Data modeling is the procedure of crafting a visual representation of an entire information system or portions of it in order to convey connections between data points and structures. The objective is to portray the types of data used and stored within the system, the ways the data can be organized and grouped, the relationships among these data types, and their attributes and formats. Data modeling uses abstraction to better understand and represent the nature of the flow of data within an enterprise-level information system.
The types of data models include:
- Conceptual data models.
- Logical data models.
- Physical data models.
Database and information system design begins with the creation of these data models.
What is a Data Modeling Tool?
A data modeling tool enables quick and efficient database design while minimizing human error. A data modeling software helps craft a high-performance database, generate reports that can be useful for stakeholders and create data definition (a.k.a. data description) language (DDL).
Good database design decreases the probability of failure, lessens maintenance effort and speeds up the time taken to complete a task.
How to Select a Data Modeling Tool?
A good data modeling software tool offers the following features and capabilities:
- Support for the notations you prefer.
- Compatibility with all the database platforms you will be working with.
- Forward and reverse engineering capabilities.
- Compare and sync capability.
- Support for key physical database features, like advanced security, complex indexing, partitioning, triggers and views.
- Created DDL accuracy.
- Import and export facility.
Here is all you need to know about the best data modeling software.
Also read: Steps to Improving Your Data Architecture
Best Data Modeling Tools
Here are the best data modeling software tools, in no particular order.
erwin Data Modeler
erwin Data Modeler is a data modeling software used to standardize, deploy, design, visualize and find high-quality enterprise data assets. With the tool, you can document and discover any data from any source for artifact reuse, clarity and consistency across large-scale data integration, analytics initiatives, business intelligence (BI), Big Data, metadata management and master data management, all while supporting intelligence and data governance efforts.
- Visualization of structured or unstructured enterprise data from anywhere.
- Automated data model and database designs to reduce errors and increase efficiency.
- Centralized conceptual, logical and physical model development and management.
- Data literacy, accountability and collaboration.
- Agile application development with hybrid architectures.
- Using data models helps you realize higher quality and more consistency in data management.
- Standardization and automation of data structures and definitions reduce risks and costs.
- Successful adoption of cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure and Snowflake.
Pricing: You can purchase the Standard Edition for $2,948.82 and the Workgroup Edition for $4,423.82, both on a 12-month subscription.
Idera ER/Studio Enterprise Team Edition
Idera ER/Studio Enterprise Team Edition is a tool for enterprise-scale data modeling and governance. The tool performs impact analyses and change management of new policies or projected changes to data fields, data models or databases, ensures consistency between data models and database design and lays the foundation for data management, data governance frameworks, and robust data governance while ensuring ease and accuracy.
- The tool enables you to build business-driven enterprise data architecture.
- With the BPMN 2.0 standard, you can document business processes in an easy-to-understand diagram.
- The ER/Studio Repository enables you to securely store data models and manage object versions.
- You can craft business glossaries with detailed definitions and terms.
- Logical and physical data modeling capabilities include Forward and Reverse Engineering, Visual Data Lineage, Database Model and Metadata Documentation, Advanced Compare and Merge, “Where Used” Analysis, Data Dictionary Standardization, Business Data Objects and Naming Standards.
- Conceptual modeling capabilities include Process Model Creation, Conceptual Model Creation, Process Validation and Import/Export Capabilities.
- Unified Modeling Language (UML) modeling capabilities include Model Driven Architecture and Standards and Model Patterns.
- Data sources and platforms capabilities include Round-Trip Database Support, Export Bridges, ETL/DI Tool Integration, Import Bridges and Data Lineage Visibility.
- Model and metadata repository capabilities include Model Storage and Publication, Concurrent Model and Object Access, Agile Change Management, Version Management, Component Sharing and Reuse, Team Collaboration, Enterprise Glossary, Semantic Mapping, Data Catalog and Centralized Reporting.
Pricing: Contact the Idera sales team for special discounted pricing.
DbSchema Pro is a universal database designer and graphical user interface (GUI) tool for out-of-the-box schema documentation and management, sharing the schema in the team and deploying on relational and NoSQL databases, including MySQL, Snowflake, Google, Redshift, MongoDB, Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL, SQLite, and MariaDB.
- The conceptual and logical designs are independent of the database.
- With Relational Data Explorer, you can explore and edit data from numerous tables based on foreign keys and virtual foreign keys.
- You can utilize the Visual Query Builder to craft queries with different ordering, grouping, filters, and joins.
- The Data Generator can generate test data using reverse regular expressions and predefined patterns.
- The SQL Editor features graphical explain plan, query and script execution, text auto-completion, and syntax highlighting.
- The tool includes a flexible designer for reports and charts.
- Other features include schema synchronization, database task automation, virtual foreign keys, data loader and MongoDB schema validation and diagrams.
Pricing: You can download DbSchema Free for Windows, macOS, and Linux environments and use it for two weeks, free of cost, after which you can purchase a Pro license. A DbSchema Pro Commercial License costs $294 per user.
ERBuilder Data Modeler
ERBuilder Data Modeler is an easy-to-use, all-around data modeling solution for data modelers and data architects. The software allows you to design databases by using entity relationship diagrams (ERDs) and generates the most popular SQL databases automatically.
The tool also allows you to easily deploy databases, significantly reduces errors in database development and helps visualize physical model structures to analyze, modify and optimize the solution.
- The rich visual user interface (UI) of ERBuilder Data Modeler enables intuitive visual data modeling.
- ERBuilder Data Modeler supports the most popular standard notations, including Codasyl, Crow’s Foot, IDEF1x and Relational notations.
- The tool includes forward engineering and reverse engineering capabilities.
- The data model browser module enables deep exploration of a data model.
- You can check for ambiguities and potential mistakes in a created model.
- You can promptly generate an HTML documentation report, including diagrams and all objects of a data model.
- The tool provides a robust database/model synchronization feature that helps modelers manage the differences between a data model and a database.
- The software comes with a test data generation feature to populate your database with meaningful test data.
- Other features include data dictionary, version management, generation of HTML templates and switching to another target database.
Pricing: An Enterprise License costs $199 per user, per year.
Also read: Top Data Science Tools
Launched in 2002, HeidiSQL is an open source data modeling software. The tool enables you to visualize and edit data and structures from computers running database systems like MariaDB, Microsoft SQL, MySQL, SQLite, and PostgreSQL.
- You can connect to multiple servers in one window.
- You can connect to servers via the command line.
- The tool enables you to create and edit scheduled events, triggers, stored routines, views and tables.
- You can directly export from one server/database to another server/database.
- With the software, you can generate SQL exports and put them on a clipboard or compress them.
- The tool enables you to export table rows as PHP Array, Wiki Markup, LaTeX, SQL, XML, HTML and CSV.
- You can write queries with customizable code completion and syntax highlighting.
- Using current connection settings, you can launch a parallel mysql.exe command line window.
- You can manage user privileges, import text files, bulk edit tables, pretty reformat disordered SQL, monitor and kill client processes and much more.
Navicat Data Modeler
Navicat Data Modeler is a powerful, cost-effective data modeling and design tool that enables you to create high-quality conceptual, logical and physical data models for a number of use cases.
You can visually design database structures, print data models to files, generate complex SQL/DDL, import models from Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) sources and perform forward and reverse engineering processes. The tool supports numerous database systems, including Oracle, MariaDB, MySQL, SQLite, SQL Server and PostgreSQL.
- You can create, design and modify data models using professional object designers, available for Views and Tables.
- The tool supports three popular standard notations – IDEF1x, Crow’s Foot and UML.
- The Model Conversion feature enables you to convert a business-level conceptual model into a relational database logical model and finally into a physical database implementation.
- The software offers forward and reverse engineering capabilities.
- The comparison and synchronization feature gives you a complete picture of all database differences.
- The Export SQL feature enables you to generate individual parts of a model, character sets, comments and referential integrity rules, thereby saving time and effort.
- Standard designing tools include add vertices, shapes, images, layers and notes/labels, search filter, auto layout, align/distribute objects and unlimited undo/redo capacity.
Pricing: The software is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux environments and can be purchased for $229.99 on an annual subscription.
Toad Data Modeler
Toad Data Modeler is a streamlined and cross-platform database modeling tool that enables you to easily and quickly create high-quality data models. The software offers forward and reverse engineering capabilities and allows you to create logical and physical data models, rapidly generate complex SQL/DDL, synchronize and compare data models and create and modify database scripts and schemas.
- Multiple database support, including Microsoft Access, Ingres, DB2, PostgreSQL, SQL Server, MySQL, SAP and Oracle.
- You can build complex logical and physical entity-relationship data models.
- You can craft high-quality database structures or automatically make changes to existing data models and provide documentation on numerous platforms.
- The tool offers forward engineering and reverse engineering capabilities.
- You can generate in-depth reports on existing database structures.
- You can add logical data to diagrams to customize models.
- You can synchronize a model with an existing database using model merge features and ALTER script generation.
- Other features include effortless migration, unmatched visibility and data access with project folders.
Pricing: Contact the sales team to request pricing for Toad Data Modeler.
Archi is an open source data modeling toolkit for creating ArchiMate data models and sketches. The ArchiMate language is an open, independent Enterprise Architecture standard that supports the visualization, analysis, and description of architecture across and within business domains.
- The software supports the latest version of the ArchiMate 3.1 language.
- You can colorize a diagram with a color scheme of choice and create the correct connections between ArchiMate concepts using the magic connector.
- With Archi, you can easily create ArchiMate Views and Viewpoints.
- The Hints View helps you better understand ArchiMate.
- The Visualizer is the graphical equivalent of the Navigator and displays the selected model element in a radical-tree graphic along with all of its relationships with other elements.
- The Sketch View enables you to refine and share ideas before transforming them to ArchiMate Views.
- The Canvas Modeling Toolkit offers the tools you need to create and edit canvasses.
- The software is cross-platform and runs on Windows, macOS and Linux environments.
DeZign for Databases
DeZign for Databases is an intuitive, robust and easy-to-use data modeling tool for developers and database administrators that can help you visualize database structures to create new databases or reverse-engineer existing databases to optimize, analyze, document and modify them.
- The software uses ERDs to graphically design databases. You can visually make a design using text blocks, group boxes, subcategories, relationships and entities.
- The tool supports two industry-standard design notations, IDEF1x and Crow’s Foot.
- Supported databases include Oracle, PostgreSQL, Azure SQL, DB2, MS Access, MS SQL Server and MySQL.
- Other visual database modeling features include multiple display modes, Pan and Zoom window and ER-modeling technique support.
- DeZign for Databases provides forward and reverse engineering.
- The software offers database/model synchronization to provide a comprehensive comparison of all differences.
- The Datanamic Repository is a central repository to store data models and enables more than one user to work on the same data model.
- The solution offers flexible, customizable reporting and printing functionality.
- Model maintenance features include diagram management, Object Browser and labeling.
- Better database design features include model validation, domains, attribute packages, name templates and automatic foreign key migration.
Pricing: You can purchase the software for $114.57 per month, paid annually.
Choosing Data Modeling Tools & Software
erwin Data Modeler is a tool that makes it easy to understand, design, and deploy data sources to meet business requirements. Idera ER/Studio Enterprise Team Edition offers several logical and physical data modeling, conceptual modeling, UML modeling, data sources and platforms and model and metadata repository capabilities.
DbSchema Pro’s visual tools can help decision-makers, database administrators and developers manage, explore and query data. ERBuilder Data Modeler is a complete data modeling tool for high-quality data models. HeidiSQL is one of the most popular data modeling tools for MariaDB and MySQL.
Navicat Data Modeler is a feature-laden database design tool that supports multiple database systems. Toad Data Modeler simplifies documentation, maintenance, and design. The Archi data modeling toolkit is ideal for enterprise architects to create ArchiMate models and sketches.
DeZign for Databases is a data modeling software for database professionals that can help you create, model, and maintain databases. The data modeling tools mentioned in this guide are incredible solutions in their own right. Carefully examine each tool and opt for one that best represents the requirements of your organization.