"New Breed" Database Extensibility

At present, I can think of at least 5 "new breed" database vendors that you allow you to extend their SQL language in some form or another:

Greenplum (I think)

Of course, the old guard is well-represented in this category as well - Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, Teradata, etc. all allow language extension via custom functions, plug-ins, etc.

I don't know enough about it yet to know, but I think that Greenplum and AsterData might also belong on this list due to their support for Map/Reduce.

It wasn't all that long ago (3 or 4 years) that most of these vendors didn't even support the full SQL standard, never mind compiled-code extensions to their SQL language. Oh, the possibilities.

Thoughts on Teradata Express Edition

It's been almost four months since I discovered (and mentioned) Teradata Express Edition. Finally, over the last week or so, I got a chance to install it and check it out. My thoughts about it fall nicely into two categories.

The Good

It's Teradata. Want to learn about Teradata? Quickly test your application with Teradata? Do a demo that involves Teradata on a laptop? Then the Teradata Express Edition is for you.

It includes the kitchen sink. It's been a few years since I worked with Teradata, but as best I can recall, everything I once received on almost a dozen CDs is included on the TEE DVD - database system, administrative tools, optimizers, development tools, everything.

It's free. Can't beat that.

The Bad

It's Teradata. I'm not a big fan of Teradata. Any system that evolves slowly, without a terrible amount of competition, over twenty-some-odd years is bound to be... less than elegant, shall we say.

The installer is horrible. Not only does it look like something from 1994, but it requires you to manually start a half-dozen different installers, in a particular sequence, waiting for each to complete before starting the next. Should you mistakenly reboot in the middle of that sequence, well... better uninstall everything and start over, cuz finishing the remaining installs won't give you a functional system. Upes. I found that out the hard way.

To top it all off, the various programs that it installs are spread rather haphazardly throughout the Start Menu, so even once you get it installed you have to hunt for everything. Not good.

There's no uninstaller. All those various programs that it spreads all over the Start Menu each come with their own uninstaller. Have fun finding and individually uninstalling each one.

There are no "quick start" guides or tutorials, just a series of technical documents. I found my way around easily enough because I've worked with Teradata before, but were that not the case I'm not sure how I'd have accomplished anything.

Parting Thoughts

My distaste for Teradata aside, Teradata Express Edition still counts as Really Cool Stuff in my book. It might be a PITA to set up and work with, but it is a functional Teradata system. That's a good thing to have in one's bag of tricks, I think, and I'm glad Teradata has made it available.

Teradata Appliances: Me Too

Teradata's announcement of their new "appliances" a couple weeks ago was, to me... well, uninteresting, quite frankly. So I put off writing anything about it. And I'd pretty much forgotten about it altogether, to be honest. (Like I said, uninteresting.)

This morning, however, Phillip Howard's comments on Teradata appliances reminded me of said announcement and my lackluster opinion of it. And though I do my best to avoid ever saying "me too", Phillip's comments express how I feel about the subject surprisingly precisely. So rather than rehashing things, I'm simply going to nod, smile, and say...

Yup, me too.

Really Cool Stuff: Teradata Express Edition

Ok, so, I'm not exactly a huge Teradata fan, but I have to admit that the idea behind Teradata Express is pretty cool. Nothing like being able to download and learn hands-on about serious database software.

I've requested my copy... I'll post more when it arrives and I've had a chance to try it out.