SAP PowerDesigner Review

Good property sheet capabilities, and the central repository works well on the company network

What is our primary use case?

I use PowerDesigner to take business requirements and model them from a data modeling perspective. We can then take the result and turn it into a physical model in a database like SQL Server or Oracle.

How has it helped my organization?

This is a tool that facilitates a more cohesive development. From a design and documentation perspective, it makes sure that all of the databases are the correct version for the code base, without running into issues with things being out of sync or out-of-date compared to production or development. 

What is most valuable?

I like the property sheet capability and the user-defined attributes that you can set up.

The central repository is helpful because they have the ability to check-in models when working as part of a larger team. It supports versioning, as well.

What needs improvement?

Checking-in models to the repository, especially when working remotely, is a slow process than can sometimes have problems with models being corrupted. Between the client tool and the repository, the process is very chatty. Consequently, sometimes it takes forever to download a model and if it is corrupted then you won't be able to check it in or out again.

It would be a nice feature if we had the ability to generate a JSON file from a model.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using PowerDesigner for more than 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

If you're just modeling on one computer such as your desktop, or your client's computer, then it is very stable. However, if you are not on your company's network and you are checking in models from a remote location then there can be problems.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think that the scalability is fine, given that it's for design and development on a project team. On a large project team, we might have 10 or 20 modelers working on it. You don't have thousands or tens of thousands of users, so it scales just fine for what its purpose is.

In my department, we have 10 or 15 users who are data architects or solution architects.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have somebody internally who supports the platform. We have client licensing, so if there is an issue then we can raise a ticket with the vendor, but that is somebody from another group. My personal impression is that technical support is fine.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have used other tools like erwin Data Modeler and they have versioning repositories also, but it seems like their check-in and check-out processes are much simpler and much cleaner. The central repository seems to be a little more stable.

The other advantage to erwin is that you can model right in the diagram, which means less clicking. In PowerDesigner, sometimes there are so many property sheets that we are constantly clicking.

What other advice do I have?

When I began using PowerDesigner, it was an independent product. Since that time, SAP acquired it. It is a very solid product that does both data modeling and business process modeling.

My advice for anybody who is implementing PowerDesigner is to make sure that the central repository for versioning models is on a high-bandwidth network with a solid database backing it up.

In summary, this product gives you all of the features that a modeler would require to produce both logical and physical data models. There really is not a lot that is lacking and my only complaint is about the versioning repository. Of course, this is only a problem when we are working remotely. If there is a large model with perhaps 600 tables and 2,500 attributes, then it is going to be very demanding on bandwidth.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

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