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Gartner Magic Quadrant names Teradata the top data warehouse vendor

Mark Brunelli, News Director

Dayton, Ohio-based Teradata Corp. is the overall leader among data warehouse infrastructure vendors, followed by Oracle Corp., IBM and EMC-Greenplum, according to a new report from Stamford, Conn.-based IT research firm Gartner Inc.

Gartner also found that several trends in the world of data management are serving to shape the data warehousing hardware and software portfolios. They include the so called “big data” explosion, the growing interest in logical data warehouse architectures and the increased popularity of data virtualization tools, according to Mark Beyer, a research vice president at Gartner and an author of the report.

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“Big data is actually pushing the data warehouse into becoming more of a distributed data processing platform, as opposed to a repository,” Beyer said. “This is a big deal.”

The new Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Warehouse Database Management Systems ranks data warehousing infrastructure vendors as leaders, challengers, niche players or visionaries based on several criteria including “completeness of vision,” “overall viability” and “ability to execute.”

In addition to Teradata, Oracle and IBM, Gartner listed EMC-Greenplum, SAP-Sybase and Microsoft as leaders in this year’s report. The lone challenger is 1010data. The niche players are ParAccel, Kognitio, SAND Technology, Infobright, Actian and Exasol. The lone visionary is Vertica Systems Inc., which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard Co. last May.

Read about more Gartner Magic Quadrant reports

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“[Vertica] offers a fully integrated column-store analytic DBMS with a number of additional capabilities for high performance and high availability ,” the report reads. “Vertica has more than 500 direct and [original equipment manufacturer] customers. HP also offers an appliance version.”

A closer look at the data warehouse 'leaders'
Teradata’s product portfolio got a considerable boost last year when the data warehouse appliance vendor purchased analytics software maker Aster Data Systems Inc. for $263 million. Aster Data gave Teradata new capabilities, including support for MapReduce, unstructured data and graph analysis, according to Gartner.

Teradata has also expanded the capabilities of its core DBMS technology by adding bi-temporal columnar support and advanced data compression options.

“Clients have outlined the overall cost of the Teradata platform as a negative point,” the report reads.

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Oracle offers several data warehousing choices that give customers the option to build a custom data warehouse, use a certified configuration or purchase a preconfigured Oracle Exadata data warehouse appliance, according to Gartner.

Oracle currently offers three Exadata products. According to Gartner, they include the Oracle Exadata X2-2 for data warehousing and mixed workloads, the Oracle Exadata X2-8 for cloud solutions and Oracle Exadata Storage Expansion Rack X2-2 for additional storage capacity.

IBM offers standalone DBMS solutions as well as data warehouse appliances, including the IBM Smart Analytics System family and the Netezza brand, according to Gartner. InfoSphere Warehouse—IBM’s data warehouse software—is available on Unix, Linux, Windows and z/OS.

“IBM customers report (via inquiry and reference survey results) a scattering of intermittent and irregular issues with product performance or their implementation experience,” Beyer wrote in the report. “Some of these are possibly attributed to the implementation process and not the products. However, these same customers report that IBM support addresses these issues with efficiency.”

EMC’s Greenplum offering includes a massively parallel processing data warehouse DBMS that runs on Linux and Unix. It is sold as a standalone DBMS or as part of a data warehouse appliance. EMC-Greenplum boasts more than 400 users worldwide.

“As Greenplum leverages EMC more, it will find itself competing at a higher level with the mature, incumbent vendors,” the report reads. “The major vendors (such as IBM, Oracle, SAP and Teradata), have a much larger customer base allowing them, as the incumbent, a stronger position.”

While SAP and its Sybase subsidiary offer several database products, Gartner’s analysis focused primarily on Sybase IQ—the first column-store DBMS to hit the market and SAP-Sybase’s main data warehouse DBMS.

Sybase recently has added new capabilities in the latest releases of Sybase IQ, including support for big data analysis, faster loading capabilities and query parallelism across multiple processors. Sybase has also added integrated text search and analysis and in-database data mining.

“A limitation with Sybase IQ is the lack of a Sybase IQ appliance,” Gartner writes. “Sybase has tinkered in this space with agreements for appliances with third-party ISVs, but it has seen little traction with this model.”

SAP also offers the SAP HANA data warehouse appliance, which boasts an in-memory column-store DBMS for creating analytics data marts.

Microsoft’s data warehousing options include Microsoft SQL Server 2008 DBMS Business Data Warehouse and Fast Track Data Warehouse. The company has also released its own data warehouse appliance—the SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse—in late 2010, according to Gartner. 

“Several customers report issues such as not scaling well across a grid of servers, performance issues with complex queries, manual rebuilds of database indexes, a need for multi-server staging environments and more,” Gartner writes. “Nevertheless, the strength of performance/price remains to balance these issues.”


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