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Andy Hayler

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Andy Hayler is one of the world’s foremost experts on master data management. Andy started his career with Esso as a database administrator and, among other things, invented a “decompiler” for ADF, enabling a dramatic improvement in support efforts in this area.  He became the youngest ever IT manager for Esso Exploration before moving to Shell. As Technology Planning Manager of Shell UK he conducted strategy studies that resulted in significant savings for the company.  Andy then became Principal Technology Consultant for Shell international, engaging in significant software evaluation and procurement projects at the enterprise level.  He then set up a global information management consultancy business which he grew from scratch to 300 staff. Andy was architect of a global master data and data warehouse project for Shell downstream which attained USD 140M of annual business benefits. 

Andy founded Kalido, which under his leadership was the fastest growing business intelligence vendor in the world in 2001.  Andy was the only European named in Red Herring’s “Top 10 Innovators of 2002”.  Kalido was a pioneer in modern data warehousing and master data management.

He is now founder and CEO of The Information Difference, a boutique analyst and market research firm, advising corporations, venture capital firms and software companies.   He is a regular keynote speaker at international conferences on master data management, data governance and data quality. He is also a respected restaurant critic and author (  Andy has an award-winning blog  He can be contacted at


March 2011 Archives

The recent flurry of acquisition activity in the data warehouse appliance space continued today as Teradata purchased Aster Data. HP’s purchase of Vertica, IBM’s of Netezza, EMC of Greenplum and (less recently) Microsoft of Data Allegro underscore the fact that demand for high performance analytic databases is perceived to be strong by the industry giants. At first glance this may seem an odd buy for Teradata, itself the original appliance vendor, but Aster in fact occupied a very particular niche in the market.

Aster’s strengths (and its intellectual propertty, patent pending) were around its support for intergated MapReduce analytics. MapReduce is the distributed computing framework pioneeed by Google, which inspired the open-source framework Hadoop. This framework is suited to highly compute-intensive analytics, particularly of high volumes of unstructured data. This includes use cases like fraud analysis, but has found a particular niche in social networking websites, who have to deal with vast and rapdily increasing volumes of data. Certain analytic queries such as social network graph analysis, signal analysis, network analysis and some time series analysis are awkward for conventional SQL, involving self-joins and potentially multiple passes through a database, which is a big deal if the database is hundreds of terabytes in size. The MapReduce appoach can offer significant perfomance advantages for such use cases, though it typically requires specialist programming knowledge.

Aster’s customers included companies like LinkedIn and FullTilt Poker,and its SQL-MR technology had a good reputation in such situations. Aster was a relatively small company, so this purchase is loose change for Teradata but buys it a jump-start into this fashionable area of analytic processing. Aster of course gains access to the channels and deep pockets of Teradata. Conservative buyers may have been unwilling to jump into these waters with a start-up but will be reassured by the legitimisation of the technology by a big software brand. Hence it seems like a win-win for both companies.

This leaves very few stand-alone independent data warehouse vendors: ParAccel, Kognitio and more obscure players like Exasol and Calpont can continue to plough an independent path, but I suspect that this will not be the last acquisition we will see in this market.

Posted March 4, 2011 7:39 PM
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