Teradata Combines Aster Data with its San Diego Labs in $263M Deal

3/3/11Follow @bvbigelow

Ohio-based Teradata (NYSE: TDC) says it’s buying Aster Data Systems of San Carlos, CA, in a $263 million deal that combines Aster Data’s breakthrough technology in a hot area of massively parallel processing architecture with its conventional relational database technology.

Aster Data will remain in Silicon Valley, and will be folded into Teradata Labs, the San Diego-based engineering development center with about 1,000 employees, said Wayne Boyle, a vice president of strategy and emerging technology at Teradata Labs.

“What we want to create is an environment where Teradata has the best in class in relational and non-relational data mining,” Boyle said. Teradata announced the acquisition less than three months after agreeing to pay $525 million to buy Indianapolis, IN-based Aprimo, another analytics specialist that provides integrated marketing management.

In its statement, Teradata says the combination will enable businesses to unlock vital intelligence hidden within the ever-growing volume of “big data,” a term that describes massive volumes of both structured data (best stored in relational databases) and unstructured data (stored in other types of databases). Sources of unstructured data include web applications, sensor networks, social networks, genomics, videos, and photographs.

Teradata, which acquired an 11 percent stake in venture-backed Aster Data less than six months ago, agreed to pay $263 million for the rest of the startup. Aster Data has raised at least $53 million from investors since it was founded in mid-2005 (it still has $21 million on its balance sheet), and now has about 50 employees.

Some of Aster Data’s key investors also were early investors in Google. As TechCrunch reported in 2008, the distributed computing startup raised an angel round of about $1 million from David Cheriton, a Stanford University computer science professor (and Granite Systems co-founder), Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital, computer visionary Ron Conway, and Anand Rajaraman, founder of Junglee and Kosmix. Cheriton and Sequoia Capital, which took Aster’s entire A round in May, 2007, also were early investors in Google. Other investors are Institutional Venture Partners, Jafco Ventures, Cambrian Ventures, and Stanford computer science professor Rajeev Motwani.

Teradata’s Boyle tells me that while Teradata is a leader in relational data mining analytics that use massively parallel programming and petabyte-size databases, Aster Data specializes in SQL-based MapReduce programming—a hot, emerging field of non-relational parallelized data processing.

The non-relational analytics technology enables Aster Data to quickly gather data, such as Web logs and click streams, from clusters of servers that power a company’s Web-facing systems. Once stored in a database, the information can be analyzed to better understand customer behavior—for example, enabling such Aster Data customers as LinkedIn, Zynga, and Barnes & Noble to determine who the influencers are in a Web community.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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