erwin Data Modeler (DM) Overview

erwin Data Modeler (DM) is the #1 ranked solution in our list of top Database Design tools. It is most often compared to SAP PowerDesigner: erwin Data Modeler (DM) vs SAP PowerDesigner

What is erwin Data Modeler (DM)?

erwin pioneered data modeling, and erwin Data Modeler (erwin DM) remains trusted, award-winning software for data modeling and database design, automating complex and time-consuming tasks. Use it to discover and document any data from anywhere for consistency, clarity and artifact reuse across large-scale data integration, master data management, metadata management, Big Data, business intelligence and analytics initiatives – all while supporting data governance and intelligence efforts.

erwin Data Modeler (DM) is also known as erwin DM.

erwin Data Modeler (DM) Buyer's Guide

Download the erwin Data Modeler (DM) Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: July 2021

erwin Data Modeler (DM) Customers

 Premera, America Honda Motors, Aetna, Kaiser Permanente, Dental Dental Cali, Cigna, Staples

erwin Data Modeler (DM) Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about erwin Data Modeler (DM) pricing:
  • "The primary reasons that erwin was selected were that it was much more affordable for us [than Embarcadero] and it was easily maintainable."
  • "I wish it wasn't so expensive. I would love to personally buy a copy of my own and have it at home, because the next job that I'm looking at is probably project management and I might not have access to the tool. I would like to keep my ability to use the tool. Therefore, they should probably have a pricing for people like me who want to just use the solution as an independent consultant, trying to get started. $3,000 is a big hit."
  • "An issue right now would be that erwin doesn't have a freely available browser (that I am aware of) for people who are not data modelers or data engineers that a consumer could use to look at the data models and play with it. This would not be to make any changes, but just to visually look at what exists. There are other products out there which do have end user browsers available and allow them to access data models via the data modeling tool."
  • "This company had bought the license for three years, and it's not an individual license. While you can buy a license for each individual, that would be very expensive. There is something called concurrent licenses where you can purchase licenses in bulk and 15 to 20 people can access the license and model. Concurrent licenses are scalable to the number of users and are proportional to the cost."

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SA
Sr. Manager, Data Governance at a insurance company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 20Leaderboard
Allows us to bring in data from dozens of platforms and search holistically across all of them

What is our primary use case?

erwin Data Modeler does conceptual, logical, and physical database or data structure capture and design, and creates a library of such things. We use erwin Data Modeler to do all of the levels of analysis that a data architect does. We do conceptual data modeling, which is very high-level and doesn't have columns and tables. It's more concepts that the business described to us in words. We can then use the graphic interface to create boxes that contain descriptions of things and connect things together. It helps us to do a scope statement at the beginning of a project to corral what the area… more »

Pros and Cons

  • "When you're getting down to the database level, where you're building a design and you're creating DDL out of it, or you're going in the other direction where you're reaching into system catalogs and bringing things back, that starts to really require specialization. Visio isn't going to reverse-engineer that for you. Those features in erwin are valuable."
  • "erwin has versioning so you can keep versions, over time, of those models and you can compare any version to any version. If you're looking at a specific database and you want to see what changed over time, that's really useful. You can go back to a different version or connect that to your change-control processes so you can see what was released when."
  • "One of the things I've been talking to the erwin team about through the years is that every data model should have the ability to be multi-language... When I was working at Honda, it became very difficult to work with the Japanese teams using just one model. You can have two models, one in English and one in Japanese, but that means you have to keep the updates back and forth, and that always increases the risk of something not being updated."

What other advice do I have?

Take the time, especially if you're going to use Workgroup, but even if you're using desktops, to figure out how you're going to manage the models. They need to have a naming convention. They need to have a directory organization that makes sense to you. They need to have change-control, just like code. You need to figure out how you're going to use it because once it gets past 50 models, finding something and knowing how to change it and where to change it and where to publish it back out is going to be your biggest headache. You need to think long-term. It's easy when you just have a few…
DN
Data Modeler at a logistics company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Makes our data modeling staff more productive and has helped standardize data modeling efforts

What is our primary use case?

We use erwin to design conceptual, logical, and physical data models for new projects. We use a Forward Engineering tool to forward engineer data models into new database structures. We use the reverse engineering tool to bring databases into data models and erwin. We also generate HTML reports of the models to share with our customers. Whenever we do have a new project that requires a new approach, we do try using erwin for it. For example, if we have an XSD message file, then we would try to see if there is a way to get that into erwin for better visibility of the structures that we have to… more »

Pros and Cons

  • "We use the Forward and Reverse Engineering tools to help us speed things up and create things that would have to be done otherwise by hand. E.g., getting a database into a data model format or vice versa."
  • "Complete Compare is set up only to compare properties that are of interest to us, but some of the differences cannot be brought over from one version of the model to another. This is despite the fact that we are clicking to bring objects from one place to another. Therefore, it's hard to tell at times if Complete Compare is working as intended without having to manually go into the details and check everything. If it could be redesigned to a degree where it is easier to use when we bring things over from one site to another and be sure that it's been done correctly, that would be nice to have. We would probably use the tool more often if the Complete Compare were easier to use."

What other advice do I have?

I would certainly recommend this product to anyone else interested in trying it out. The support from the vendor is great. The tool overall performs well and is a good product to use. Having a collaborative environment such as the one that erwin provides through the Mart is extremely beneficial. Even if multiple people aren't working on a single model, it's nice to have a centralized place to have all the models. It gives us visibility and a central place to keep everything in one place. Also, it supports versioning, which allows us to revisit it at different points in time to go back to in…
Learn what your peers think about erwin Data Modeler (DM). Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: July 2021.
524,194 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Pam Rivera
Independent Consultant at a tech consulting company with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Complete Compare is good for double checking your work and ensuring that your model reflects the database design

What is our primary use case?

The use case was normally to update data model designs for transaction processing systems and data warehouse systems. Part of our group also was doing data deployment, though I personally didn't do it. The work I did was mostly for the online transaction systems and for external file designs. I didn't use it for data sources. I used the solution for generation of code for the target in the database. Therefore, I went from the model to the database by generating the DDL code out of erwin. We had it on-premise. There was a local database server on SQL, then we each had a client that we install… more »

Pros and Cons

  • "The generation of DDL saved us having to write the steps by hand. You still had to go in and make some minor modifications to make it deployable to the database system. However, for the data lineage, it is very valuable for tracing our use of data, especially personal confidential data through different systems."
  • "The report generation has room for improvement. I think it was version 8 where you had to use Crystal Reports, and it was so painful that the company I was with just stayed on version 7 until version 9 came out and they restored the data browser. That's better than it was, but it's still a little cumbersome. For example, you run it in erwin, then export it out to Excel, and then you have to do a lot of cosmetic modification. If you discover that you missed a column, then you would have to rerun the whole thing. Sometimes what you would do is just go ahead and fix it in the report, then you have to remember to go back and fix it in the model. Therefore, I think the report generation still could use some work."

What other advice do I have?

There might be some effort to do some cloud work at my previous place of employment, but I wasn't on those projects. I don't think they've settled on how they're going to depict the data. Some of the stuff in erwin Evolve, and the way in which it meshes with erwin Data Modeler, was very cool. Sometimes, your model would get corrupted, but you could reverse engineer it and go back in, then regenerate the model by using the XML that was underlying the model. This would repair it. When I showed this to my boss, he was very impressed. He said, "Oh man, this is where we used to always have to call…
Beverly King De Loach
Architecture Manager at CIGNA Corporation
Real User
Top 20Leaderboard
The ability to generate database code from a model for a wide array of data sources cuts development time

What is our primary use case?

We have a couple of really important use cases for erwin. One of them is that we automate the pull of metadata from the repository itself, so that we have all the model metadata that we can then put into a centralized hub that we can access with other applications. Another reason we pull all the metadata out of the model is to run it through our model validation application, which telsl us if this model is healthy or not and if it meets our standards or not. The other use case that's really important is managing the abbreviations file that erwin uses to convert logical terms into physical… more »

Pros and Cons

  • "We find that its ability to generate database code from a model for a wide array of data sources cuts development time. The ability to create one model in your design phase and then have it generate DDL code for Oracle or Teradata, or whichever environment you need is really nice. It's not only nice but it also saves man-hours of time. You would have to take your design and just type in manually. It has to take days off out of the work."
  • "I love the product. I love the ability to get into the code, make it automated, and make it do what I want. I would like to see them put some kind of governance over the ability to make changes to the mart tables with the API, so that instead of just using the modeler's rights to a table -- it has a separate set of rights for API access. That would give us the ability to put governance around API applications. Right now a person with erwin and Excel/VBA has the ability to make changes to models with the API if they also have rights to make changes to the model from erwin. It's a risk."

What other advice do I have?

The one thing that having a CASE tool does is it takes the drudge away from modeling. You get to actually think of what you're doing. You think about the solution and not how you are going to keep track of what you're doing. It frees you from a lot of mechanical things that are part of keeping track of data modeling, and it allows you to do the thinking part. There's not a lot of documentation on the API. You're pretty much going to have to teach yourself. If you have a specific problem where you've gotten to a certain point, you can always touch base with the guys at erwin and they will help…
WP
Sr. Data Engineer at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Provides the ability to document primary/foreign key relationships and standardize them

What is our primary use case?

I am responsible for both a combination of documenting our existing data models and using erwin Data Modeler as a primary visual design tool to design and document data models that we implement for our production services. My primary role is to document our databases using erwin to work with people and ensure that there is logically referential integrity from the perspective of the data models. I also generate the data definition language (DDL) changes necessary to maintain our data models and databases up to our client requirements in terms of their data, analytics, and whatever data… more »

Pros and Cons

  • "What has been useful, I have been able to reverse engineer our existing data models to document explicitly referential integrity relationships, primary/foreign keys in the model, and create ERDs that are subject area-based which our clients can use when working with our databases. The reality is that our databases are not explicitly documented in the DDL with primary/foreign key relationships. You can't look at the DDL and explicitly understand the primary/foreign key relationships that exist between our tables, so the referential integrity is not easily understood. erwin has allowed me to explicitly document that and create ERDs. This has made it easier for our clients to consume our databases for their own purposes."
  • "erwin generally fails to successfully reverse engineer our Oracle Databases into erwin data models. The way that they are engineered on our side, the syntax is correct from an Oracle perspective, but it seems to be very difficult for erwin to interpret. What I end up doing is using Oracle Data Modeler to reverse engineer into the Oracle data model, then forward engineer the DDL into an Oracle syntax, and importing that DDL into erwin in order to successfully bring in most of the information from our physical data models. That is a bit of a challenge."

What other advice do I have?

It is the only meaningful way to do any data modeling. It is impossible to conceptualize and document complex data environments and the integration between different data subject areas. You can write all the code or DDL you want, but it's absolutely impossible to maintain any sort of conceptual or logical integrity across a large complex enterprise environment without using a tool like erwin. You want to look at what you are trying to accomplish with erwin before implementing it. * Does the product have the ability to support or accomplish that? * Based on the technologies that you have…
SJ
Data Modeler at a government with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
The data comes to life to where customers understand exactly what they're asking for

What is our primary use case?

When I work from home, my use case for erwin is for when I get a request for a database upgrade. Usually, the request comes in with a whole bunch of tables and names so I'll go into the DM and I'll start building out what they're asking for. Once we actually get them to be able to view it and understand it, then we'll go back and forth with the developers and the requesters to make sure that it's exactly what they're looking for. We'll spend a few days making sure everything looks correct. Once that's finished, I'll send it out. Unfortunately, I can't do a PDF straight from erwin so I'll copy… more »

Pros and Cons

  • "It's a safeguard for me because I'm always concerned that somebody is free handing it and will forget a key coming from the parent. The migrating keys are a great feature. Identifying relationships, non-identifying relationships, and being visually right there to understand the differences are great features. erwin is key to being able to visually understand whatever the customer is requesting. They'll give you words on a paper, but once they can actually view it as a picture, it really comes to life. The data comes to life to where they understand exactly what they're asking for."
  • "I'd really like to see the PDF function become available. It would make my life much easier than what it is at the moment because whenever I need to collaborate with people that do not have erwin, I have to go through the wonkiness of going to Word and then save it from Word into PDF. There's a lot of differences between erwin 4.4 and 2020."

What other advice do I have?

The biggest lesson I have learned from erwin is the old cliche, that a picture is worth a thousand words. It is truly erwin in itself. When a person asks for a set of tables and they actually see that diagram visually, it really assists in any meeting that you will have. It is key to any meeting you have. I would rate Data Modeler an eight out of ten. The reason for this rating is because I did a couple of dumb attributes and it took me forever to find how to truly delete it. It was a parent-child relationship and I deleted the parent and did not answer the question from the next box that…
RH
EDW Architect/ Data Modeler at Royal Bank of Canada
Real User
We can input large files in one shot using the Bulk Editor feature

What is our primary use case?

We work on different platforms like SQL Sever, Oracle, DB2, Teradata and NOSQL. When we take in requirements, it will be through Excel spreadsheet which is a Mapping Document and this contains information about Source and Target and there mapping and transformation rules. We understand the requirements and start building the conceptual model and then the logical model. When we have these Data Models built in erwin Data Modeler tool, we generate the PDF Data Model diagrams and take it to the team (DBA, BSAs, QA and others) to explain the model diagram. Once everything is reviewed, then we go on… more »

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution’s code generation ensures accurate engineering of data sources, as there is no development time. Code doesn't even have to be reviewed. We have been using this solution for so long and all the code which has been generated is accurate with the requirements. Once we generate the DDLs out of the erwin tools, the development team does a quick review of the script line by line. They will just be running the script on the database and looking into other requirements, such as the index. So, there is less effort from development side to create tables or build a database."
  • "Some Source official systems give us DDLs to work with and they have contents not required to be part of the DDL before we reverse engineer in the erwin DM. Therefore, we manually make changes to those scripts and edit them, then reverse-engineer within the tool. So, it does take some time to edit these DDL scripts generated by the source operational systems. What I would suggest: It would be helpful if there were a place within the erwin tool to import the file and automatically eliminate all the unnecessary lines of code, and just have the clean code built-in to generate the table/data model."

What other advice do I have?

For our use cases and requirements, we are very happy with the erwin product. If we come across any issues or have any doubts about the tool, we get really good support from erwin support team. They definitely have a positive impact on overall solutioning because of how they design and capture data. This is definitely something any company who is involved with data should look into, specifically when there are many database platforms and dealing with huge volume of data. It is definitely scalable as well, as we are one of the biggest financial institutions and have a very massive Data Models…
LouisDevenuto
VP Enterprise Data Architecture at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Allows us to review databases with our business and technology people and to understand data relationships in our company

What is our primary use case?

The whole purpose of the erwin tool is for the designing of databases. We use it for our conceptual, logical, and physical database modeling.

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is the physical or visual representation of the database, showing the tables, the columns, the foreign keys, and the ability to generate DDL, so you can physically implement databases."
  • "I would like to see more support for working with the big-data world. There are so many new databases evolving and it's very hard for them to keep up with all of the new technologies. It would be good if they were able to dynamically support big-data platforms, other than Hive and Teradata."

What other advice do I have?

If you want good data architecture in your company, you need to have database design done. It's probably the most important factor for having things clearly modeled and documented. erwin Data Modeler is not just a modeling tool, it's also used for documentation. If you're using the tool's functions properly, analyzing the documentation, flagging fields that are NPPI data, it is invaluable for business use. You can generate data dictionaries, you can make sure people are speaking common languages, and you can enforce company standards so that people are doing things in a consistent manner. It's…
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