Netezza GM Terrell Discusses Digital Client Momentum And Common Data Strategy Misconceptions

NetezzaBrad Terrell is VP and general manager of digital media at Netezza, a data warehouse and analytic appliances company. He recently discussed his company's client momentum in the digital media space including their ongoing deal with Acxiom (PDF). Can you quantify the scope of working with Acxiom either in dollars or by number of machines? Given their vast resources of data, is this a very large client for Netezza?

BT: Acxiom has been a valued Netezza customer since 2004, which was about a year after Netezza first launched the data warehouse appliance.  Acxiom’s recent initiative utilizing Netezza to power their next-generation InfoBase platform is the latest of many in Netezza’s long-standing partnership with Acxiom, and it’s one that we’re particularly excited about.  As our case study describes in greater detail, Acxiom’s next-generation InfoBase platform benefits from a Netezza-powered zero-latency data model that now makes data updates available to clients in near real-time.

When integrating with a data supplier, particularly big data, what are the best practices for integrating with Netezza technology?

One best practice we see involves a trend toward performing more of the data transformations required in a data integration pipeline inside the Netezza appliance due to the processing speed and simplicity that Netezza offers. Netezza's high speed loading and unloading capabilities are natively integrated with all of the leading data movement, data integration and data quality platforms.  The benefits for big data suppliers and consumers can be summarized as the ability to quickly move large volumes of data in and out of the appliance via off-the-shelf tools or home grown code as well as the ability to rapidly transform and prep that data for ad hoc analysis.

Is a huge, independent manager of data like Acxiom where you see the opportunity for Netezza? Do you think certain verticals such as agencies will ever be a sweet spot for Netezza considering the data they collect?

Netezza is a great fit for any firm that requires quick access to high-volume, low-latency data analysis.  The price/performance that Netezza’s latest TwinFin appliance offers makes it just as compelling for small startups as it is for larger firms like Acxiom.  In addition, given the media industry’s rapid transformation, the simplicity of deployment and operation offered by Netezza’s appliance approach is particularly important, since it is proven to accelerate time-to-market for startups and established firms alike.

Netezza’s sweet spot is with any firm that leverages data as a source of competitive advantage.  While many of our customers fall somewhere between agencies and publishers within the advertising value chain, the most innovative agencies and publishers are already utilizing Netezza data warehouse appliances to fuel their data strategies.  Agencies and publishers recognize the need to better capture the value in their data assets, and Netezza helps them achieve that goal.  I expect our growth rates in those segments of our business to increase over time. From Netezza's point-of-view, what's the biggest misconception that potential clients have about creating an effective data strategy?

We often meet potential clients operating under the misperception that unlocking the value in their data will be complicated, expensive and time-consuming.  One big reason why this may have been true in the past was because traditional data warehouse architectures simply were not designed for high performance terabyte-scale data analysis.  As a result, a hugely elaborate set of database tuning heuristics evolved in an effort to squeeze performance out of these older architectures.  Loads have to be balanced, indexes created, disk partitions and logical volumes defined – and each setting almost invariably interferes with all the others.  This multi-step tuning process takes weeks…and often months.  With Netezza’s appliance architecture, all of these problems go away.

Another misperception we see is that potential clients assume that they need to make a significant investment in pulling together the entirety of their enterprise data into a single data warehouse before they can begin creating value with an analytics strategy.  The reality is that opportunities often exist to achieve local optimizations that solve specific business challenges without “boiling the ocean.”  Netezza simplifies this approach to executing a data strategy and delivering a rapid return on investment.

Follow Brad Terrell (@bradterrell), Netezza (@Netezza) and (@adexchanger) on Twitter.


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