Teradata creates elite club for petabyte-plus data warehouse customers

'Petabyte Power Players' include eBay, Wal-Mart, Bank of America and Dell

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Teradata's largest customers use its enterprise-class products, such as its Active Enterprise Data Warehouse 5550. Some, he says, are thinking of shifting to its new Extreme Data Appliance 1550, which can scale up to 50 petabytes.

As the company starts to make petabyte-scale data warehouses routine, Teradata did give some thought to changing its name, chosen in 1979 when one terabyte of data was large and expensive. A Morrow Designs Winchester hard drive introduced in 1981 stored 26MB and sold for $4,995, about $12,119 in 2008 dollars.

To buy enough Morrows to get a terabyte, you'd have needed to spend almost $200,000, or almost half a million in 2008 dollars. Today, a 1TB hard drive can cost under $100.

But Teradata, like other companies whose once-futuristic names have been rendered trite by time or progress (think Century 21 Real Estate or Twentieth Century Fox), decided to keep its name in the end.

"We have a great brand, and we don't want to walk away from it," McDonald said. If Teradata did change its name, he said, it would probably adopt the prefix of something several orders of magnitude beyond the exabyte (1,000 petabytes), which was chosen by Oracle Corp. for its recent Exadata Storage Server appliance. That could be the zettabyte, which is a million times larger than a petabyte, or the yottabyte, which is a billion times larger than a petabyte.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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