REVIEWER: Ian Abramson, managing partner for KEYRUS Canada.

BACKGROUND: KEYRUS is a worldwide leader in the creation of data warehouses and business intelligence. KEYRUS provides a wide range of solutions covering both technology infrastructures and applications in four main areas: business intelligence and data warehousing, customer relationship management (CRM)/interactive marketing, I*Net solutions (Internet/intranet/extranet) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions.

PLATFORM: Microsoft Windows 2000/2003/XP.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Our main challenge was that our clients each used a different data modeling tool or did not have any tool at all. Related challenges included the need to share data models with others on collaborative projects, the need to create new databases based on existing models and the need to support access to metadata with other tools. As result of these challenges, the ability to manage and manipulate data models had become an ever-increasing concern. We also needed a tool that would integrate with our products to provide for the sharing of metadata.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: AllFusion ERwin Data Modeler r7 (ERwin DM r7) from CA provides users with the ability to create data models and databases quickly and efficiently. ERwin DM r7 supports both logical and physical modeling, and moving between the two is easy. The product is also used for comparing data models to one another to identify differences or to compare models in ERwin to physical databases. These features allow us to maintain models effectively and to ensure that the data model and the physical database remain healthy and accurate.

STRENGTHS: ERwin DM r7 is one tool that we cannot do without. The interface has been updated in the newest version and makes it easier to navigate the model. The generation of a database continues to be its primary strength. By careful documentation of the physical model, we can deploy and maintain the database from a central repository. The support for most database features in various databases, including stored objects, allow for a solution that can use internal features of the database. Complete Compare is another strength of ERwin DM r7. With Complete Compare, we can investigate differences between models and databases. This feature has been improved significantly in ERwin DM r7.

WEAKNESSES: Although CA has somewhat simplified domain management with an improved browser, I continue to find this task cumbersome. In the area of the physical database design, ERwin DM r7 supports almost all features except some of the latest features such as index-join indexes.

SELECTION CRITERIA: KEYRUS looked at various product capabilities and their ability to support numerous databases such as Oracle and its many flavors, DB2, SQL Server and generic models that can then be deployed on newer platforms such as Netezza, which uses generic data types. Another criterion was the product's ability to share information with the other tools that we use. Our data warehouse professionals have the chance with ERwin DM r7 to integrate the information we need into tools such as Informatica seamlessly.

DELIVERABLES: As part of most of our projects, it is necessary to create data models to illustrate and generate the database solutions for our clients. ERwin allows us to create logical and physical models and provides a plethora of documentation choices. The reporting facilities provide the ability to deliver data dictionaries that include definitions, transformations, SQL, diagrams and other information that has been stored within the models. In addition, ERwin DM r7 generates the DDL necessary to build or maintain a database schema in an efficient manner. ERwin DM r7 forms the source of many of the project deliverables and serves as an integral part of the infrastructure.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Vendor support is excellent. CA is responsive to the needs of the ERwin user community. The response time is fast and quality of the answers is good.

DOCUMENTATION: CA supplies four basic manuals that provide users with the background to perform the task of data modeling as well as documentation on the methods used by ERwin DM r7 to support these activities. The document provides solid support for the product. Among the documentation is one manual that focuses on ERwin DM's APIs.

CA AllFusion ERwin
Data Modeler r7
One CA Plaza
Islandia, NY 11749
(631) 342-6000

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