erwin Enterprise Architecture Review

Excellent data modeling tool for large organizations managing large data models and deploying them to a wide variety of popular platforms


What is most valuable?

- Excellent graphical support for very large data models, enabling our team to plot detailed and colorful data models containing hundreds of entities and as large as 3 feet by up to 40 feet in length. Despite building and maintaining many very large data models, we do not have problems with the stability of the graphical representation or layout, something we still encounter with a surprising number of other data modeling tools (when we're asked to try to port our data models to other tools by a few of our customers who are already using other tools when we start working with them).

- Robust dictionary and model comparison capability ("Complete compare") allow for sophisticated model management and configuration options.

- Optional repository-based Model Manager allows for coordination and version control across multiple (possibly geographically distributed) stakeholders.

- Longstanding commitment to open metadata access, either through included pre-builtimport/export connectors (for most common metadata-aware modeling tools, ETL tools, XML, etc.) or through sophisticated API (for programmatic access). This has been very important to our large customers and our team over the years as it has enabled metadata movement and synchronization between tools as and when required.

- Erwin can reverse and forward engineer from/to most supported versions of most widely used RDBMS, making deployment straightforward in most cases.

How has it helped my organization?

- Erwin has enabled us to build and manage a portfolio of over 1,000 large data models across more than 60 lines of business, many of which are related and synchronized. It has similarly enable our customers to start using selected subsets of our data models and incrementally grow their deployments over time, while also taking advantage of subsequent data model upgrades delivered by us.

- Erwin has enabled us to easily assist our customers in deploying our large data models across many different deployment platforms, on premise and in the cloud.

- We have been able to assist our customers in exchanging and synchronizing metadata between other modeling tools, repositories, ETL tools, MDM tools, BI tools, business glossaries, etc. to enable them to integrate with existing metadata artifacts and greatly facilitate metadata reuse in other metadata-aware products.

What needs improvement?

- Erwin could use better support for some NoSQL databases, JSON and other non-relational data structures. Based on a discussion I had with a member of Erwin's technical team at a recent tradeshow, it appears that some of the most requested connectors will be part of a forthcoming upgrade in early 2017. We and our customers await that release with interest.

For how long have I used the solution?

17 years (since 1999)

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No, the 9.64.02 release we are currently using is very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

- Prior to a major upgrade to the underlying graphics engine in about 2010, we occasionally experienced slow performance when moving large numbers of objects (e.g. several hundred entities at a time) in very large models, but we worked with the Erwin technical team and the issue was resolved and has not been a problem in over 5 years of working daily with very large data models since then.

- We and our customers regularly use the "Complete Compare" function to compare and manage multiple large related models with no problems.

- We also use Erwin's metadata API to programmatically synchronize enhancements across as many as 100 large data models at a time with no problems.

How is customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Historically the Erwin product has been primarily sold through channels so we've had little interaction with Erwin's sales team. We are however very happy with the level of customer service we receive from the Erwin reseller we have used and recommend to our customers, Sandhill Consultants.

Technical Support:

As longtime users of the Erwin product, our team rarely needs to communicate with technical support. However, when we have needed to speak with them, we have always found them to be responsive and knowledgeable. Several core members of the Erwin technical team have been there longer than we've been using the product (17 years), which I believe contributes to the high quality of support.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We previously used a data modeling product called Silverrun. We switched because most of our customers were using Erwin and because Erwin did a better job of staying current with most popular RDBMS for reverse and forward engineering.

How was the initial setup?

Installation is straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented Erwin ourselves and found it an easy process.

What other advice do I have?

This review reflects my experience with and opinion regarding the Erwin product after many years of using it and several other popular data modeling tools. I received no financial incentive or other consideration for this review.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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