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Posted by James Kobielus on March 3, 2011
It was just a matter of time. Aster Data, one of the most innovative startups in the enterprise data warehousing (EDW) arena, is moving rapidly into the ranks of leading vendors in this hotly competitive space. Just this morning, Teradata, one of the longtime EDW powerhouses, announced that it is acquiring San Carlos, California-based Aster Data. This $263 million all-cash deal, expected to close in the second quarter, will bring Aster Data’s well-regarded brand, exceptional team, growing product portfolio, and sophisticated intellectual property (IP) fully into Teradata.
For starters, the acquisition further substantiates several market trends that we called out in the recent Forrester Wave™ on EDW platforms:
In addition, the acquisition will address what has increasingly become a Teradata competitive vulnerability: its ability to only offer customers a single, proprietary (albeit highly scalable and robust) database management system (DBMS) within its EDW portfolio. As we noted in the recent Forrester Wave, EDW customers increasingly require a choice of DBMS so that they can deploy and tune the optimal database architecture to each analytic node, server, or cluster. With Aster nCluster, Teradata is acquiring a DBMS that, like Teradata’s core DBMS, is row-based relational, but which is evolving into a virtualized platform with agile integration of graph database and other “No SQL” architectures.
No, the acquisition of Aster Data will not improve Teradata’s standing in the growing midmarket for EDW solutions. But that’s not as critical as it had been just a year or two ago for Teradata, which has addressed this challenge reasonably well through aggressive price-cutting and its strong go-to-market push on the 2600-series EDW appliances. What the Aster Data acquisition will reinforce is Teradata’s growing stature as a true innovator in the EDW arena, as opposed to a longtime incumbent resting on past laurels. Forrester expects Teradata to inject considerable R&D monies into its newly acquired product group and to bring Aster Data’s development team into close collaboration with Teradata Labs.
For Aster Data, the acquisition is precisely what it needs to strengthen its product portfolio and expand its reach in this hypercompetitive and rapidly evolving marketplace. Just as Netezza has benefited from access to new parent IBM’s global professional services force and partner ecosystem, Aster Data is joining a vendor that has built a formidable consulting force and strategic alliances of its own. Professional services, provided through Teradata’s consulting organization and ecosystem, will be absolutely essential for positioning Aster Data platforms into increasingly complex enterprise applications in CRM, marketing, and advanced analytics.
How will Teradata and Aster Data rationalize their respective solution portfolios? Clearly it’s too early for these companies to comment, but Forrester believes that it’s safe to assume that neither company’s customers or partners need to worry that they’ll be cut off or end-of-lifed. Forrester expects that Teradata will establish a standalone product group around Aster Data, to focus on social-facing customer analytics. We expect that Teradata will waste no time integrating Aster Data’s sales, service, and partner programs into its own global operations. And, once the deal is closed, we also expect the vendors to roll out a joint road map for integrating their respective IP and R&D across all future offerings.
At the very least, we expect Aster Data’s SQL-MR API to become a Teradata-wide standard for access to MapReduce functionality from the vendor’s growing portfolio of customer and marketing analytics tools. It’s also very likely that we will see a more comprehensive Hadoop integration road map from the combined Teradata/Aster Data by this fall’s Teradata Partners conference, if not sooner.
Now we wait to see how Teradata’s nearest competitors on EDW and CRM analytics — Oracle, IBM, and SAP — will respond. You best believe they’re all evaluating further acquisitions in “No SQL,” social network analytics, and graph analysis.