Teradata sounds good and smells like money, especially today. I already mentioned that they received U.S. Patent #7966340 on June 21, 2011. The patent is about SQL-MapReduce technology: the data analytic framework that combines the popular MapReduce™ software with the enterprise friendliness of SQL. (Also see article about "multi-structured data sources" from Aster Data).
Today Teradata Columnar is announced (available in December 2011 as a component of Teradata Database 14) and Teradata Database 14 is released. The new columnar capability from Teradata allows users to mix-and-match ("hybrid") columnar and row-based physical storage when it best suits an application. Teradata Columnar is integrated with the row-based storage and relational database software. Only the data in the columns required for a query are pulled into memory for processing, reducing the time-constraining input/output of a row-based approach that would read data from all the columns.
Teradata Columnar brings traditional "columnar" benefit: the flexible data compression. Teradata Columnar dynamically adjusts the compression mechanisms for optimal storage depends on type and size of data involved, automatically chooses from among six types of compression: run length, dictionary, trim, delta on mean, null and UTF8 based on the column demographics.
Again, these are just a good sound bites until Teradata Columnar will be released. Teradata may be trying to out-market Microsoft with its SQL Server 2011 (or Denali; as of today available as CTP3 community release) which already has the Columnstore Index, integrated with row-based storage and relational database.
I am wondering if Tableau will able timely and natively support Teradata Columnar as it supports now the Teradata Database (important for Data Visualization applications):