Friday, December 30, 2011

The State of Data Modeling Tools

Lately have had a chance to do some data modeling for a MySQL project and I thought I'd do a series of posts with a brief review the tools for making ERDs.

Data Modeling Tools
 Evaluation Criteria
  • Stability
  • Price
  • Features
ERwin Review
I have been using ERwin for a few years now so I am pretty familiar with this tool. Like it or not it has been around for ages (Logic Works, who originally made ERwin started in 1988) and is the benchmark all other system have to be measured against.

The most recent version has not been entirely stable, I cannot make it crash on demand but it will occasionally lock up.

ERwin Data Modeler Std Edt + 1 yr Maint: ~$3,900

Common Checklist
  • Logic Modeling: Yes
  • Physical Modeling: Yes
  • Reverse Engineering: Yes
  • Forward Engineering: Yes
  • Sub Models: Yes
Now having used it for a while I know a number of ERwin's quirks but stepping back and looking at it with a fresh eye, it is dated. The GUI looks like it is still built on an ancient toolkit which is likely why the work area screens require manual refreshes to clean up visual artifacts.

ERwin has the core features I'd like, but it's not entirely stable, the GUI is quirky and the product is expensive. For the price I would expect CA to be rolling updates more frequently to address these issues but ERwin has had minimal updates these last few years.

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