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CASE STUDY - Large-Scale Retailer Gains Easy Access to Historical Data for Big-Picture Analysis

Commentary by Jesse Fountain, Vice President, Product Marketing, DATAllegro

A large retailer with U.S. and international subsidiaries approached DATAllegro as part of its search for a solution to data warehousing challenges. As of early 2006, the retailer operated several thousand full-line retail stores and more than a thousand specialty retail stores in the U.S., as well as several hundred full-line and specialty retail stores internationally. The company also offered its products through its Web sites.

Business Challenge

A recent merger resulted in the company owning two Teradata systems, each holding 50 terabytes of data. The retailer was struggling to analyze its data across the entire enterprise. Both systems used Teradata to support operational workload and traditional data warehousing ad hoc usage. Upgrading Teradata to accommodate the data from both chains into one system was prohibitively expensive. In addition, the high cost of storing historical data on each system prevented analysts from getting a complete picture of the business.

While the customer didn’t feel it was necessary to merge all the data into one data warehouse, it did need to obtain an enterprisewide view of its customer and pointof- sale transaction data. Business needs would also benefit from the ability to store and query five or more years of data. The company had to decide if it could afford to upgrade Teradata in order to accommodate all the data it wanted to store in one data warehouse (up to 80 terabytes over time), or if there was a less expensive option that would still provide the necessary performance. The retailer decided to run benchmarks with a number of leading vendors. For the proof of concept, the company selected DATAllegro, another data warehouse (DW) appliance vendor, and two other well-known, traditional data warehouse technology vendors to participate.



The Benchmark

The retailer gave each vendor one year’s worth of sample data and tasked them with expanding the data to 10 terabytes (enough for 24 years of data). Vendors had two weeks to prepare and load the data into their product offerings before the retailer began running a broad range of query types, including ad hoc, complex, and long-running.

Tangible Benefits

After analyzing the query speeds, capacities, and costs of the offerings from each vendor, the customer selected DATAllegro, believing it would best support its current and future needs. Particular areas of strength were DATAllegro’s partitioning, its ability to modify DSQL to tune highly complex queries, the B25 backup unit, and the flexibility of the overall system configuration.

In addition, DATAllegro’s price was less than half that of the other vendors, discounts included, without any sacrifice in performance. The company can now reduce the amount of history on Teradata to one or two years and keep full history (five years or more) on the DATAllegro DW appliance.

By purchasing DATAllegro, the customer will save hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual maintenance costs and have a more comprehensive view of its current and future business.

This article originally appeared in the issue of .

About the Author

Jesse FountainJesse Fountain is VP of product marketing for DATAllegro and has more than 20 years of experience in the business intelligence arena.

[email protected]

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