As a result, the data loaded into the warehouse is mostly historic in nature. To get a truerepresentation of the business, normally this data is not changed once it is loaded. Instead, itis interrogated repeatedly to transform data into useful information, to discover trends andthe effectiveness of operational procedures. This interrogation is based on business rules todetermine such aspects as profitability, return on investment and evaluation of risk.For example, an airline might load all of its maintenance activity on every aircraft into thedatabase. Subsequent investigation of the data could indicate the frequency at which certainparts tend to fail. Further analysis might show that the parts are failing more often on certainmodels of aircraft. The first benefit of the new found knowledge regards the ability to plan for the next failure and maybe even the type of airplane on which the part will fail. Therefore, thepart can be on hand when and maybe where it is needed, or the part might be proactivelychanged prior to its failure.If the information reveals that the part is failing more frequently on a particular model of aircraft, this could be an indication that the aircraft manufacturer has a problem with thedesign or production of that aircraft. Another possible cause is that the maintenance crew isdoing something incorrectly and contributing to the situation. Either way, you cannot fix aproblem if you do not know that a problem exists. There is incredible power and savings inthis type of knowledge. Another business area where the Teradata database excels is in retail. It provides anenvironment that can store billions of sales. This is a critical capability when you arerecording and analyzing the sales of every item in every store around the world. Whether it isused for inventory control, marketing research or credit analysis, the data provides an insightinto the business. This type of knowledge is not easily attainable without detailed data thatrecords every aspect of the business. Tracking inventory turns, stock replenishment, or predicting the number of goods needed in a particular store yields a priceless perspectiveinto the operation of a retail outlet. This information is what enables one retailer to thrivewhile others go out of business.Teradata is flourishing with the realization that detail data is critical to the survival of abusiness in a competitive, lower margin environment. Continually, businesses are forced todo more with less. Therefore, it is vital to maximize the efforts that work well to improve profitand minimize or correct those that do not work.One computer vendor used these same techniques to determine that it cost more to sell intothe desktop environment than was realized in profit. Prior to this realization, the sales efforthad attempted to make up the loss by selling more computers. Unfortunately, increasedsales meant increased losses. Today, that company is doing much better and has made ahuge step into profitability by discontinuing the small computer line.
The Teradata database currently runs normally on NCR Corporation's WorldMark Systemsin the UNIX MP-RAS environment. Some of these systems consist of a single processingnode (computer) while others are several hundred nodes working together in a singlesystem. The NCR nodes are based entirely on industry standard CPU processor chips,standard internal and external bus architectures like PCI and SCSI, and standard memorymodules with 4-way interleaving for speed. At the same time, Teradata can run on any hardware server in the single node environmentwhen the system runs Microsoft NT and Windows 2000. This single node may be anycomputer from a large server to a laptop.