IT Central Station is now PeerSpot: Here's why

erwin Data Modeler (DM) Room for Improvement

David Jaques-Watson - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior Consultant at a tech services company with 11-50 employees

I still use Visio for conceptual modeling, and that's mainly because it is easier to change things, and you can relax some of the rules. DM's eventual target is a database, which means you actually have to dot all the Is and cross all the Ts, but in a conceptual model, you don't often know what you're working with. So, that's probably a constraint with erwin.

They have made it a lot easier, and they've done a lot, but there is probably still room for improvement in terms of the ease of presentation back to the business. I'm comparing it with something like Visio where you can change colors on a box, change the text color and that sort of stuff, and change the lines. Such things are a whole lot easier in Visio, but once you get a theme organized in erwin, you can apply that theme to all of the objects. So, it becomes easier, but you do have to set up that theme. I think they've got three to four initial themes. There is a default theme, and then there are two or three others that you can pick from. So, having more color themes would help. In Visio, you have a series of themes where someone who knows about color has actually matched the colors to each other. So, if you use the colors in the theme, they will complement each other. So, erwin should provide a couple more themes.

They could perhaps think of having an entry-level product that is priced a bit lower. For extra features, the users can pay more.

View full review »
Pam Rivera - PeerSpot reviewer
Independent Consultant at a tech consulting company with 1-10 employees

When you do a data model, you can detect the table. However, sometimes I would find it quicker to just do a screenshot of the tables in the data model, put it in a Word document, and send it to the software designers and business users to let them see that this is how I organized the data. We could also share the information on team calls, then everybody could see it. That was quicker than trying to run reports out of erwin, because sometimes we got mixed results which took us more time than what they were worth. If you're just going in and making changes to a handful of tables, I didn't find the reporting capabilities that flexible or easy to use. 

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.

I don't see that it helped me that much in identifying data sources. Instead, I would have to look at something like an XML file, then organize and design it myself.

View full review »
Beverly King De Loach - PeerSpot reviewer
Architecture Manager at CIGNA Corporation

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.

We have a really good relationship with erwin and whenever we come across something and we contact the product developers and the contacts that we have, they immediately put fixes in, or they roll it into the next product. They're very responsive. I really don't have any complaints.

It's a wonderful product and a great company.

View full review »
Buyer's Guide
erwin Data Modeler (DM)
June 2022
Learn what your peers think about erwin Data Modeler (DM). Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2022.
607,178 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Sr. Data Engineer at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees

We are not using erwin's ability to compare and synchronize data sources with data models in terms of accuracy and speed for keeping them in sync to the fullest extent. Part of it is related to the sources of the data and databases that we are now working with and the ability of erwin to interface with those database platforms. There are some issues right now. Historically, erwin worked relatively well with major relational databases, like Oracle, SQL Server, Informix, and Sybase. Now, we are migrating our platforms to the big data platforms: Hadoop, Hive, and HBase. It is only the more recent versions of erwin that have the ability to interface successfully with the big data platforms. One of the issues that we have right now is that we haven't been able to upgrade the version that we currently have of erwin, which doesn't do a very good job of interfacing with our Hive and Hadoop environments. I believe the 2020 version is more successful, but I haven't been able to test that. 

Much of what I do is documenting what we have. I am trying to document our primary data sources and databases in erwin so we have a common platform where we can visually discuss and make changes to the database. In the past couple of years, erwin has kind of supported importing or reverse engineering data models from Hive into erwin, but not necessarily exporting data models or forward generating the erwin-documented data models into Hive or Hadoop (based on my experience). I think the newest versions are better adapted to do that. It is an area of concern and a bit of frustration on my part at this time. I wish I had the latest version of erwin, either the 2020 R1 or R2 version, to see if I could be more successful in importing and exporting data models between erwin and Hive.

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. 

There are other characteristics of erwin, as far as interfacing directly with the databases, that we don't do. Historically, while erwin has existed, the problem is the people that I work with and who have done most of the data management and database creation are engineers. Very few of them have any understanding of data modeling tools and don't work conceptually from that perspective. They know how to write DDL syntax for whether it's SQL Server, Oracle, or Sybase, but they don't have much experience using a data modeling tool like erwin. They don't trust erwin nor would they trust any of its competitors. I trust erwin a lot more than our engineers do. The most that they trust the solution to do is to document and be able to see characteristics of the database, which are useful in terms of discussing the database from a conceptual perspective and with clients, rather than directly engineering the database via erwin. 

erwin is more of a tool to document what exists, what potentially will exist, and create code that engineers can then harvest and manage/manipulate to their satisfaction. They can then use it to make changes directly to our databases. Currently, when the primary focus is on Hive databases or Hadoop environment, where there is no direct engineering at this point between erwin and those databases, any direct or indirect engineering at the moment is still with our Oracle Database.

View full review »
Data Modeler at a government with 10,001+ employees

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. It's a learning curve for me. It could be easier to use, but it's not a Windows/Microsoft type of application. It's close to it but it's also not. Once I've used it enough and learned it, then I'll know where all the pieces are.

View full review »
Director of BI & Analytics at a logistics company with 10,001+ employees

In terms of improvements, support could have been better in terms of installation, especially of workgroups. We struggled quite a bit to get it up and running. Collaboration could have been better from an installation perspective, but it is trivial as compared to what we use it for. Other than that, I don't have much feedback. It works pretty well, and the fact that we've been using it for more than a decade shows that it is quite solid. 

In terms of new features, it would be great to have a cloud base. We should be able to put it on the cloud for better collaboration and data models sharing.

View full review »
Senior Project Manager at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

The erwin ETL functionality has room for improvement when it comes to mapping databases with a classic entity-relationship model to a data warehouse model. If you have a legacy database like Informix, Oracle, SQL Server, or something similar, then you need to create a data warehouse database. These use completely different logic and you need to create some procedures to map the tables.

The number of databases should be extended.

To have more documentation or available knowledge on how to connect is very important. This is probably the most important issue that I have experienced. Specifically, I would like more information on how to connect, how to transfer, and how to do the mapping from a legacy database.

If you try to open a file from an older version of erwin, you can only open files from one version back. This is all that they support, so they need to add the option of opening all older versions. As it is now, they push people to buy a new version every year.

View full review »
Mike Matthews - PeerSpot reviewer
IT Specialist at a government with 10,001+ employees

The only real complaint I have is the time it takes to do a database comparison on a large model. If they could speed that up, that would be the only thing I can think of that needs improvement.

View full review »
Technical Consultant at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees

I find the UI very clunky and very difficult to use. The whole workflow of adding columns to a table could be so much easier. I get frustrated using it. Resizing dialog boxes, changing fonts, printing, scrolling around in the UI, etc is very clunky.

I've tried other tools. I've tried to get off of Erwin a few times. I always come back to it because every other tool has its own set of problems, and it seems like if I have to pick my poison, I stay with Erwin. But so many things that are clunky with it. 

My biggest frustrations with the product is forward engineering and keeping things in sync. A lot of times I need to change a column definition and all I want to do forward engineer it over to the database, it used to be so easy to do that, way back in the early days with Erwin before CA bought it, and now it's almost impossible. It's very frustrating to do. I've spoken to Erwin about this in the past, and I can understand why they're doing some of the things they're doing, but I'm more of a casual user than a power user, and for me, it's so clunky. It's so much easier using Embarcadero to forward engineer changes to a database than it is using Erwin.

This product has been on the market for years and I'm amazed at some of the quirky things that I still have to deal with in this product. I wish rather than adding new features, Erwin would fix some of these usability issues.

View full review »
Ruby Perle - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior Data Architect at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees

I would like to see the ability to support more NoSQL platforms more quickly. 

In addition, enhancing the graphics to render more quickly would be beneficial for any user.

View full review »
Tracy Hautenen Kriel - PeerSpot reviewer
Architecture Sr. Manager, Data Design & Metadata Mgmt at a insurance company with 10,001+ employees

I would like to see the reporting capabilities be more dynamic and more inclusive of information. The API is very sparsely understood by people across the user community.

I would also like to see a greater amount of integration with the erwin Data Intelligence Suite and the erwin Web Portal for the diagram delivery. That would be beneficial to all.

View full review »
Senior Data Warehouse Architect at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees

We are planning to move, in 2021, into their server version, where multiple data modelers can work at the same time and share their models. It has become a pain point to merge the models from individual desktops and get them into a single data model, when multiple data modelers are working on a particular project. It becomes a nightmare for the senior data modeler to bring them together, especially when it comes to recreating them when you want to merge them. That's difficult. So we are looking at the version that will be a server-based model, where the data modelers can bring the data out, they can share, and they can merge their data models with existing data model on the server.

The version we're not using now—the server version—would definitely help us with the pain point when it comes to merging the models. When you have the desktop version, merging the models, two into one, requires more time. But when we go over to the server, the data models can automatically pull and push.

We will have to see what the scalability is like in that version.

Apart from that, the solution seems to be fine.

View full review »
Richard Halter - PeerSpot reviewer
President at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

The navigation is a little bit of a challenge. It's painful. For example, if you've got a view open and you want to try to move from side to side, the standard today is being able to drag and drop left and right. You can't really do that in the model. Moving around the model is painful because it doesn't follow the Windows model today.

Otherwise, it's got everything I need and it's not hard to use for me.

View full review »
Scott Pennah - PeerSpot reviewer
Data Architect at Teknion Data Solutions

The Bulk Editor needs improvement. If you had something that was a local model to your local machine, you could connect to the API, then it would write directly into the repository. However, when you have something that is on the centralized server, that functionality did not work. Then, you had to export out to a CSV and upload up to the repository. It would have been nice to be able to do the direct API without having that whole download and upload thing. Maybe I didn't figure it out, but I'm pretty sure that didn't work when it was a model that sat on a centralized repository.

View full review »
Jose Luis Leon - PeerSpot reviewer
Data Management & Automation Manager at a consultancy with 11-50 employees

I am not so happy with its speed. Sometimes, it can have problems with connections.

erwin's automation of reusable design rules and standards is good, but it could be better.

View full review »
Software Engineer Staff at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees

There are some bugs here and there. The default code that comes with the customizable packages is a bit buggy on some platforms such as PostgreSQL. erwin has its own language in the backend, and the packages that come for PostgreSQL are a bit buggy. They should fix them.

It would be nice to have it on the Linux platform, not just Windows. If they can support Linux, there would be a huge market for it. 

Currently, we can import only 80% of features from other platforms. We would like to be able to get the remaining features. These import tools or plugins are not from erwin. They are from different companies. Ideally, erwin should take them over and make some of those better.

View full review »
Jose Luis Leon - PeerSpot reviewer
Data Management & Automation Manager at a consultancy with 11-50 employees

I would like to have more data sources from other, different vendors. In recent years, the vendor has reduced the number of data sources, and I would like to have more data sources for every brand. For example, with Oracle, I would like to have compatibility for many versions, including old ones, not just the most recent. 

The technical support could be better. They could give faster solutions.

View full review »
Lead Data Architect at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees

There are too many features. People find it extremely difficult to navigate. It's a great product, but there are too many features and no one knows exactly where things are. For example, the documentation is not always straightforward, which is why I use another competitor's product, which is simpler and easier to use. It has more features than the product I previously used.

This is a very complex product.

They have a lot of features, and that may be the reason why I'm not familiar with them and has made it more complicated for me. 

In comparison to other products I've used, such as ER studio, which is a competitor to erwin. It is simple and easy to code as well as other functions. Even the coding has become much simpler. I can see that this is a little more complicated. I'm not certain. Right now, I can explicitly state that no features are required because I still need to explore some areas. Maybe the reporting area will be interesting if it is more dynamic.

View full review »
Chief Consultant at a tech services company with 51-200 employees

The erwin Data Modeler is quite complex to use. However, if you are using the desktop version then you can use a small subset of the features and still get along very well. In this regard, it is similar to Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Word.

View full review »
Buyer's Guide
erwin Data Modeler (DM)
June 2022
Learn what your peers think about erwin Data Modeler (DM). Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: June 2022.
607,178 professionals have used our research since 2012.