Teradata Parallel Architecture
The world's largest data warehouses commonly use the superior technology of NCR's Teradata relational database management system (RDBMS). A data warehouse is normally loaded directly from operational data. The majority, if not all of this data will be collected online as a result of normal business operations. The data warehouse therefore acts as a central repository of the data that reflects the effectiveness of the methodologies used in running a business.
As a result, the data loaded into the warehouse is mostly historic in nature. To get a true representation of the business, normally this data is not changed once it is loaded. Instead, it is interrogated repeatedly to transform data into useful information, to discover trends and the effectiveness of operational procedures. This interrogation is based on business rules to determine such aspects as profitability, return on investment and evaluation of risk.
For example, an airline might load all of its maintenance activity on every aircraft into the database. Subsequent investigation of the data could indicate the frequency at which certain parts tend to fail. Further analysis might show that the parts are failing more often on certain models of aircraft. The first benefit of the new found knowledge regards the ability to plan for the next failure and maybe even the type of airplane on which the part will fail. Therefore, the part can be on hand when and maybe where it is needed, or the part might be proactively changed prior to its failure.
If the information reveals that the part is failing more frequently on a particular model of aircraft, this could be an indication that the aircraft manufacturer has a problem with the design or production of that aircraft. Another possible cause is that the maintenance crew is doing something incorrectly and contributing to the situation. Either way, you cannot fix a problem if you do not know that a problem exists. There is incredible power and savings in this type of knowledge.
Another business area where the Teradata database excels is in retail. It provides an environment that can store billions of sales. This is a critical capability when you are recording and analyzing the sales of every item in every store around the world. Whether it is used for inventory control, marketing research or credit analysis, the data provides an insight into the business. This type of knowledge is not easily attainable without detailed data that records every aspect of the business. Tracking inventory turns, stock replenishment, or predicting the number of goods needed in a particular store yields a priceless perspective into the operation of a retail outlet. This information is what enables one retailer to thrive while others go out of business.
Teradata is flourishing with the realization that detail data is critical to the survival of a business in a competitive, lower margin environment. Continually, businesses are forced to do more with less. Therefore, it is vital to maximize the efforts that work well to improve profit and minimize or correct those that do not work. One computer vendor used these same techniques to determine that it cost more to sell into the desktop environment than was realized in profit. Prior to this realization, the sales effort had attempted to make up the loss by selling more computers. Unfortunately, increased sales meant increased losses. Today, that company is doing much better and has made a huge step into profitability by discontinuing the small computer line.