What is most valuable?
Strong graphic and formatting capabilities which can be used to stylize/classify tables of different uses/purposes. Reverse engineering function is useful in examining undocumented legacy databases. Object creation scripting tool has plenty of useful option with the ability to save configuration sets for consistent database builds. Intuitive user interface provides for quick learning curve.
How has it helped my organization?
Our company designs and builds databases in ER/Studio before other database builds or other development. This provides for identifying potential issues long before any code has been written. Data models are often the basis for functionality discussions between the business, analysts, and developers.
What needs improvement?
The deployment and licensing facets of this product are beyond maddening, requiring even small organizations such as ours to install and maintain two server apps to handle real-time license enforcement and centralized (Tool Cloud) product launching. The documentation is poor and new installations are tedious, to say nothing of the need for network operations resources to maintain the server apps.
For how long have I used the solution?
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
Countless licensing and app launching issues. Support was friendly enough, but that we needed them as often as we did was the real problem. We are a small company with four data modellers. No need for complicated licensing and deployment schemes.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The app itself is quite stable. On rare occasions, particularly where models grew large and complex over time, a model would go haywire and become corrupt or otherwise exhibit abnormal behavior. Luckily we could revert to the previous version from our source control system.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I've used Power Designer and ER Win in the past. PD was a decent app, if quirky. I'm not a fan of ER Win. It strikes me as a forgotten app that has been kicked around to too many owners over the years without proper investment in refactoring and improvement.
How was the initial setup?
Complex in that it requires installation of two server-based apps on the network for licensing and centralized launch/deployment. The server requires download and application of license files generated by Embarcadero and manual definition and maintenance of licensed users. On the deployment side, the app distribution server downloads updated versions of apps and serves them to the Java-based launcher app on client machines. This app (end user Java app) was tedious and often an extremely slow performer. We opted for full local install where possible to avoid interaction with the launcher app. Our company has no need for cloud-based application distribution and launching.
What about the implementation team?
Internal network operations team.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Over nine years, we have spent approximately $3K-$4K per year on each user (we have five data modelers currently).
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
ER Win and two others, although their names escape me as it was nine years ago.
What other advice do I have?
Great product. Tedious implementation and maintenance. Ultimately worth it considering other options.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Mar 20 2014