NCR Unveils Teradata for Windows NT

The Teradata data warehousing solution from NCR Corp. (Dayton, Ohio, has long been a powerful, well-known solution but has only been available for NCR’s own Unix operating system. That changed as NCR finally announced that Teradata is available for the Windows NT platform.

Teradata for Windows NT represents the culmination of two years of effort for NCR, as the company originally promised to port its Teradata product on Windows NT in late September 1996.

Randy Lea, vice president of Teradata marketing at NCR, says, "Teradata will help to drive Windows NT’s acceptance as a data warehousing solution, and that with the work that we’re always doing [in improving Teradata] and Microsoft’s efforts with Windows NT 5.0, Teradata on Windows NT will be a viable data warehousing option."

Teradata brings a number of features to the Windows NT marketplace, including the ability to handle complex ad hoc queries and large numbers of concurrent users. According to Lea, the NT release of Teradata brings the query performance capabilities of the Unix version of NCR’s flagship product to the Windows NT world. Lea points out the database workload requirements that are frequently imposed on a decision support system are different from those imposed upon a traditional transaction processing system. One of the design points for Teradata for Windows NT is the ability for end users to pose ad hoc questions, a capability that Lea notes is a necessity in the data warehousing and decision support spheres.

The traditional Teradata architecture consists of a massively parallel processing (MPP) RDBMS that can theoretically run across more than 1,000 nodes and is managed as a homogenous system. The resources of each of the nodes in a Teradata system are allocated in a shared-nothing configuration, with each SMP node maintaining its own individual data store. Each of the nodes in a Teradata cluster are connected by NCR’s high-speed ByNet technology, a redundant, fault-tolerant and high-speed switching interconnect. According to Lea, ByNet can support a sustained throughput of up to 10 MBps and can scale to over 1,000 nodes.

While his company announced initial availability of Teradata for Windows NT, Lea acknowledges that MPP support will probably not be available until sometime next year.

"The port to Windows NT will allow customers to deploy data warehouse and data mart implementations that take advantage of the scalability and manageability features of the Teradata database using the attractive price points available in the Windows NT marketplace," adds Stephen Brobst, managing partner of Strategic Technologies and Systems (Cambridge, Mass.), a firm that specializes in the implementation of data warehouses. "Teradata has always scaled very well to the very high end, and the Windows NT port demonstrates a capability to scale down the implementation as well as to scale it up."