erwin Data Modeler (DM) Review

Its ability to standardize data types and some common attributes is pretty powerful


What is our primary use case?

My previous employer's use case was around data warehousing. We used it to house our models and data dictionaries. We didn't do anything with BPM, etc. The company that I left prior to coming to my current company had just bought erwin EDGE. Therefore, I was helping to see how we could leverage the integration between erwin Mapping Manager and erwin Data Modeler, so we could forward engineer our models and source port mappings, then mapping our data dictionary into our business definitions.

We didn't use it to capture our sources. It was more target specific. We would just model and forward engineer our targets, then we used DM to manage source targets in Excel. Only when the company first got erwin EDGE did we start to look at leveraging erwin Mapping Manager to manage source targets, but that was still a POC. 

As far as early DM source specific, we didn't do anything with that. It was always targeted. 

How has it helped my organization?

It improved the way we were able to manage our models. I come from a corporate background, working for some big banks. We had a team of about 10 architects who were spread out, but we were able to collaborate very well with the tool.

It was a good way to socialize the data warehouse model within our own team and to our end users. 

It helped manage some of the data dictionary stuff, which we could extract out to end users. It provided a repository of the data warehouse models, centralizing them. It also was able to manage the metadata and have the dictionary all within one place, socializing that out from our repository as well.

Typically, for an engineer designing and producing the DDL out of erwin, we will execute it into the database, then they have a target that they can start coding towards. 

What is most valuable?

  • Being able to manage the domains.
  • Ability to standardize our data types and some common attributes, which was pretty powerful. 
  • The Bulk Editor: I could extract the metadata into Excel (or something) and be able to make some mass changes, then upload it back.

We use the macros with naming standards patterns, domains, datatypes, and some common attributes. As far as other automations, a feature of the Bulk Editor is mass updates. When it sees something is nonstandard or inaccurate, it will export the better data out. Then, I can easily see which entities and attributes are not inline or standard. I can easily make changes to what was uploaded to the Bulk Editor. When taking on a new project, it can save you about a half a day on a big project across an entire team.

What needs improvement?

The Bulk Editor needs improvement. If you had something that was a local model to your local machine, you could connect to the API, then it would write directly into the repository. However, when you have something that is on the centralized server, that functionality did not work. Then, you had to export out to a CSV and upload up to the repository. It would have been nice to be able to do the direct API without having that whole download and upload thing. Maybe I didn't figure it out, but I'm pretty sure that didn't work when it was a model that sat on a centralized repository.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using erwin since about 2010. I used it last about a year ago at my previous employer. My current employer does not have it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We only had one guy who would keep up with it. Outside of the server, as far as adding and removing users and doing an upgrade which I would help with sometimes, there were typically only two people on our side maintaining it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There are about 10 users in our organization.

How was the initial setup?

There were a couple of little things that you had to remember to do. We ran into a couple of issues more than once when we did an upgrade or install. It wasn't anything major, but It was something that you really had to remember how you have to do it. I

t takes probably a few hours If you do everything correctly, then everything is ready to go.

What about the implementation team?

There were two people from our side who deployed it, a DBA and myself. 

We didn't go directly through erwin to purchase the solution. We used Sandhill Consulting, who provided someone for the setup. We had used them since purchasing erwin. They used to put on workshops, tips and tricks, etc. They're pretty good.

What was our ROI?

Once you start to get into using all the features, it is definitely worth the cost.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

With erwin Mapping Manager, which I have PoC'd a few times, it was something that I'd always get to produce ETL code. I have also used WhereScape for several years as well, and that type of functionality is very useful when producing ETLs from your model. It provides a lot of saving. When you're not dealing with something extremely complex, but just has a lot of repeatable type stuff, then you get a pretty standard, robust model. That's a huge saving to be able to do that with ETL code.

What other advice do I have?

The ability to compare and synchronize data sources with data models in terms of accuracy and speed for keeping them in sync is pretty powerful. However, I have never actually used the models as something that associates source. It is something I would be interested in trying to learn how to use and get involved with that type of feature. It would be nice to be able to have everything tied in from start to finish.

I am now working with cloud and Snowflake. Therefore, I definitely see some very good use cases and benefits for modeling the cloud with erwin. For example, there is so much more erwin can offer for doing something automated with SqlDBM. 

I would rate this solution as an eight out of 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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