Q:  

My company has finished the first phase of a data warehouse, with total size of about 100GB. The company then estimated that the warehouse would grow to about 3.75 terabytes of data, with the largest table being 100 million rows. After some research, the company identified the following RDBMS candidates for the task: NCR Teradata, Oracle 8i, IBM DB2. Can you make a recommendation or eliminate any candidates? The most important criteria include: performance and scalability, cost per transaction, total cost of ownership and ease of integration with other applications and data warehouse tools.

A:  

Douglas Hackney's Answer: All will do the job.
NCR Upsides: very scalable, big reference accounts, good performance
NCR Downsides: pretty small niche player - not a long-term factor in the general market, lack of available talent, very wed to the top-down/hub- and- spoke/normalized DW model, less tool support than your other choices, less development resources

Oracle Upsides: lots of available talent, every tool works with it, everybody builds to Oracle first and then ports to other platforms, market share leader, definitely a long-term player - not going away
Oracle Downsides: major cultural challenges related to customer service and support, costly, probably most at risk to rise of SQL server in the mid- market

DB2/UDB Upsides: strong legacy knowledge in many firms, rising force in the market, strong performer, definitely a long term player - not going away
DB2/UDB Downsides: not as much available talent for non-MVS versions as Oracle, not as much native tool support as Oracle

Sid Adelman's Answer: On your last criteria, "ease of integration with other applications and data warehouse tools," ask the application and tool vendors you are planning to use about the systems that are in production running with each of these RDBMS.

You will probably want to add support as another important criteria.

Total cost of ownership is more relevant than cost per transaction because even if you have a small number of queries, you still have to support the costly infrastructure of the data warehouse.

Both NCR and IBM can provide references for a number of installations with multiple terabyte data warehouses. When you talk with those references, be sure to ask the right questions. You want to know much more than just the number of terabytes they have on the floor.

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