I was reading the Gartner Report on “Magic Quadrant for Data Warehouse Database Management Systems, 2007,” and I wanted to share some thoughts. You can refer to the report here: http://mediaproducts.gartner.com/reprints/microsoft/article19/article19.html. I found this report interesting in that there are four companies in the Leaders quadrant – Teradata, Oracle, IBM and Microsoft. All of these companies are major players, and it is great to see Gartner recognize them. It is also interesting to see so many visionary companies like Sybase, Netezza, Greenplum and DATAllegro also highlighted.

If you look at the leaders, Oracle, IBM and Microsoft all have OLAP within their database. IBM and Microsoft support MDX. Oracle supports SQL for its OLAP option and Oracle also has a proprietary OLAP interface. It is interesting to note that Teradata, who ranks highest in this report, does not have OLAP capabilities. Of course, Teradata does have its AJI’s. When reading Teradata’s marketing literature and looking at its strategy, you see it has partnered with Microsoft for OLAP capabilities. Wouldn’t it be interesting if Teradata had OLAP capabilities built right into the Teradata database?

I may be over-simplifying here, but if you look at Oracle and IBM, it looks like both of these vendors have OLAP built right into the database. With Microsoft SQL Server, you get Analysis Services, which is an add-on to the database. Recent versions of Analysis Services have the ROLAP option, which allows you to leave the data in SQL Server rather than pull it out and build MOLAP cubes. Historically, OLAP databases were of the MOLAP style, like Hyperion (now Oracle) Essbase. Now, there seems to be more of a push to integrating OLAP into the database like Oracle and IBM, and Microsoft with the ROLAP capabilities in Analysis Services.

If Teradata were to build OLAP capabilities into its database, the result would be very interesting. Teradata has a very unique and powerful multi-processor architecture that it has refined over more than 27 years. Imagine if you were to take the idea of building OLAP into the database and, in Teradata’s case, engineer OLAP capabilities into this multi-processor architecture, you would now have OLAP capabilities that could rival, or beat those of IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. If Teradata had an OLAP option and if Teradata followed Microsoft’s lead and included the OLAP component as part of the database licensing, think of the win for Teradata customers.