Toad World Blog

Data modeling tools: a comparison for enterprise vs department use

Oct 26, 2021 3:00:00 AM by Bert Scalzo

Toad Data Modeler

In a prior blog, I examined data modeling and data modeling tools at a very high level. I answered basic questions such as what is data modeling, why should I care, and what capabilities should data modeling tools offer? I also broke down the major types of tools into two markets: departmental or project-oriented versus enterprise-oriented, with several examples for each market. In this blog, I’ll highlight and compare data modeling tools for each market.

To recap, if your requirements are relatively simple and your budget is constrained, then a lightweight entity relationship diagram (ERD) tool may well meet your needs. This category of data modeling tools is best suited for project or departmental usage, but not for enterprise wide deployment. For example these tools generally don’t have centralized repositories in databases with concurrent model check-out/check-in and conflict resolution. Moreover, they often offer support for just one or a few of the ERD modeling notations. But if you don’t need advanced capabilities. then ERD tools may well be sufficient. Here’s a short list (in order) of tools that I feel are best of breed, lightweight data modeling tools:

  • Toad® Data Modeler by Quest®(formerly CASE Studio)
  • Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler
  • DBWrench
  • DBSchema
  • XCase

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Let’s compare these tools in more detail.

 

Toad Data

Modeler

Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler

DBWrench

DBSchema Pro

XCase Pro

Notations Supported

2

3

4

4

1

Databases Supported

22

4

4

57

14

Forward & Reverse Engineering

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

Bi-Directional Compare & Sync

YES

YES

NO

YES

NO

100% Advanced DB Feature Support

YES

YES

NO

NO

NO

100% Correct Extended Alters

YES

YES

NO

NO

NO

Cost

$249

Support via DB License

$99

$197

$799

Free Version

YES

YES

NO

YES

NO

 

Although these comparisons are close, I suggest that the three with a fully-functional and bi-directional compare/sync are worth consideration. However as much as I really like its GUI style, DBSchema Pro’s compare/sync was not 100% accurate – that’s a deal breaker for me. That leaves just Toad Data Modeler and Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler as serious, lightweight data modeling options. Generally, I recommend Toad Data Modeler due to the number of databases it supports and that Quest provides full technical support as part of the modest purchase price. Here’s an example of an entity relationship diagram in Toad Data Modeler.

Toad Data Modeler

Figure 1: Toad Data Modeler

Since I personally value compare/sync capabilities so highly in a data modeling tool, here’s an example from Toad Data Modeler. Note that it clearly shows that there is an entity that contains attributes not yet in a database table, and a database table that contains columns not yet in a data model entity. Being able to see such differences on either side of the comparison is critical, because if the data model and database are even just slightly different, then the database’s effectiveness, efficiency or both have been compromised. I see the data model much like the source code used to create a program executable, where one is the result of the other.

Toad Data Modeler Compare & Sync

Figure 2: Toad Data Modeler Compare & Sync

If your company is instead looking for an enterprise wide data modeling tool where data models can be centrally maintained, budget is more flexible and support is a key issue, then here’s my short list of tools that I feel are best of breed, enterprise data modeling tools:

  • erwin® Data Modeler by Quest® (probably largest familiarity and install base of any tool)
  • Idera ER Studio
  • SAP PowerDesigner (formerly Sybase)

Enterprise data modeling tools must possess every feature of lightweight data modeling tools (except low price), plus add significant features above and beyond. erwin Data Modeler providescomplete compare, a feature that essentially define the industry standard for what compare/sync should offer. I can honestly say that no data modeling tool comes even close to the GUI visual presentation style and overall function of complete compare.

Also critical to an enterprise data modeling tool is a central repository that permits collaborative modeling at every level: model, sub-model and down to the object level. Moreover erwin’s centralized database repository technology has been proven to scale to hundreds or thousands of users. I find that the only legitimate competition to erwin Data Modeler comes from Idera’s ER Studio. However, I have found ER Studio’s compare/sync neither as robust nor visually appealing as erwin, and its database repository does not scale well with a high number of user or objects. Hence, I consider erwin to be the single best enterprise data modeling tool bar none.

 

Learn more

Toad Data Modeler enables business analysts to rapidly connect to and view data structures across more than 20 different database platforms including Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL and IBM DB2. It allows you to reverse engineer both databases and data warehouse systems as well as re-engineer from one database type to another. Toad Data Modeler is an extremely cost effective, simple-to-use data modeling tool, ideally suited to someone new to data modeling.

Try Toad Data Modeler for free

Whether you are currently a Toad Data Modeler customer or just getting started with our free 30-day trial, learn more and access the Toad Data Modeler User Guide.

If you're in a trial and Toad Data Modeler is helping you access and prepare data for faster business insights, buy it now or contact a sales representative.

 

Related information:

Blog: Data modeling for the business analyst

Blog: Toad Data Modeler Reverse Engineering & Convert Model Wizards

More Toad Data Modeler blogs

IDC Datasheet: Quest Software Acquires erwin Inc.

Visit Quest erwin for more information about an enterprise data modeling solution.

Blog: What is data modeling and which tools are the best?

Tags: Toad Data Modeler

Bert Scalzo

Written by Bert Scalzo

Bert Scalzo is a guest-blogger for Quest and a renowned database expert, Oracle® ACE, author, database technology consultant, and formerly a member of Dell Software’s TOAD dev team. With three decades of Oracle® database experience to draw on, Bert’s webcasts garner high attendance and participation rates. His work history includes time at both Oracle Education and Oracle Consulting. Bert holds several Oracle Masters certifications and has an extensive academic background that includes a BS, MS and Ph.D. in computer science, as well as an MBA, and insurance industry designations.

Bert is a highly sought-after speaker who has presented at numerous Oracle conferences and user groups, including OOW, ODTUG, IOUG, OAUG, RMOUG and many others. Bert enjoys sharing his vast knowledge on data modeling, database benchmarking, database tuning and optimization, "star schema" data warehouses, Linux® and VMware®.

As a prolific writer, Bert has produced educational articles, papers and blogs for such well-respected publications as the Oracle Technology Network (OTN), Oracle Magazine, Oracle Informant, PC Week (eWeek), Dell Power Solutions Magazine, The LINUX Journal, LINUX.com, Oracle FAQ, Ask Toad and Toad World.

This popular author is known throughout the industry for his instructive books, which include:

• Oracle DBA Guide to Data Warehousing and Star Schemas
• TOAD Handbook (1st Edition)
• TOAD Handbook (2nd Edition)
• TOAD Pocket Reference (2nd Edition)
• Database Benchmarking: Practical Methods for Oracle & SQL Server
• Advanced Oracle Utilities: The Definitive Reference
• Oracle on VMware: Expert Tips for Database Virtualization
• Introduction to Oracle: Basic Skills for Any Oracle User
• Introduction to SQL Server: Basic Skills for Any SQL Server User
• Toad Unleashed
• Leveraging Oracle Database 12cR2 Testing Tools
• Database Benchmarking and Stress Testing

Drop Bert an email at bertscalzo2@gmail.com and he’ll write you back, and maybe send you an autographed book!