The current focus on enterprise data governance and regulatory compliance have made data modeling an important component in your IT strategy. Selecting a data modeling tool is not something to be taken lightly. You will be spending some of your organization's financial resources in procuring the product. There will also be a time investment required by the teams and individuals who will be using the solution. Choosing the wrong tool can lead to a lot of lost time and money.
There are multiple aspects to be weighed when deciding which solution works best for your company. Some points to consider are:
- The tool’s capabilities that are most important to your organization.
- The expected learning curve required to become productive with the selection.
- The long-term value of the tool including a history of innovation and upgrades.
We intend to facilitate your decision when searching for a data modeling solution by investigating some of the features that make IDERA’s ER/Studio Data Architect a superior tool when compared with other third-party or vendor-specific offerings. So let’s get started.
Naming conventions and standards are imperative when constructing data models. They foster a better understanding of the objects, entities, and attributes of the physical or abstract entities that they represent. ER/Studio provides an intuitive and user-friendly manner of working with naming standards. Its Naming Standards Utility can be invoked at any time to apply the standards to model or sub-model objects. Within the application, naming standards can be used with other wizards that are used to generate physical models or perform a compare and merge operation.
Sub-models are divisions within data models that represent specific components of the overall construct. Sub-models need to be created in a way that ensures that the associated terminology and definitions are easily understood at a high-level and are focused on the business at hand. A sub-model hierarchy can get extremely complex depending on the business being modeled. ER/Studio was designed with an eye toward addressing and managing any level of sub-model complexity.
Separation of Logical and Physical Models
Conceptual, logical and physical models are three distinct forms of representing the objects and the relationships between them. Logical models build on the abstraction of a conceptual model and provide more details while remaining platform-independent. Physical models flesh out the logical model by representing the characteristics necessary to implement the datatypes on a specific platform. ER/Studio employs a loose coupling methodology between model types that enables one-to-many logical to physical models. The tool is excellent at creating artifacts that are easily understood by all stakeholders.
In any computing environment, the ability of a tool to create macros to automate repetitive tasks is warmly welcomed by its users. ER/Studio Data Architect offers users a fully functioning scripting editor for creating macros based on the SAX Basic language. Anyone familiar with Visual Basic will quickly become fluent in the scripting language. Macros are easy to create and automate. A set of sample macros that can be tailored to your needs is included when you install the application.
Through the use of an intuitive wizard, ER/Studio provides reverse engineering capabilities which can be instrumental in the analysis and mapping of complex data environments. You can specify which database objects are to be reverse-engineered and save the selections in a template so they can be reused.
Compare and Merge
The ability to compare data models or sub-models and merge them where appropriate is an important feature in a data modeling tool. To maximize its utility, ER/Studio provides multiple methods of comparing and merging data models. The tool is very intuitive which will minimize the errors that may be made in this potentially complex endeavor. Logical modes can be compared and merged with either physical or other logical models. A physical model can be used with logical and physical models as well as SQL files or a live database. The flexibility available in the compare and merge feature adds substantial value to this data modeling suite.
Support for Collaboration
Enterprise data modeling is a collaborative undertaking with many different business and technical groups involved in the process. The data modeling solution you choose needs to provide a means to facilitate collaboration throughout the organization. ER/Studio passes this test with flying colors by offering several methods that promote collaboration. This is accomplished with:
- A model repository where check-in and check-out can be performed on models and objects to track modifications.
- Native report generation that uses the HTML or RTF formats. This allows reports to be imported into Microsoft Word for editing in RTF format. HTML reports offer clickable model objects that link to the underlying metadata.
- Web access with ER/Studio Team Server, enabling collaborative efforts to be performed from any location. Remote users can create reports and metadata.
ER/Studio is feature-rich and delivers a comprehensive data modeling platform for your organization. Its intuitive interface and use of wizards ensure that your staff will quickly assimilate the tool and use it productively. The application is backed by IDERA so you know that it will be maintained and upgraded to provide new functionality and retain its role as a vital component for enterprise data modeling.