases working to ensure their customers they can offer in-memory analytics for faster insights into growing datasets.

Called “SAS High-Performance Analytics for Teradata,” the new appliance unveiled April 23 comes pre-loaded to run in-memory SAS High-Performance Analytics software.

While Teradata and SAS have been working together since 2007, the latest release offers customers a new level of integration, according to Tho Nguyen, director of Teradata’s SAS partnership program. “In prior offerings there was not a specific appliance uniquely architected for SAS solutions like the 700 for HPA,” Tho said.

“It maintains all the qualities and features of the Teradata appliance family, including integration with the Teradata Analytical Ecosystem for synchronization with other systems within the current infrastructure,” Scott Gnau, president of Teradata Labs, said in a statement accompanying the product announcement at SAS Global Forum in Orlando.

More than 400 global customers have signed up for the various data analytics packages offered jointly by the two companies, according to SAS. Scott Van Valkenburgh, SAS senior director of alliances, said the Teradata 700 is particularly designed to help these existing customers “get up and running quickly … so by the time the box lands at the customer site, they just turn it on. It’s faster time to insights.”

Van Valkenburgh said the goals of the SAS-Teradata joint offerings have evolved. “In the beginning, our partnership focus was on data preparation – getting data ready and easily accessible for building out predictive models,” he said. “Now, SAS High-Performance Analytics is the last link in the chain for analytically mature companies.”

The Teradata 700 isn’t the first appliance with in-memory analytics to hit the market – SAP’s HANA (High-Performance Analytic Appliance) launched in December 2010, and Oracle introduced its Exalytics appliance last October.

Charles King, principal analyst for technology research company Pund-IT, said the strengths of Teradata (data warehousing) and SAS (business intelligence) could make their in-memory analytics appliance a “potentially interesting and powerful partner model.”

“Ideally, the companies will find ways to build “1 + 1 = 3” synergies that will benefit both themselves and their mutual customers,” King said.

The Teradata 700 appliance carries a “one-million-dollar-plus” price tag, Tho said, adding that it will provide a “reasonable return on that investment in the mega million-dollar range.”

Despite the number of real-time analytics products and services already competing to satisfy the data-crunching needs of modern enterprises, Paul Kent, SAS vice president of big data, said “the in-memory analytics market is in its early stages, with different ideas and approaches on how to access, process and predict on data.”

Kent added: “On the five-year horizon, the big data promise is that people will be able to store and co-mingle all their data at much finer granularity than they do today. Technologies like Hadoop and cloud computing will complete the ‘democratization of data’ and allow more people to ask questions and get answers in ways they’ve never been able to do before.”

Pund-IT’s King said the “in-memory analytics market sits at a notable inflection point where organizations’ need to gain more tangible value from ever-increasing volumes of data are being addressed by new innovations in BI and data warehousing, as well as price/performance trends in memory computing.”

“The next stage,” he said, “seems to be based on just where processing tools will optimally reside relative to the data being parsed and whether standalone appliances will be superseded by options such as network-based technologies.”

Chris Nerney, a freelance writer and musician, lives with his family in upstate New York. Reach him at cnerney@nerney.net. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.

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