Teradata Appliance Musings

Some would suggest, quite reasonably, that Teradata has been an appliance ever since it's birth in the 1980's. I would tend to agree, sort of. Server, storage, OS, DBMS, cabinet...it's all there pre-configured and ready to go. Isn't it?

Well, yes, but...there has always been quite a bit of latitude when choosing the spec of Teradata's 'enterprise class' systems. This allows Teradata to ensure that the architecture of the system matches the requirements of the workload. Choices such as disk size, disk:node ratio (does sir require power or capacity?), RAM/node, number of nodes, etc. All very sensible.

It's not *that* long ago - maybe 8/9 years - that the concept of a 'data warehouse appliance' was born. Teradata's formal appliance offerings came along a few years later and represent various pre-packaged configurations. So as not to cannibalise the 'non-appliance' enterprise offerings, the Teradata appliances essentially use cheaper disk sub-systems and a 'lite' version of the TASM workload management capability. They also can't be expanded/upgraded as per the enterprise class offerings.

Most (all?) long-established Teradata customers seem to still be using enterprise class offerings for the EDW. No surprises there really. As a result we hadn't got our hands on a Teradata appliance out in the wild until recently.

However, we've now been using a Teradata 2650 appliance at a customer site for the last few months. Here's the official blurb: http://www.teradata.com/brochures/Teradata-Data-Warehouse-Appliance-2650-eb6183/?type=BRA

quick summary of the spec is as follows:


• 2 cores/node and 6 cores/CPU = 12 cores/node

• 2.9GHz CPURAM• 96GB/node

RAM – not so long ago this was only 2GB/node on NCR's 32bit MP-RAS

• 4GB RAM/core – 2x typical enterprise class valueVPROCs

• 4GB RAM/AMP - 2x typical enterprise class valueDISK

• 24 disks/node – ¼ typical enterprise class value

• 1 disk/AMP – ¼ typical enterprise value• 10,000 RPM 300GB or 600GB disks - not 15,000 RPM enterprise class speed

• 18MB/s per AMP nominal scan performance - ¼ typical enterprise class value


• 330 node specint – 3.5x typical enterprise value

On face value this looked like a compute-heavy, IO-light system by traditional Teradata standards. The proof of the pudding is in the eating however!

The Teradata 2650 was tasked with a variety of KPI reports and ad hoc queries submitted via a mainstream BI tool. User concurrency was in the 50-100m range.

I would summarise the results, quite simply, as 'most impressive'. Certainly better that we anticipated, although I can't go into detail due to customer confidentiality.

With the appliance offerings, it looks like Teradata are learning how to take advantage of an abundance of (cheap) compute power and RAM, rather than just a massively capable (expensive) IO sub-system. Long may it continue.

The Teradata 2650 appliance is an impressive platform and certainly delivers a lot of 'bang per buck'.