Philosophy

"When you make the software and its underlying algorithms efficient, then apply the hardware's innate processing horsepower, you make things run faster than they would if you were relying on the hardware or the application alone."

Terabase Corporation was founded to provide solutions for electronic publishers and information providers who needed complex searching capabilities for large numbers of users.

"As the Internet and other new media environments grow, companies face the task of supporting greater numbers of users who make increasingly difficult demands on them in terms of results, performance, and support," explains company President Thor Olson. "With our expertise, we can provide solutions that will make a product successful."

Terabase does this by combining solid programming background with real experience in running publishing businesses. The Terabase team understands that to be successful, a project must consider the needs of users first, then arrive at solutions that deliver outstanding performance even while satisfying the needs of data center and IT managers. Terabase's applications are optimized for searching, rather than transaction processing, since most usage stems from people querying and retrieving data. The applications are designed to be scalable and flexible, so components can be added in an adaptable manner.

Most people assume that less-sophisticated computer users are satisfied with less-sophisticated technology. But in one of the ironies of the Information Age, Olson says the opposite holds true: Today's end users - be they consumers at home or business people in the office - care most about finding answers to their questions and little about the workings of the technology that helps them. Traditionally designed databases can't perform with the kind of speed these users expect.

Product efficiency is a common theme among Terabase's developers. "Efficiency is important because you get more bang for the buck," explains Mr. Olson. "When you make the software and its underlying algorithms efficient, then apply the hardware's innate processing horsepower, you make things run faster than they would if you were relying on the hardware or the application alone."

Terabase approaches each project with a set of proprietary tools, layered on top of Open Source standards, from which it can fashion a precise solution to the problem at hand. "We try to come up with a flexible and true solution instead of just building new layers on top of an existing product," says Vice President Wendy Koenig. "We have tools that address issues specific to publishing databases. A lot of our features don't exist in other tools or environments." So flexible is Terabase's tool set, Koenig notes, specific issues can often be addressed with the creation of completely new tool.

But at the same time, their software is designed to work with Open Source Standards, so that customers can easily implement large-scale processing facilities.  "We make sure that our client software uses the latest technology, while at the same time working with the most desired browsers.  And on the server side," Wendy Koenig says, "we make sure that our software will work just as flexibly with Apache Server as it will with IIS.  We are somewhat agnostic to the delivery platform, which eases the pain of implementation."

Another key is Terabase's development methodology, which begins with the company's team digging into its client's data early on. "We come to a fundamental understanding of the problem we have to solve," says Olson. "We look at the data and learn as much as we can about what end users are doing with it. Then we build a prototype and get comments. From that experience, we build the application itself and get more comments. In this way, we keep evolving until the product is ready to roll out."

So effective is Terabase's approach that the company has yet to take on a client that wasn't a referral. "We think that's a good thing," says Olson. "People know our reputation."

  Updated September 9, 2005
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