Teradata Partners Conference: All data in all channels at all times

The theme of the 2012 Teradata Partners Conference is unification. For enterprises, this means managing Big Data—which is, according Teradata President and CEO Mike Koehler, combining “all data in all channels: past, present, and future.” To that end, Teradata Labs president Scott Gnau announced during the conference keynote the release of the Unified Data Environment, a combination of new hardware and new software from Teradata’s native technologies, assets from its 2011 acquisition, Teradata Aster, and third-party data warehousing framework Apache Hadoop.

The ultimate goal of the solution, according to Gnau, is to help “make a multi-system environment work effortlessly.” In other words, the solution is designed to relieve the burden of data silos among various Teradata systems, in which enterprises have multiple branches collecting information for different purposes, much of it stored in inconsistent formats. This makes that data difficult to consolidate and draw any truly meaningful conclusions about customers or the effectiveness of various marketing strategies.

Koehler cited an issue enterprises often face when managing large, unstructured data sets: Certain solutions handle some enterprise requirements admirably, but fall short in other areas. For instance, Hadoop can easily capture, store, and refine large data sets. “But analytics with Hadoop is very, very hard to do,” Koehler said. “It requires expensive and scarce resources.”

And analytics, Koehler said, is an area where most companies don’t have their houses in order, unaware of how to catalog certain data sets and how those data sets can be used for business. “It’s scattered everywhere and information takes more time to find, and it’s often useless,” Koehler said. A data strategy, he insisted, needs to have a single view of the business within a “shared self-service environment”—meaning IT can easily monitor data flowing in from different enterprise departments.

Ultimately, Teradata’s Unified Data Environment structure contains technologies meant to speed connections between Teradata architecture and Hadoop, as well as an infrastructure that monitors the overall solution stack and that can notify the right personnel if there are any potential risks or faults.

It is imperative that businesses manage the flood of incoming data—from areas as diverse as set-top boxes, mobile devices, and geolocation, said Teradata CMO Darryl McDonald. “Success in the future requires mastering all the data,” he said. “All the data today is not all the data tomorrow. Data just keeps coming.”

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