erwin Enterprise Architecture Review

A cross platform database designer, data inventory control and metadata library.


What is most valuable?

  1. Reverse Engineering and Complete Compare – to document database design and test for changes over time across many different platforms (including Big Data platforms and cloud like SQL Azure)
  2. Workgroup Repository collection of data models allows research across models without worry about platform incompatibilities and provides easy KPIs about corporate data assets
  3. User Defined Properties – Command line links: allows flexibility to link different aspects of the data model to other tools to build better communication tools
  4. Model templates (that are able to stay linked with the model) with filterable update capabilities
  5. Ability to add images to the model – to help make them communicate better
  6. ERwin Portal Links – allows easy 'Find' for information pages about the published ERwin Data Model
  7. ERwin Portal scheduled model harvest – allows for a ‘hands-off’ maintenance capability for Administrator.

How has it helped my organization?

  1. We are providing EU support with our custom development product - so I can now provide both a Logical unified view of the design as well as the more segmented Physical view as the databases are deployed to multiple servers for PII separation, failover Up-time, and performance.
  2. Having the data element library itself available for all departments and teams, helps build promote understanding of shared corporate data assets
  3. The Portal gives both the Development and Business teams common grounds for communication

What needs improvement?


  1. Support post Relational modeling styles – this might be solved for at a simple level with the ability to design and save ‘template’ entities with a pre-designed generic attribute set, including characteristics like PK, datatypes, nullability. Could be a grey’ed out menu option that is add on functionality. All these styles have both a logical and physical aspect. Ensembles might be solved with Subject areas. Seems that they are gaining use and showing up in conferences.

    1. Data Vault Modeling

    2. Ensemble Modeling

    3. Anchor Modeling

  2. Add some ability to do conditional Visualization on the models and in reports (some ideas) – maybe as a specialized Theme or Diagram or Display

    1. Automatic entity colorization for rev eng volumetrics – Red large, Yellow Mid, Green small tables. Either custom banding or simple math by ERwin.

    2. Managed conditional display If … ‘pick a characteristic’ = ‘x’ then … like (If Schema Owner = ‘API’ then Theme = ‘API’)

    3. KPIs on Workgroup Repository more graphic – rather than just data reports. Counts of models, latest updates, license use, Portal use, Harvest errors. etc

  3. Assist model management with Lineage mapping impact notification when source models available for impact assessment in Workgroup.

    1. Either a notification on opening a model ‘Source model used in lineage mapping has changed – Would you like to see the changes – (then open Complete compare to assist importing changes)

    2. Ability to flag for cascade updates from Source to Target models – like we can do with Erwin template models (again with notification – ‘Source model used in lineage mapping has changes – would you like to apply the changes?’

  4. On upgrade– if the older models in the Workgroup Repository need to be upgraded, allow for a cascade update to newest version through the libraries. I just went through this with the latest Portal upgrade. Harvest processes were erroring out with a weird message and all I had to do was open and resave some of the older models. But it wasn’t intuitive and since the Workgroup repository includes older models, and the library is getting bigger – being able to just refresh old models to the new version of Erwin would be a great help.

  5. Ability to schedule Reverse Engineer compares (using RE templates) to audit Production models

    1. Report on what models need changing

  6. Add ability to launch erwin (get model) from Portal. This would help the teams doing reviews. Sometimes they have to get into the library tree bar to see where the model is to get the correct one from Workgroup.

  7. Make Schema/Owner an option to show in Explorer bar for individual data models. Add ability to add to name like you can in the graphic view.

  8. Provide APIs that would allow for metadata harvesting to build trend histories and research data marts.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've personally been using it for 23 years. 1 year at the current version - ERwin Workgroup & Portal 9.7

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

The portal uses TomCat which we inadvertently upgraded to a newer version than could be used when installing another tool on the server. This wasn't easy to diagnose - but the ERwin tech team helped us figure it out. :-)

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No issues.

How is customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Great. They made sure that the initial product demos to Lytx were supported by a really experienced ERwin team - who could answer questions from the high levels that our managers asked to the deep technical ones from the DBAs. They also listened to the company needs and short/long term goals and sold a solution rather than just a tool. I didn't have to fend off high pressure to buy more than what was needed.

Technical Support:

Excellent – they always work very closely with us. Their ‘Live Chat’ team is one that I depend on for fast answers - but they provide access to their really experienced teams when a problem is obviously complex. They also have a rich Knowledgebase for self-service research.

Which solutions did we use previously?

No.

How was the initial setup?

Complexity lies in connectivity and supporting tool setup - which isn’t always intuitive.

What about the implementation team?

We worked with Myriad Solutions for the initial installation and more recently the upgrade. Their team is fabulous! They go the extra mile to find solutions and make suggestions as they get to know your environment's quirks.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Unless you are a one person shop – always go with the Workgroup edition and Concurrent licensing, that puts your models in a database for protection and allows the team members to share a license.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes – ER Studio, Embarcadero.

What other advice do I have?

This product is a cross platform database designer, data inventory control & metadata library, and supports soft link integration. It can be used to document or design metadata any type of data set and most data modeling styles. Doing your database design first and testing requirements on paper can be used to scope deployments in the correct sequence to support Agile teams.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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