Data Modeling using ERWIN and SQL Server 2000

  • Comments posted here are about the content posted at temp

  • Hi Jambu,

    I have been a long time user of ERwin since 1995. All version after 3.5.2 have been very disappointing in relation with SQL Server. We have a schema with 1000 tables and it has become virtually impossible to use ERwin, even with the latest R7 of the product. When I froward engineer a database from our scema (or from a simple 4 table sample schema) and immediately after that do a complete compare, ERwin finds lots of inconsitent differences between the schema and the database where it should not find any at all!

    What is your experience ?



  • I find the complete compare totally unusable. The Erwin data modelling tool has very little in the way of intuitive version control functions. It also has poor 'macro' functionality. Try using it to name a PK attribute and then use it as a FK and you will see what I mean.

  • I have been using ERWIN extensively as well and I have found it being used by many large companies so it is a good tool to learn.   It is much simpler to use ERWIN to make multi table changes than to use Enterprise Manager and of course modelling before creating reduces costs due to fewer problems down the road.   While ERWIN works fairly well for design and generation of the entire schema I would agree that for the price the ability to generate correct change scripts is poor.  To the point where I have generated the model to a blank database then used a SQL compare tool like Red-Gate's SQL Compare to generate the change scripts.

  • I fully agree that ERWIN is not an all in all tool.

    Also this is not a product review.

    I am just showing how to build a Data Model, specifically

    focussing on 'Forward Engineering'

    I do build and maintain schemas upside of 200 tables. I use

    a feature called 'Subject Areas' to handle such large models.

    I should admit that I have never worked with a model comprising

    1000 tables

    In my opinion no tool can help us in 'Reverse Engineering' the way

    the human mind wants it to be. (atleast as of where the technologies

    stand today.) Here again I could wrong like ever.

    I have used ER Studio and ERWIN, and neither of these tools help me

    in reverse engineering a database. I first reverse engineer, and manually spend

    hours, organizing the diagram, before I can start working on it.

    The other two CASE tools I am aware of are Rational Rose and Oracle Case.

    They may be a bit better, but I am sure there is no way they can draw the

    diagram the way I wish it to be, when I reverse engineer a database.

    In my opinion ERWIN as a Data Modeling tool definitely helps for Forward Engineering

    a reasonably sized database.

    Complete Compare as well as Macros are not so good in my opinion too.

    For Comaring Database Schemas I liked Embarcadero better than any other tool,

    but to compare a DB Model with a Schema, I am yet to find one.

    If I am commenting something wrong, please correct me.

    I know there are Gurus around.



  • Jambu,

    Thank you for taking time to share your knowledge with us. We have a copy of Erwin, but have not started using it because we lacked a nice tutorial like you provided. Thanks again.

  • Jambu,

    I am not at all saying that using a tool like ERwin is a nonesense. On the contrary, I do not see how I could go along with my ERP database with the 1000 tables and hundreds of installations that need to be updated n times a year. I have also been a very satisfied user of ERwin in the past.

    Reverse enginnering also was not the subject.

    The worst loss of fonctionality is in the compare option. This option has also become useless when trying to shift from trigger based RI to DRI or the other way around. ERwin mixes everything up and you end up with a mess !

    Formerly, the trigger based RI was a great time saver as it produced tens of thousands of lines of code automatically.

    I am just very disappointed by the new versions of ERwin which work far less better than the "old" ones. I have sent e-mails with long explanations and examples to CA without ever receiving good answers.

    My remarks into this forum are just there to express my surprise that you took ERwin as an example.

    In my quest of a new tool, I came across Xcase which seems to be working quite well so far. I have no idea what the company behind it looks like...



  • Thankz Pascal,

    I agree with you. I should not have used

    any tool and made the write up on explaining Data Modeling.

    I just thought I can be of some help to

    new people who aspire to become Data Modelers.

    But it does not seem to have served that purpose.

    I will try xCASE and see, for my own use.

    Again, I fully agree that these tools help us only

    to that extent. Beyond a point we Data Architects have

    to slog it out , no other way.

    thankz again


  • We stop upgrading after version 3.5 (too expensive for our small company).  I did my last database design with over 200 tables directly in Sqlserver 2000 with no problems.  Sure, life would be easier if we can afford a data modeling too.  It would be nice if someone writes an article to compare different data modeling tools on the market.

  • I was never impressed with Erwin, I did use Popkin system architect for many years, but these tools are far too expensive for most companies. I have Visio included with Technet/msdn subscription and I probably will buy at some time  dezign

    I used the demos and was impressed - much cheaper too!

    [font="Comic Sans MS"]The GrumpyOldDBA[/font]

  • I have not used ERWIN because it was out of my budget. The tool I have used for forward engineering (and a little bit of reverse engineering) is an affordable ($135 to 335 per user) alternative that I would recommend to people investigating these tools: Enterprise Architect. It is not dedicated to just database diagramming but the Professional version (which I own) does the database diagrams and SQL DDL work very well for SQL Server. More information can be found at

  • I've been using ERwin for perhaps 8 years, now, and it leaves a lot to be desired.  I've been using it less and less as time goes by, especially since SQL Server 2000 introduced the table design editor which works nicely.

    Saving preference things (like the object filters) does not appear to work at all.  If there's a way to get default behaviors working the way I'd like every time I start up a new model, I've never found it.

    The compare feature is just about useless.  It's certainly the case that you can create a model in ERwin, forward-engineer it out to your database, do a compare and find that the database and the model are "different."  Until recently, I often found it easier to script out databases to flat files and use the "windiff" text comparison utility that comes with Windows than to fiddle with ERwin to see how two databases differed.  Late this summer, I finally bought SQL Compare, which is great at database comparison (I can recommend it) but I shouldn't have had to spend the money because ERwin should have been able to do the job for me.

    It doesn't seem to support trusted connections.

    If you change things in the model and forward-engineer the changes into the databse, the forward-engineer task usually fails.

    In spite of years of use, I've never become comfortable with the user-interface.

    Its reporting capabilities are a joke.

    The auto-layout feature doesn't even attempt to pack tables into a reasonable amount of screen real-estate.  Objects end up spread across a very wide model.

  • Erwin (3.5) used to be one of my favorite modeling tools.  But alas, support and features tanked when CA bought the tool.  Most of the features are useless in a real development environment. 

    I love having a visual diagram, and now just use Visio (Enterprise Architect).  This tool need alot of work also though!

    My recommendation, sad to say, is to skip Erwin.  Use Visio and Word, and you will be just as far and at less cost.   

  • Guys

    The rating of this article is not a justification towards the Author. Rating should be based on the article and not for ERWin.


    Kindest Regards,

    Amit Lohia

  • The article aside, I appreciate the discussion here about various data modeling tools. I've been using ERwin for years. Like others, I have been rather unhappy with ERwin. Even so, ERwin does all the important things that I need it to do. Ultimately it saves me more time than it costs and helps me create better databases. I tried Visio a couple years ago and while it came close to doing everything I needed it to do, it did not have all the features that I used in ERwin. (I don't use database comparison features, so I'm not talking about that. I'm just talking about basic data modeling and forward engineering.)

    That being said, I'm still looking for other data modeling tools that will work better than ERwin, especially ones that are cheaper than ERwin. I'm going to check out the three listed by people here. If someone else out there has an additional suggestion or more to add on the current suggestions, please post it!

    While not the intention of the author, thanks for writing an article that got people to talk about something that really interests me!

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