Saturday, February 18, 2012

ER/Studio Data Architect

This is part of continuing set of reviews / opinion pieces about the state of data modeling tools that began over here.


Embarcadero Technologies started off with making DB development and management tools. I ran into one of their tools (DBArtisan) in 1998 for managing my Sybase instances. At my next job I insisted on getting the full suite of Embarcadero Software. And my next job too. Unfortunately after that I wasn't able to justify the cost and it has been 7 years since I used the software. Did it age poorly, similar to what happened to ERwin? Let's see.


I used it nearly every day during the evaluation period, testing out a number of the different options. There were no problems with the small model I tested with (< 50 table) while it remained fast and responsive over many days being open and used. 

ER/Studio Multi-Platform: ~$4,615.00 ($3,700 + $915 maint)

ER/Studio Open Source Databases: ~$1,360 ($1,100 + $260 maint)

Common Checklist

  • Logic Modeling: Yes 
  • Physical Modeling: Yes
  • Reverse Engineering: Yes 
  • Forward Engineering: Yes
    • Compare against files and live databases. 
  • Sub Models: Yes

The UI is responsive, when you grab items they do what you expect them to. It's very similar to ERwin but the UI is much more responsive and stable.

After reversing out an existing database, the initial entity arrangement is surprisingly good, they have clearly put a lot of effort into it. There are several layout options and all of them work pretty well. Ultimately you still need to re-arrange the model a bit, but far less than any other tool I've used.

The Database compare and forward engineering makes very usable scripts that respect the integrity of the original model.

ER/Studio is an excellent product. There are add-ons to manage the model with a centralized repository and share database development tasks. There are also tools to establishing and maintaining conventions throughout your diagram.

In conclusion, ER/Studio is a great product, the price is high but it works flawlessly.

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