A stand-up comic once said to a heckler, "Look buddy, you got a seat; I got a microphone--There's a reason!" Although data warehousing is a world away from stand-up comedy, both have to adapt to change, expect the unexpected and use knowledge gained from experience to help ensure success. The job of comedians is to make people laugh; data warehouses are designed to make businesses money. While many database vendors have struggled just to bring a large data warehouse up and running at a single production site, there has been an average of one Teradata data warehouse per week put into production for the past 13 years. And, NCR's Teradata has become the database of choice in more than 50 percent of the large data warehouses in production worldwide.

As that comedian said, "There's a reason!" In fact, there are three reasons for this: performance, scalability and ease of setup and support.

Performance: Check out the TPC-D numbers for the leading industry vendors. You'll find that NCR and the Teradata database clearly outdistance the competition. Current TPC-D results can be found on the World Wide Web at: http://www.tpc.org.

Parallelism is one reason that Teradata outperforms other competitive offerings. Teradata offers the only automatic, fully integrated parallel load, processing and archive routines in the business. Optimum performance is critical, particularly when handling complex queries involving large amounts of data. Teradata's advanced optimizer allows it to handle this environment without database or query tuning. And, an optimally performing database also allows for flexible data modeling designs.

Many successful Teradata databases use 3rd normal form for their central data warehouse. Third normal form provides a great base structure for your company's warehouse and allows you to model the database around your business. Most databases don't use 3rd normal form because they don't have the level of performance necessary for sophisticated joins and complex queries. With Teradata, you can use either 3rd normal form, star schemas, denormalization or a combination. You can model according to your business needs, not technology constraints.

Scalability: It has been said that if the data warehouse won't scale, it will fail. Data warehouses have a strong tendency to grow. So, it stands to reason that when corporations can save $5 million on one query or average $10,000 per complex query, the warehouse will become quite popular. On average, data warehouses double in size each year; this makes scalability a critical factor.

Teradata allows a company to start small and scale linearly to any size data warehouse. It is this scalability that allows organizations with a Teradata-based warehouse to query large volumes of detail data.

The best data warehouses in the world are designed around detail data. Detail data is the critical tool for finding those big ROI (return on investment) dollars. Eighty percent of queries can be satisfied with summarized data, but 80 percent of the ROI comes from the 20 percent of the queries on detail data. Most database vendors do not advocate detail data because they can't handle the volume. However, NCR's Teradata was designed for detail data.

Ease in setup and support: Some large data warehouses need as many as 10 or more system administrators to run them. A Teradata-based data warehouse only requires one or two, because with Teradata the database manages the system. Teradata doesn't require reorgs, automatically places data evenly across nodes and processors, and utilizes fast parallel processing utilities to load and backup data.

As a warehouse grows in volume and complexity, the system administrator's responsibilities do not. This ease in setup and support also makes it easy to create data marts and perform maintenance. Teradata's largest site, a 24TB warehouse, has 6,000 users, many of whom can ask any question at any time, no matter the complexity. This system receives data from 3,500 source feeds daily, while queries are running. And, the support staff consists of fewer than two full-time DBAs.

While detail data has many uses, creating data marts for departmental or summarized data requests can enhance warehouse performance. It is important to provide both detail and summarized data, but maintenance and support can become a nightmare. Teradata makes the process easy by extracting data marts from the central data warehouse detail data or from the load utilities.

Utilizing data marts can help balance data warehouse resources. Many companies will have thousands of users for the data marts, but about 50 power users accessing detail data. This provides the best of both worlds.

With the Teradata database, you can have optimum performance and scalability, as well as easy setup and support. This allows for flexibility in the data warehouse. You have the ability to choose whatever combinations are best for your business--whether it is a central data warehouse or data mart, summary or detail data, 3rd normal form or star schema modeling.

This flexibility is why Teradata is the database of choice for data warehouses around the globe. Make the smart choice for your data warehouse, and you'll have the last laugh.

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