Because they have established a reputation as top-of-the-line events, we don't ask for improvements in golf's Masters tournament or for changes to the Kentucky Derby or Indianapolis 500. These events have raised the bar in their respective areas. In the computer arena, Microsoft has been the leader for operating systems and NCR's Teradata database has been the software of choice for data warehousing. And, now you should not be surprised to see Teradata coming to a Windows NT server in your organization.

Data warehouses are being successfully implemented by a growing number of businesses. And, those companies are finding that their database is growing six to seven times in size every 18 months.

Data is business value and business value is money. This is one of the key reasons for the exploding growth of data warehousing, as it has become easier to afford and produces more savings every year. Customers will now be able to choose Teradata in either a UNIX or Windows NT operating system environment, and this will bring Teradata-based data warehousing to more organizations of all sizes than ever before.

The combination of Teradata and Windows NT provides scalability, portability and low total cost of ownership. The ability to have many concurrent users asking complex ad hoc queries with Teradata can now become a reality for organizations that previously were not able to take advantage of this technology.

Teradata for Windows NT in an SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) environment became generally available in October 1998 and will move to an MPP environment in 1999. This will allow companies who have selected Microsoft as their strategic operating system partner to gain the benefits of Teradata. Smaller companies will be able to benefit from the Teradata database and the larger companies can be introduced to Windows NT on an MPP scale.

For those Windows NT shops that are not familiar with Teradata, let us focus on several key points. The Teradata database uses parallelism to load data, process data and back up data. Teradata hit the market in 1984 and through continual improvements is now processing databases from as small as 10 gigabytes to those more than 24 terabytes in size.

Easy system administration is one of the key features that makes Teradata the data warehousing database of choice. It is also one of the key differentiators separating Windows NT from UNIX.

Some large data warehouses need 10 or more system administrators to run them. In a Teradata warehouse, only one or two DBAs are needed because Teradata was designed to let the software manage the system. As a Teradata-based warehouse grows in volume and complexity, the system administrators' responsibilities do not. Windows NT will make system administration even more appealing. In fact, Teradata for Windows NT uses InstallShield with a configuration wizard that makes NT installation easy and quick.

In my travels around the country, many IS professionals have asked if this is the same Teradata. The answer is simple: Teradata is Teradata! Whether on Windows NT or UNIX, users will still have available the same multi-user and complex, ad hoc query capabilities. And, administrators will find the same the same ease of administration with all the self-managing features they have come to expect.

All client utilities and tools that worked with UNIX now work with Windows NT. The bottom line is that many more new users will be able to reap the benefits of Teradata for their critical decision support systems.

There is an additional benefit with Teradata for Windows NT--it is being ported to non-NCR hardware platforms. Other Intel-based platforms being able to run both Windows NT and Teradata underscores how NCR has addressed the issue of open systems. Hardware is no longer a major factor when deciding on a data warehouse path. Being able to combine the correct hardware, operating system, database and modeling schema(s) will make data warehousing more open and versatile.

Many Windows NT shops will be interested in the possibilities for data modeling. Teradata allows use of either third normal form, star schemas, denormalization or a combination. The user can also set up dependent or independent data marts (but consider the consequences of multiple independent data marts before going down this path).

Imagine using Teradata and Windows NT for your central data warehouse. Individual departments can place virtual data marts on the central data warehouse using any schema or a combination of modeling schemas. Some departments might want to maintain their own data marts, and they could propagate data to a departmental server. There are so many options.

Ten years ago people wondered if the PC would make it in the glass house world. And, 10 years ago people also wondered if data warehousing would ever reach the smaller companies. Teradata for Windows NT is evidence that both scenarios have become a reality. As Windows NT has become the operating system of choice, Teradata continues to be the database of choice for decision support systems. Together, the two will set new performance standards in data warehousing on NT.

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