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Here, There and Everywhere: Interview with Brian Wood on Teradata's Cloud Strategy

(Image Courtesy of Teradata)
In a post about Teradata’s 2016 Partners event I wrote about the big effort Teradata is making to ensure its software offerings are now available both on-premises and in the Cloud, in variety of forms and shapes, making a big push to ensure Teradata’s availability, especially for hybrid cloud configurations.

So, the data management and analytics software giant seems to be sticking to its promise by increasingly incorporating its flagship Teradata Database other solutions to the Cloud in the form of its own Manage Cloud for Americas and Europe, a private cloud-ready solution or via public cloud providers such as AWS and most recently announced on Microsoft’s Azure Marketplace.

To chat about this latest news and Teradata’s the overall strategy directed to the cloud we’ve sat with Teradata’s Brian Wood.

Brian Wood is director of cloud marketing at Teradata. He is a results-oriented technology marketing executive with 15+ years of digital, lead gen, sales / marketing operations & team leadership success.

Brian has an MS in Engineering Management from Stanford University, a BS in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, and served as an F-14 Radar Intercept Officer in the US Navy.

All along 2016 and especially during its 2016 Partners conference, Teradata made it clear it is undergoing an important transformation process and, a key strategy includes its path to the cloud. Offerings such as Teradata Database on different private and public cloud configurations, including AWS, VMware, Teradata Managed Cloud, and of course Microsoft Azure are available now. Could you share some details about the progress of this strategy so far?

Thanks for asking, Jorge. It’s been a whirlwind because Teradata has advanced tremendously across all aspects of cloud deployment in the past few months; the progress has been rapid and substantial.

To be clear, hybrid cloud is central to Teradata’s strategy and it’s all about giving customers choice. One thing that’s unique to Teradata is that we offer the very same data and analytic software across all modes of deployment – whether managed cloud, public cloud, private cloud, or on-premises.

What this means to customers is that it’s easy for them to transfer data and workloads from one environment to another without hassle or loss of functionality; they can have all the features in any environment and dial it up or down as needed. Customers like this flexibility because nobody wants to locked in and it’s also helpful to be able to choose the right tool for the job and not worry about compatibility or consistency of results.

Specific cloud-related advancements in the last few months include:
  • Expanding Teradata Managed Cloud to now include both Americas and Europe
  • Increasing the scalability of Teradata Database on AWS up to 64 nodes
  • Launching Aster Analytics on AWS with support up to 33 nodes
  • Expanding Teradata Database on VMware scalability up to 32 virtual nodes
  • Bolstering our Consulting and Managed Services across all cloud options
  • And announcing upcoming availability of Teradata Database on Azure in Q1
These are just the ones that have been announced; there are many more in the pipeline queued up for release in the near future. Stay tuned!

The latest news is the availability of Teradata Database on Microsoft’s Azure Marketplace. Could you give us the details around the announcement?

We’re very excited about announcing Q1 availability for Teradata Database on Azure because many important Teradata customers have told us that Microsoft Azure is their preferred public cloud environment. We at Teradata are agnostic; whether AWS, Azure, VMware, or other future deployment options, we want what’s best for the customer and listen closely to their needs.

It all ties back to giving customers choice in how they consume Teradata, and offering the same set of capabilities across the board to make experimentation, switching, and augmentation as easy as possible.

Our offerings on Azure Marketplace will be very similar to what we offer on AWS Marketplace, including:
  • Teradata Database 15.10 (our latest version)
  • Teradata ecosystem software (including QueryGrid, Unity, Data Mover, Viewpoint, Ecosystem Manager, and more)
  • Teradata Aster Analytics for multi-genre advanced analytics
  • Teradata Consulting and Managed Services to help customers get the most value from their cloud investment
  • Azure Resource Manager Templates to facilitate the provisioning and configuration process and accelerate ecosystem deployment
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What about configuration and licensing options for Teradata Database in Azure?

The configuration and licensing options for Teradata Database on Azure will be similar to what is available on AWS Marketplace. Customers use Azure Marketplace as the medium through which to find and subscribe to Teradata software; they are technically Azure customers but Teradata provides Premier Cloud Support as a bundled part of the software subscription price.

One small difference between what will be available on Azure Marketplace compared to what is now available on AWS Marketplace is subscription duration. Whereas on AWS Marketplace we currently offer both hourly and annual subscription options, on Azure Marketplace we will initially offer just an hourly option.

Most customers choose hourly for their testing phase anyway, so we expect this to be a non-issue. In Q2 we plan to introduce BYOL (Bring Your Own License) capability on both AWS Marketplace and Azure Marketplace which will enable us to create subscription durations of our choosing.

Can we expect technical and functional limitations from this version compared with the on-premises solution?

No, there are no technical or functional limitations of what is available from Teradata in the cloud versus on-premises. In fact, this is one of our key differentiators: customers consume the same best-in-class Teradata software regardless of deployment choice. As a result, customers can have confidence that their existing investment, infrastructure, training, integration, etc., is fully compatible from one environment to another.

One thing to note, of course, is that a node in one environment will likely have a different performance profile than what is experienced with a node in another environment. In other words, depending on the workload, a single node of our flagship Teradata IntelliFlex system may require up to six to ten instances or virtual machines in a public cloud environment to yield the same performance.

There are many variables that can affect performance – such as query complexity, concurrency, cores, I/O, internode bandwidth, and more – so mileage may vary according to the situation. This is why we always recommend a PoC (proof of concept) to determine what is needed to meet specific customer requirements.

Considering a hybrid cloud scenario. What can we expect in regards to the integration with the rest of the Teradata stack, especially on-premises?

Hybrid cloud is central to Teradata’s strategy; I cannot emphasize this enough. We define hybrid cloud as a customer environment consisting of a mix on managed, public, private, and on-premises resources orchestrated to work together.

We believe that customers should have choice and so we’ve made it easy to move data and workloads in between these deployment modes, all of which use the same Teradata software. As such, customers can fully leverage existing investments, including infrastructure, training, integration, etc. Nothing is stranded or wasted.

Hybrid deployment also introduces the potential for new and interesting use cases that were less economically attractive in an all-on-premises world. For example, three key hybrid cloud use cases we foresee are:
  • Cloud data labs – cloud-based sandboxes that tie back to on-premises systems
  • Cloud disaster recovery – cloud-based passive systems that are quickly brought to life only when needed
  • Cloud bursting – cloud-based augmentation of on-premises capacity to alleviate short-term periods of greater-than-usual utilization


How about migrating from existing Teradata deployments to Azure? What is the level of support Teradata and/or Azure will offer?

Teradata offers more than a dozen cloud-specific packages via our Consulting and Managed Services team to help customers get the most value from their Azure deployments in three main areas: Architecture, Implementation, and Management.

Specific to migration, we first always recommend that customers have a clear strategy and cloud architecture document prior to moving anything so that the plan and expectations are clear and realistic. We can facilitate such discussions and help surface assumptions about what may or may not be true in different deployment environments.

Once the strategy is set, our Consulting and Managed Services team is available to assist customers or completely own the migration process, including backups, transfer, validation, testing, and so on. This includes not only Teradata-to-Teradata migration (e.g., on-premises to the cloud), but also competitor-to-Teradata migrations as well. We especially love the latter ones!

Finally, can you share with us a bit of what is next for Teradata in the Cloud?

Wow, where should I start? We’re operating at breakneck pace. Seriously, we have many new cloud developments in the works right now, and we’ve been hiring cloud developers like crazy (hint: tell ‘em Brian sent you!).

You’ll see more cloud announcements from us this quarter, and without letting the cat out of bag, expect advancements in the realm of automation, configuration assistance, and an expansion in managed offers.

Cloud is a key enabler to our ability to help customers get the most value from their data, so it’s definitely an exciting time to be involved in helping define the future of Teradata.
Thanks for your questions and interest!

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