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Teradata snaps up Aster Data for $263m

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Data warehousing appliance maker Teradata has figured out that it needs a software business that it controls above and beyond its clustered parallel database. It has ponied up $263m to acquire Aster Data Systems, which has created tools for chewing on monstrous amounts of unstructured data.

Aster Data sells a product called nCluster that is a hybrid row and column database that runs on parallel clusters. The company also has a patent in the works for that it calls SQL-MapReduce, a hybrid of normal data warehousing of structured data and big data chewing techniques for unstructured data. Some big names on the web use Aster Data's tools to analyze clickstreams, social networking connections, recommendations and personalization, churn and detect fraud. These include LinkedIn, Comscore, Akamai, Barnes & Noble, MySpace, Intuit, InsightExpress, and Full Tilt Poker.

Aster Data has been peddling its big data analytics software on Dell's cloudy PowerEdge-C boxes as an appliance. Teradata also uses Dell iron to build its flagship Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) clustered appliances, so Aster and Teradata already have that in common.

What we didn't know is that Teradata bought an 11 per cent stake in Aster Data already, back in September 2010. The $263m that it is shelling out today is to buy the rest of the company. That $263m is net of debt expenses; Teradata gets the $21m in cash Aster data has on the books. All of the company's employees, including co-founders Tasso Argyros and Mayank Bawa, who are chief technology officer and chief customer officer, are coming over to Teradata.

Teradata expects to close the deal in the second quarter, and said that it did not expect for Aster to have a material effect on its revenue stream in 2011 and would make it give up a few pennies from its bottom line. So presumably Aster Data had great technology but was not yet making money.

The Aster Data acquisition follows hot on the heels of Teradata's $550m acquisition in December 2010 of Aprimo, a maker of web-based marketing management software that Teradata wants to marry with its data warehouse appliances. ®

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