Everybody knows that a database management system, or DBMS, is the system software used to store, manage, and access enterprise data. But the vernacular is changing. These days, the word “platform” seems to be usurping “systems.” That is, we hear about data and analytics platforms, instead of database management systems.
But what is a data analytics platform? Well, it can be a lot of things, so make sure that you examine any “platform” your organization is considering very carefully. A data platform might comprise a DBMS, and it might not. It might be a tool to help you collect and analyze large data sets from various sources. It might be a series of analytics tools and interfaces for accessing data. Or it might be any one, or set of, offerings that manage, virtualize, index, secure, or otherwise work with your data.
So it can be confusing. But I think I needed to talk about the current marketplace before discussing the primary topic of this month’s column: Teradata Vantage, which is touted by Teradata as the only solution for what it calls “pervasive data intelligence.” Teradata Vantage integrates the Teradata DBMS with its Aster analytics thereby enabling a wide variety of advanced techniques to be used for preparing and analyzing data at speed and at scale.
Teradata Vantage tightly integrates analytic functions and engines to provide a scalable, agile platform for access to a wide variety of descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics; autonomous decision making; machine learning functions; visualization tools and more, deployed across public clouds, on-premises, on optimized or commodity infrastructure, or as-a-service. Hence the company’s usage of the term “pervasive data intelligence.”
Teradata Vantage integrates with popular third-party tools and analytic languages, meaning users can access and analyze all their data without having to learn a new tool or language, or worry about where data is located. The Teradata Vantage ecosystem provides integrations to multiple languages including most SQL, R, and Python; popular workbenches including Teradata Studio, Teradata AppCenter, Jupyter, and RStudio (with more to follow); and data support ranging from relational, spatial, and temporal to XML, JSON, Avro, and time-series formats.
There are multiple analytic engines and functions built into Teradata Vantage including a NewSQL engine that enables nPath, sessionization, attribution, time-series, 4D analytics, and scoring for decision trees. It also contains a Machine Learning engine with over 100 prebuilt analytic functions for path, pattern, statistical, and text analytics. And the Graph engine provides a set of functions that discover relationships between people, products, and processes within a network. From the end user’s perspective, Teradata Vantage is a unified analytic and data framework.
Under the covers, Vantage uses a cross-engine orchestration layer that pipelines the right data and analytic request to the right analytic engine across a high-speed data fabric. So a business analyst or data scientist can invoke analytic functions from different engines in a single application, such as Jupyter Notebook, without having to move from one tool to another.
Additionally, Teradata Vantage embeds analytic engines close to the data, which eliminates the need to move data. This means that users can run analytics against larger data sets without sampling, thereby executing models with greater speed and frequency.
Companies have invested billions over the past few years on data analytics and the biggest problem these companies are facing is complexity, which is hindering their ability to get results from their technology and platforms. The focus of Teradata Vantage is to deliver a single version of the truth, at scale. Teradata refers to this shift by saying that companies want to “stop buying analytics, and start investing in answers.”
Oliver Ratzesberger, Teradata’s COO, said “Vantage dismantles the complexity and rises above the inadequacies of today’s analytics landscape. By making it simple for businesses to operationalize analytics on an enterprise-ready platform, Vantage can uncover the intelligence trapped in their data to discover answers that matter.”
Indeed, it can be difficult to cobble together analytics for disparate data, from various sources, and make sense of it all. And a solution that enables analytics across a heterogeneous analytical ecosystem makes a lot of sense.