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Need A Tool to Reverse Engineer an ERD Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, October 1, 2013 3:09 PM
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Our friends have done us a solid with Visio. Since SQL 2005 and Visio 2007 I have been reverse engineering ERD's from existing databases. We recently upgrade our SQL Server from 2008 R2 to 2012. We were successfully reverse engineering the 2008 R2 databases (after installing Visio 2010 SP1). Now we cannot reverse engineer the ERD. Thinking, like previous versions of Visio, that is was because the database engine was built after the Visio release I upgraded to Visio 2013.

Silly me. Database Reverse Engineering has been deprecated in Visio 2013. Standard and Professional.

What tools are you in the community using to reverse engineer your SQL 2012 database? What is your opinion of those tools? I will not use the diagram tool in SSMS. For the simple reason of it is live in the database. A change in the diagram becomes a change in the database.

(Yes, I know the model should be built before the DB. etc. But the devs rarely do that. And because I am the DBA it falls to my team to build ERD's. Otherwise we fail our annual IT audits.

don't you love the life of a DBA? )





Greg Roberts
Post #1500605
Posted Tuesday, October 1, 2013 5:54 PM


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I hadn't heard that reverse engineering sql objects was deprecated in Visio 2013!! That kinda sucks for a lot of people I think.

Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend Embarcadero's ERStudio product. I have been using it since the early 2000s. They have an amazing feature set but it is still usable without much hassle if you want the basics. If you are multi-platform they cover pretty much every RDBMS out there. And if you are only SQL Server you can get a very good price for just that platform.


Best,

Kevin G. Boles
SQL Server Consultant
SQL MVP 2007-2012
TheSQLGuru at GMail
Post #1500630
Posted Tuesday, October 1, 2013 10:11 PM
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I first thought on this is "The people responsible for design and writing the software are also responsible for documenting it, not the people responsible for supporting it".

You, as the DBA, simply see a bunch of tables and columns which may have not business meaning or context. Reverse engineering these things into an ERD may help you a bit but it still doesn't give you enough.

The developers, now they really should have a complete understanding of what they just did and they are the people who should be responsible for production of the ERDs. You as the DBA, may have a responsibility to ensure that all the required design documents have been produced before permitting software to be promoted into production. When I was a DBA in one of my past lives, I flatly refused to release changes into production if they weren't up to scratch.

As for tools, that you could use, there are many out there. I use "Enterprise Architect" from Sparx Systems. It does a fantastic job and at about $US240 a seat, it is pretty hard to beat.



Post #1500650
Posted Friday, October 25, 2013 9:28 AM
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Thanks for the suggestion regarding "Enterprise Architect" I will investigate it.

Like a lot of us in the MS-SQL DBA world, I do not have the luxury of being a pure DBA. I also have to supply data models and dictionary to Report Developers and the various Application Development teams. It falls to me and my team to ensure that the reference material is current. Especially since we are the ones who built the Data Marts, Warehouses, etc.

I must admit, it is frustrating to have to buy a new license when I have a Visio license. the flip side is i can save $500 per seat by dumping Visio.





Greg Roberts
Post #1508505
Posted Saturday, October 26, 2013 3:53 AM


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>> The developers, now they really should have a complete understanding of what they just did and they are the people who should be responsible for production of the ERDs

It is VERY common (at least amongst the client's I visit) to find Developers who have no idea what is going on in the database, even with the code they write. ORMs of various flavors obfuscate the data layer so badly that it is hard to know which way is up. Even those that don't use ORMs often just slap sh^t together without regard to efficient data types, normalization, interplay with other existing objects, etc.

But I am glad for all of the above - more business for a consultant like myself when things go south!!


Best,

Kevin G. Boles
SQL Server Consultant
SQL MVP 2007-2012
TheSQLGuru at GMail
Post #1508649
Posted Monday, October 28, 2013 6:57 AM
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I have used ERWin data modeler to reverse engineer SQL Server databases earlier. from googling, I understand that they support SQL Server 2012 also. [size="7"][/size]
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