REVIEWER: Sesario P. Alonzo, application development manager for Oceaneering International, Inc.

BACKGROUND: Oceaneering is a global oilfield provider of engineered services and products primarily to the offshore oil and gas industry, focusing on deepwater applications. Through the use of its applied technology expertise, Oceaneering also serves the defense and aerospace industries. The Application Development Group within Oceaneering develops customized, internal business applications for the various lines of business.

PLATFORMS: Dell Intel-based laptops and workstations running Windows XP; Dell Intel-based dual-core processors running Windows Server 2003.

PROBLEM SOLVED: The Application Development Group faced three significant problems: a lack of documentation, change process and database design expertise. Without documentation, changes to the database often involved uncertainty about whether the change would affect another software application or database object not discovered during the design phase. Through CA ERwin Data Modeler (CA ERwin DM) and the CA ERwin Model Manager add-on, change management has never been easier. Prior to installing CA ERwin DM, we had experienced a steep learning curve for new team members. Now, CA ERwin DM can easily assist even a junior developer to work and think like a database designer.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: CA ERwin DM quickly and easily provides a logical model of a database. This feature allows the team to turn a complex physical database into a simplified logical representation. From the logical model, the team is then able to identify relationships between tables, disconnected tables and potential candidates of unused tables. A more structured approach for documenting a database is now possible. Through the additional add-on products offered by CA, it is also possible to capture and migrate database changes in a more controlled manner. CA ERwin DM, in conjunction with ERwin Model Manager, provides a way to version control the logical database models. A SOX-compliant process can be created. In addition, through CA ERwin DM’s automated and customizable diagnostics routines, a new model or changes to an existing model can be easily validated.

STRENGTHS: CA ERwin DM’s strengths are its ease of use, rich feature set and the value-add complementary products within the CA ERwin Modeling Suite. With very little training, an application developer can use CA ERwin DM to design and develop databases and their related objects such as views, stored procedures and functions. Combined with ERwin Data Model Validator, a much more in-depth analysis can be done on the models to ensure conformance with design standards, for data integrity, relationships, indexes, key definitions, etc. Lastly, through the CA ERwin Model Manager add-on and the Action Log feature, the developer can track the changes being made to the model and roll back the changes, as necessary.

WEAKNESSES: The help documentation is more of a Wikipedia. It tells you about the features, but not how to use them. This is helpful as long as the designer is familiar with database design terminology.

SELECTION CRITERIA: In addition to data modeling, reverse-engineering and model validation offered in several competing products, the CA modeling product family also offers the ability to maintain a repository of data models. Database developers can now version control their data models and the database objects that are derived from the data models. This allows us to maintain SOX compliance.

DELIVERABLES: CA ERwin DM creates custom reports. This feature provides the window for developers and management to see what changes are being made for a particular database model. Because the reports are customizable, users can tailor them to meet their needs rather than relying on “canned” reports or purchasing customized reports.

VENDOR SUPPORT: CA has been great to work with. They are quick to respond to our needs and provide excellent customer service. On several occasions, CA has kept us moving in the right direction with respect to our projects.

DOCUMENTATION: The provided documentation was complete and easy to understand. The documentation even offered a guide or tutorial on how to develop database models based on the business domain data and the needs of the business. The implementation guide was very useful in getting the software installed and configured. It also included an overview of the application, although sometimes it did gloss over certain features.

CA ERwin Data Modeler r7.2
CA, Inc.
One CA Plaza
Islandia, NY 11749
(800) 225-5224
http://www.ca.com/

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