Evaluation Of CA Erwin And Oracle Data Modeler
The chief information officer in every organization needs to put a lot of efforts in ensuring the security of the organization’s information. They are also required to get acquainted to the business context at and the same time improves the quality. Most modeling tools in the present world have massive contribution to proper development of database management system and other front-end applications. The most critical thing is choosing the correct and most appropriate data modeling tools. The modeling tools that will guarantee a comprehensive representation of the exact location of the data, how it looks like and how the data can be managed effectively. Data modeling tools such as CA Erwin and Oracle SQL modeler contains crucial metadata and in addition can provide clear and clean conceptual view of the database system. . It is evident that novice computer users can increasingly become the users of data modeling tools. This makes the data modeling toolset, the ease of use and the visualization very critical. The paper gives a critical comparison of CA Erwin data modeler with oracle SQL modeler.
Overview of CA ERWinCA Erwin data modeler facilitates a design environment which is collaborative and can assist to rationalize data which originate from various platforms into an intuitive single graphical model. One the user creates an inventory of the data assets, he can store in a repository which is centralized. The stored data can be published to various formats such as data definition language for the purposes of exploiting business intelligence tools. CA Erwin data modeler facilitates the design and building of technical database through intuitive visualized graphical model. The software has integrated interface which can accommodate most of database platforms (Erwin, 2009. The software is capable of reading the technical formats of different database platforms and translates the technical scripts to a graphical model. The transformation enables the developer to make future changes and therefore facilitates implementation and development through model driven design.
In addition CA Erwin provides data centric business rules and business definition. The model layers can be created using advanced design layer architecture. The model focuses on the business requirement which is then connected to multiple databases with the use of a model as a common source for both technical and business design. This helps to increase data consistency and at the same time makes the agility of the database team more improved and therefore meets the organization’s requirement in a meaningful, cost effective and efficient way (Burbank, 2011). CA ERwin modeler offers up to 25 model objects for forward and reverse engineering including design layers, complete design.
Overview for Oracle Data Modeler
On the other hand, oracle data modeler is an open source database modeler which provides various utilities which facilitate simple and integrated modeling needs. The oracle modeler can be linked any database that is supported by oracle and other independent platform. Oracle data modeler can be used in modeling relational, physical and logical database. The tool can be used to model multi-dimensional or data type (Boyd, 2011).
Oracle SQL data modeler is a very powerful tool. Initially, I was able to get a blueprint of completed a common task with the shortest time possible. The oracle user interface is more intuitive and less glyptic. As far as documentation is concerned, the online support and documentation is better compared trod that which the previous versions of CA Erwin had. However, the only issue with its online support is the formatting. The user cannot skim the material while looking for a particular content (Harper, 2009). The documentation is pretty good but there are high chances that the software developers will ignore. This can be attributed make the tool have poor usability.
Details of my evaluation criteria
As a professional, there different tasks that I perform as far as data modeling is concerned.
The key task that I will give consideration include building a logical data model, building a physical data model using the logical model, creating DDL from the built physical model and lastly generating reports that gives an effective description of sharing of the model including novice users. The evaluation criteria that I will use entails detailed comparison of the key features that the two modeling tools provide to their users, the user interfaces, the usability of each tool and the types of database supported.
The introduction of modern computing technologies such as cloud computing has initiated the need to have modeling tools with advanced and stronger features such as the ability to interchange with other tools with a lot of flexibility, well-designed intuitive user interface and strong set of online resource and documentation.
Justification of my evaluation criteria
There has been increase in ambiguities for data professional in regards to accommodating a wide number of development tools and methodologies. This calls for the need of a modeling tool to accommodate the tools from the third party. The need for online support and detailed documentation is also critical. Poor documentation of a tool will negatively affect the user. The online community also needs to be effective in terms of availability of support staff and experienced users. It determines whether a new user will continue to use it or quit (Anstey 2008). The integration of contextual uncluttered interface assist the user in choosing a particular function or feature required to accomplish a given task. The modeling tool ease of use is also important. This is due to the fact that most tasks handled during data modeling are complex and detailed. The tool should me designed in a way that the user will not find any difficulty while using it. The common modeling feature for accomplishing basic task should be integrated in a manner that the user can learn with a lot of ease. In addition, the novice users should be able to learn and master the tool easily and quickly. This is in regards to basic function of the modeling tool.
CA Erwin modeler
From my experienced use of CA Erwin, its powerful built in features makes it an excellent modeling tool. The developers gave a lot of consideration on the user interface make it to have excellent usability. Though the previous version lacked good online support and documentation; the developers have given adequate concentration on the documentation in the latest version. The online support contains a detailed and easy to skim instruction which divided into section to make it understandable (Burbank, 2011).. Moreover, each takes that the tool can perform had its own section of online support and documentation.
I tool a sometime to navigate around the model and realized some command assignments which applies keys. Just like the earlier versions of CA Erwin, the F2 key is still used for the attribute or the entity name. The way it behaves has slightly changed since the developer has integrated some feature which facilitated quick without the need to open the editor. While I was scanning through the settings, I realized that it has a wizard with options for customizing the keystrokes to provide some common functions ( Surhone, 2011).
There are other areas of the tool that has demonstrated high level of convenience. For instance the edit option of the model enables the changes made to be updated in other models. Both the physical and the logical models are linked such that a change in one side is automatically reflected in the other side. The tool also enables creation of more than one physical model from one logical model. This implies that the creation of multiple instances is possible once you have the base logical model. This is an extraordinary property of CA Erwin property.
CE Erwin also has an advanced bulk editor function that facilitated easy and quick update and view with multiple properties and object types inside one object type. A well designed wizard is integrated in the bulk editor to enable users navigate through various options. The user is able to identify the group items of a bulk editor using the object type. This shows how clean and crisp the genera; user interface of the tool (Surhone, 2011). The icons on the tool bar makes are easy for the user to anticipate what that that particular icon represent. The tool bar also can be customized by the user himself. This implies that the icons which were initially in the tool bar and are not frequently used can be replaced or removed to make the taskbar more simple and visible.
The latest release of the tool also has auto-layout button which enables the user to present the model in different views making it easy to analyze. The tools give a selection of more than four layouts, and each layout has smaller models which can be selected in respect to what the user want to analyze.
Another amazing feature is the visual appeal of the model as a result of gradient shading of the entities. Though oracle also has this feature, the CA Erwin one enables the users to gives their definition for the models. The front properties of the model can be set by attaching a chosen theme or by choosing a color to code it making them homely and more appealing to the novice users.
The tool also has a window overview function that gives a blueprint of the large models integrated with the ability to zoom out the area of interest. Though oracle has the same feature, it does not allow spreading of multiple windows in two monitors which appears like a three dimension features. The same windows can be taken and placed in and out sliding using the mouse hover. This allow effective configuration environment. Oracle does not have this awesome feature (Burbank, 2011).
With the experience that I had with the CA Erwin on the usability aspect brought about by the use of keystrokes, it is evident that there is much consistency in oracle. This could be attributed to the fact that oracle SQL data modeler is developed by LAMP. It have been evident that most product developed the open source community do not give consideration to usability features. They tend to concentrate more on functional features (toyanov & Harper 2012). This makes the CA Erwin more advanced. While I was conducting the test, I tried to user the insert key in the title bar but instead of giving me the option to insert, it gives me the option to modify. Such inconsistencies can be attributed to technical issues but it will greatly affect the usability of the tool. The development issue was not captured in the documentation because I realized that in the documentation, the otherwise function of the keystroke was clearly described.
The oracle data modeler suffers does not possess a tight link between the physical and logical models. This implies that a change made of the logical model is not automatically updated in the physical model. According to me, I think it is difficult to update any change made on the physical change. I would prefer a situation where any change made in the logical model is automatically updated in the physical model ( Miller, 2010). The instantaneous synchronization of physical and logical model assist the user to ensure that the message they communicate is consistent and clear for both development team and the business team. However, the procedure for logical sub-model to physical part is oracle is simple.
To confirm the concentration that open source give to the functional features of their product, I took some time to explore the tables and entities editor for oracle and realized that it is excellent and consistent. Any time that relates to entities are placed on the window located at the top while those for the attributes are placed at the bottom (Rosenblum, 2011). This implies the user can get all what he or she requires in spite the window looking so busy.
Comparing the model diagram produced in oracle with those produced using CA Erwin, is very evident that the former gives typically what the user requires. However, some improvements need to be done on toolbars to make the entire application’s appearance polished.
As far as the overview window is concerned, oracle overview window facilitate simple and effective navigation. This is where an outstanding usability feature is displayed, where the overview can facilitate the movement to different parts. While I was conducting the test, I edited model versions and invoked a process that was meant to perform synchronization. The processed appeared easy but it took me a lot of time. I also realized that some the user needs to be very careful when performing some operation and especially in creation of physical model because some naming may not take place unless you use the naming on the logical model.
The most intuitive feature of oracle is the creation of DDL. The process is very much straightforward. The users are given the option to create one DDL script or use the oracle wizard that can generate DDL file for each and every object. Though CA Erwin has the same feature, one has to undergo a lengthy and tedious process to generate DDL (Boyd, 2011).
I also carried a test on the oracle’s “COMPARE AND MERGE” component. This component facilitated the comparison of the designed physical model to the real database. While I was testing, I used the database that I designed and realized that there is a setup and connection options which is straightforward for selecting and setting up option for the item to be merged.
Discussion of the evaluation and recommendations
In general the features provided by CA Erwin for both novice and technical users are excellent. The user interface is intuitive and has incredible ways of enabling the user to accomplish the task. From my analysis, it is evident that the developers of Erwin gave more concentration on usability feature unlike the oracle developers whose focus was basically on the functional features. The refinement that the attestt version of Erwin makes it a very powerful modeling tool. The CA Erwin capability to edit attributes and entities using the fly in the diagram is one of the feature that oracle lacks (Boyd, 2011).
On the on other hand, there are features that the oracle developers integrated that makes it extraordinary. For instance, the process is very much straightforward. The users are given the option to create one DDL script or use the oracle wizard that can generate DDL file for each and every object. Though CA Erwin has the same feature, one has to undergo a lengthy and tedious process to generate DDL.
The summary of the evaluation is given in the table below. The grading is out of ten.
Features CA Erwin Oracle
Overall usability 10 8
Model layout and formatting 10 8
Creation of logical model 10 10
Creation of physical model 10 10
Forward-engineering 10 9
DDL Creation 8 9
Report generation 9 10
customization 10 8
Online community 10 7
documentation 10 8
Metadata and other tools 9 7
From the above summary, it is evident that Erwin performs better that oracle is several aspects. I recommend that users should use CA Erwin because of its extraordinary features
BIBLIOGRAPHY Büchi, ,. M. Oracle Essentials. “O’Reilly Media, Inc.”.
Burbank, D. 2011. Data Modeling Made Simple With CA ERwin Data Modeler R8. Technics Publications Llc.
Harper, S. 2009. Oracle SQL Developer 2.1. Packt Publishing Ltd.
Miller, J. 2010. Introducing SQL Developer Data Modeler: Part 1. Retrieved from http://www.packtpub.com/article/introducing-sql-developer-data-modeler-part1
Palinski, J. 2002. Oracle SQL and PL/SQL Handbook: A Guide for Data Administrators, Developers, and Business Analysts. Addison-Wesley Professional.
Rosenblum, M. 2011. Expert PL/SQL Practices: for Oracle Developers and DBAs. Apress.
Stoyanov, P., & Harper, S. 2012. An Introduction to Oracle SQL Developer. Retrieved from http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/developer-tools/datamodeler/sqldeveloperdatamodeleroverview-167687.html
Surhone, L. M. 2011. CA Erwin Data Modeler. VDM Publishing.
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