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We are planning to implement a data warehouse. What are the advantages/ disadvantages of using Oracle database over Teradata?

  • Sid Adelman, Larissa Moss, Chuck Kelley, Les Barbusinski
  • March 13 2003, 1:00am EST




We are planning to implement a data warehouse. What are the advantages/ disadvantages of using Oracle database over Teradata?


Sid Adelman's Answer: Oracle has certain advantages over Teradata. They are:

  1. Oracle is better known and management often feels more comfortable with a better-known vendor and product.
  2. There are more Oracle DBAs in the job market than there are Teradata DBAs.
  3. There are more books written on supporting Oracle than are written on Teradata.
  4. Vendors of data warehouse products will almost always write their products to support Oracle first. In addition, there is usually more experience with these products with Oracle than there is with Teradata.
  5. Oracle is less hardware proprietary than Teradata.
  6. Oracle has a pretty complete suite of products for data warehouse.
  7. A company using Oracle's ERP products almost always use Oracle.s RDBMS for their data warehouse.

Teradata has certain advantages over Oracle. They are:

  1. Teradata has the ability to scale. Oracle has trouble with very large databases.
  2. Teradata outperforms Oracle on response time, number of users, complex queries, and ETL performance.
  3. Teradata requires fewer DBAs.
  4. Teradata has a lower total cost of ownership.
  5. Teradata has a good relationship with its customers.

The choice of a database for data warehouse is very important. Be sure to check references very carefully. This is by far the most productive way of discovering the true capabilities of the products. You should request and receive a list of client references from the vendors. In addition to those on the list, try to speak with organizations not given to you by the vendor. You do not have to visit the reference sites. Onsite visits cost too much, take too much time and may eliminate references that do not want to host you. Client references do not have to be local, they also do not need to be in your industry - companies in your industry may be reluctant to talk with you for fear of losing their competitive advantage. On the other hand, references in your industry carry great credibility with your management.
If a client reference tells you there were no problems with the installation and everything went perfectly, you know you are talking with the marketing representative's brother-in-law; all products have problems. The question is the severity of the problem, whether the type of problem is relevant to you, how well the vendor responded, and how quickly and easily the problem was fixed. You also want to ask the client reference if the problem delayed their implementation and by how long.

Les Barbusinski's Answer: Every shop should perform its own evaluation of strategic tools like RDBMS packages. What's right for one shop may be all wrong for another. That said, here are some areas you may want to look at:

  • New Teradata implementations tend to be more expensive than Oracle. Furthemore, Teradata implementations are pretty much always installed on an NCR server platform&which limits choice and increases start-up costs.
  • Teradata skills (DBA, application development, etc.) are much more rare in the marketplace than are Oracle skills. Also, Teradata's implementation of SQL is much more limited than Oracle's.
  • Teradata (as its name implies) is specifically designed for handling huge, multiterabyte databases. Its scalability, reliability and speed are hard to beat. If yours is the next WalMart-sized enterprise data warehouse, you need to consider Teradata. Conversely, Teradata is overkill for small data warehouses and is not well suited to distributed data warehouse applications (a la federated data marts). Oracle, on the other hand, can span small, medium and large data warehouse applications and excels at distributed DW applications. However, when the size of an Oracle database creeps into the 5+ terabyte range, management becomes an issue.
  • Almost every vendor of business intelligence, ETL, data mining, middleware and CRM software supports Oracle databases. However, you may find that some of the tools you want to use don't support Teradata.

Hope this helps.
Chuck Kelley's Answer: Both products can do well in a data warehouse implementation. You need to determine what features that you need in a database engine and then look at both products to see if they provide a solution to your problems. For example, if your data warehouse is 1 gigabyte, will have five users and you are an Oracle shop, then why not use Oracle? It will be fine. It doesn't mean the Teradata won.t work, but why bring in another database engine for something that small?

The most important thing is that the database engine solves your needs. But first, you need to understand your needs. Then the database can be chosen.

Larissa Moss' Answer: That depends on your data warehouse strategy. If you want to follow Bill Inmon's Corporate Information Factory model that includes an enterprise data warehouse (based on the entity-relationship model), which is extensively used for detailed ad hoc reporting as well as to feed customized multidimensional data mart reporting databases, your best bet is Teradata. Since its beginnings, Teradata has dedicated its DBMS software to support the relational model and has excelled in designing and tuning its database engine and optimizer to support complicated processes, including optimization of large multi-table joins against huge volumes of data. In addition, Teradata has developed a suite of data warehouse functionality (software) that can be used with its own as well as with other DBMSs.

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