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Recommendations for a 7 TB data warehouse in mixed workload environment

We are currently in a process to evaluate technology platforms for our new data warehouse with about 7 TB of raw/usable data. The main function of the data warehouse will be reporting in a mixed workload environment - batch process and ad-hoc queries serving multi concurrent users. The main characteristics for the technology suite that we are looking for, of course, are performance, scalability, high availability, and cost effectiveness - particularly for the long term TCO. I would like to hear your opinion on three main vendors that we are currently looking at, namely Teradata, Oracle RAC and UDB ese. I would really appreciate your response on this. Additionally, do you know of customers out in the real world who would like to share their success or not so success stories and challenges you face with your current technology that you deploy in-house? I could get references from the vendors, but I am hoping to get experienced users in the category alike that would like to share their views on various products.

The good news is you are looking at the dominant players in what the Transaction Processing Performance Council calls Very Large Data Warehouse VLDW. According to independent TPC tests and research firms such as Gartner and The Winter Group, Teradata historically outperforms IBM and Oracle in the 3 TB plus sizes. Each year IBM and Oracle demonstrate more and more mission capability in the VLDW space and each year Teradata continues to raise the bar through expanded vision and performance. To give you a qualified opinion, I highly recommend a comprehensive DW assessment be performed. One would need to first understand the needs and the strategic direction of the organization, including things such as some of the following;

  • the volumes of current users
  • the access patterns and usage behaviors of the users
  • the applications you want to enable (active DW, Data mining, score cards, BPM, BAM, etc, etc
  • the latency requirements for posting data into to your DW
  • your BI tool strategy
  • your definition of "cost effective" over 24-36 month planning horizon
  • the age and dormancy and access patterns to "old" data
  • the current capital investment in technology (people, data management software, servers, storage and networks)
  • your current and future plans for Operational Support Systems (OSS) and ERPs
There are many companies that would be willing to share their experience. The best forum for that on an informal and objective basis is to attend some of the world conferences put on by the likes of TDWI and DAMA and do some networking. You can include as part of your DW assessment scope that the consulting firm include visits to clients running like DW environments using the above mentioned DBMS solutions. Another avenue would be to perform some of your own research and purchased white papers or an analysis from the credible research firms.

Good Luck. Drop me line to let me know how you progress.

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