Browsing articles tagged with " Data Modeling Tool"

It’s Always a Data Modeling Question…

Apr 9, 2018   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data Modeling, Database Design  //  No Comments

WhatDoYouMeanByDataModel Question on a Beer Menu

When you have been a data modeler for [redacted] decades, you learn to see the world through data modeler eyes.  Everything seems to be a data modeling question.

I was with a client for lunch one day and we asked the server “What do you have on tap?”  She was gone quite a long time, but came back and said “Beer.”  It turned out she was right.  But her answer was not that helpful.

Why is an Expert Asking Us What a Data Model Is?

One of the odd parts of every new project I have to deal with is getting everyone to understand that the question “Can you help us with a data model” results in me asking. “What do you mean by data model?” That’s right, I have to ask team members what a data model is. You’d think experts would know better.

I have to do this because it seems like everyone has a different definition.  For most DBAs, they want a reverse-engineered image of a production database.  For a business user, data modeling that results in documentation about all the questions, answers and decisions were made. For a developer a specification of something they can build upon. An executive wants a high-level view of the data concepts a specific project will be addressing so she can approve scope and budgets.  A data scientist wants a consolidated view of both the physical data objects available to him and a logical definition of what they are. Finally, a data modeler wants a list of previously modeled entities so that she doesn’t have start from scratch on every project.

It’s likely that every role in the organization wants a different data model with a different set of metadata. It’s also why we need to have a discussion about conceptual, logical and physical data models.   Even that set of terms has differing definitions. That’s nearly unforgivable given that we data modelers preach that we should use consistent definitions. (Note from author: this one bit led to one of the longer threads on LinkedIn that has ever been discussed about one of my posts. Some of the comments are not fit for work.) Then to make this even more complex, we need to discuss the primitives in the Zachman Framework as well.

Simple Tools Don’t Work Well For Complex Data Model Questions

This is why using native database tools aren’t good enough to solve all those needs.  This is why a simple drawing tool isn’t enough.  What an enterprise needs are tools that can author, design, and present all those types of data models without creating duplicate copies of those data concepts. It’s also why a data modeler needs to ask the question: What do *you* mean by data model?  You need to ask your team members what they are expecting before you start working.  You may need to negotiate priorities or formats.  You may need to create separate views of your models. That’s wonderful, though, to deliver what they need from your data models. It’s all good.

It’s not that we modelers don’t know the 100+ possible answers to that question.  It’s that we know there are 100+ answers.

It’s not that we modelers don’t know the 100+ possible answers to that question.  It’s that we know there are 100+ answers. That’s what data modeling is after all: getting to the right answer for this requirement.

Note: This post is an updated version of one posted to community.embarcadero.com in 2015

ERwin Modeling Products Sale is Final

Mar 2, 2016   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data Modeling, DLBlog, News  //  1 Comment

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CA announced today that CA ERwin Data Modeler and the rest of the modeling business (people, content, communities, etc.) have been sold to Parallax Capital Partners

CA has completed the sale of the ERwin data modeling business to Parallax Capital Partners, a private equity firm with an exceptional track record of transitioning divisions, subsidiaries and product lines into successful stand-alone entities.

The transaction, which closed on February 29, is a win-win scenario that was carefully designed to ensure mutual value and a seamless transition for customers, partners, and each of the approximately 60 ERwin employees worldwide. This move also aligns with our global partner strategy, which is an important component to CA’s growth model.

With this divestiture, ERwin is an independent company that will continue to be led by its current management team.

Parallax Capital is a private equity firm that specializes in lower middle market (between $5 and $100 million) software companies.  In looking at their current portfolio, I recognize only a couple of companies, with Micro Focus being the one that I recognized instantly, but they sold that in the early 2000s.  Parallax owns a diverse set of companies, so I’m not sure where they will go with the ERwin Modeling product set.

What I do know is that CA was clear after the failed Embarcadero purchase attempt that they were still intending to sell off ERwin, so a purchase is important to the ERwin user market.  I have no other information and expect that initial communications will be that everything is remaining the same until it changes.

This quote: “This move also aligns with our global partner strategy, which is an important component to CA’s growth model. “ appears to imply that CA did not consider data modeling a growth area of the enterprise software business.  As sad as that is, I agree.

My initial feelings are that having the ERwin business owned by an entity that does not own a competing product is likely best for customers.  Competition is good, for technical quality, innovation and pricing.

UPDATE: a new, more upbeat announcement has gone up on ERwin.com http://erwin.com/resources/news/erwin-divested-from-ca-technologies/

What do you think the impact of this sale will be on you and the data modeling market?

Parallels Access–Use Desktop Applications on your iPad the Right Way–WIN!

Jan 30, 2014   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data, Fun, Gadgets  //  No Comments

I’ve been using Parallels Desktop for Mac ever since I purchased my MacBook Air a couple of years a go.  This virtualization software lets me run Windows on my Mac so that I can use all the data modeling and database tools I need.

Just this week, Parallels asked if I wanted to try out a new product, Parallels Access.  (So as to not confuse this with Microsoft Access, I’m going to use the full name of the product in this post.)  This product lets me use desktop applications as if they were built for the iPad.  It works by installing an app on my iPad, plus a service on my desktops (Windows or Mac).  Then when I want to run a “real” application from one of my computers, I can fire up the app on my iPad and start using it. And it pretty much works.

I’m hosting a contest to give away five, yes FIVE, subscriptions for this product.  Details at the bottom of this post.

Isn’t This the Same as Remoting In to Your Desktop?

I’m betting right now you’re thinking: “I have RDP or some other remote app and I can use that, but it’s a real pain to navigate around on an iPad.”  Yes, yes it is.  I’ve tried several remoting apps over the last few years. I usually use them when I am out of my office and have to grab a file or fix something without having to find a computer to use a real keyboard and mouse.  And it’s painful.  Very painful.

What’s different about Parallels Access is that they’ve added iOS-like gestures and interactions to make it feel like the application you are running is a native iPad app.  Instead of telling you about it, let me show you a few:

 

Quick view of gesture features.

 

Precision pointer

 

iOS keyboard, with a Windows Key and a Mac Key.

How I Use Parallels Access

Today I used Parallels access to work with some Excel spreadsheets, which I have done in the past with either iPad apps or via remoting in to a desktop.  Both ways are painful. It’s almost impossible to widen a column or cut and paste data in Excel using the iPad and the iPad apps don’t always support all the features I need.  I won’t be using this as my main method for working with Excel, database or data modeling tools.  But having the ability to pinch to zoom in applications  is very nice.  In ERwin Data Modeler, I was even able to reposition entities and fine tune relationship lines.  That just doesn’t work using a basic Remote Desktop tool.  Heck, it doesn’t even work as well on my touch screen desktop.

I also love that the keyboard is an iPad keyboard that features a Windows Key when you are on a Windows desktop and a Mac one when you are on a Mac.  That’s how keyboards should work.

I’ll post a more detailed review of how I am using Access to work with my desktop applications in the future.  For now, some gratuitous screen shots.

Access touch on iPad - LauncherAccess touch on iPad - Data Model

Win a 1 Year Subscription to Parallels Access

There’s a 14-day trial for Parallels Access available, but I have a better deal for you: enter to win one of FIVE one-year subscriptions (worth $4.99 a month or $49 a year) I have to give away via Twitter.  Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Follow me @datachick
  2. Tell me where you would use Parallels Access.  For example, “I would use Parallels Access from my deck, sipping a beverage with @datachick” or “I’d love my data with @datachick”.
  3. Contest ends Friday, 1 February at midnight EST, so tweet before then.

I’ll pick 4 random winners from the tweets and one special one chosen as the best tweet.  Just make sure you mention me (include @datachick  in your tweet) and the product (Parallels Access) so I see your entry.

Rules:

  • Your tweet has to mention me and Parallels Access
  • Your tweet must be posted publicly – not a DM.
  • Your tweet must be published before 1 Feb 2014 at midnight EST
  • If you live in one of those places that has laws against these contests (Allô Québec!): Sorry, you can’t be part of this.
  • If you live in one of those places that has a law requiring a skills testing question (O Canada!) I will give you a fancy data modeling question to do.  No worries, it will be an easy one.
  • A winning tweet and your twitter account have to be Safe For Work.  Let’s call it “SFW USA”.  That works.
  • No more than 5 entries from you.
  • You don’t have to own an iPad (2nd through current generation), but you’ll need one to use this product.
  • No returns or exchanges.  No whining.  No bad data. No tipping. Bribes are discouraged by Management.

Good luck and get touching and tweeting!

To Santa with Love, Kitty

Dec 24, 2013   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Data, Data Modeling, Fun, NoSQL, Snark  //  2 Comments

Dear Santa,

My friend and debate foe victim Thomas LaRock ( blog | @sqlrockstar) sent you some last minute gift advice for organizations who need your help.  That got me thinking, so I made a list, too.  I checked it three times because I’m thorough like that. I’ve based this list on observations and data I’ve collected over the last year.  Much like you do.  Except I didn’t use that creepy shelf elf guy.  

Just in case you didn’t collect enough data, or it got lost in some hard drive failure:

For Twitter: A way to restore those 20k Tweets of mine they lost a few years ago.  Oh, wait…probably better that they aren’t part of the firehose any more.

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For Data Modeling tool vendors: A copy of my multi-volume set of enhancement requests for supporting new database and datastore types. It’s nearly 2014; it’s time we data architects were able to do our job regardless of the target technology.

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For the NoSQL Community: A love of data so strong that they can tolerate the mere mention of relational database solutions when appropriate.

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For Microsoft: A brilliant new name for Windows Azure SQL Database. I can’t keep saying that in my presentations.  Even WASD is difficult. 

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For Oracle, IBM, and Sybase users: A community as active and helpful on social media as those in the SQL community.

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For United Airlines: A set of laminated copies for each employee of your Star Alliance agreement to remind you that 125k flyers do indeed get perks on your airline. First World Problems, I know.

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For Star Alliance airlines, including Air Canada: A "Wifi in the Sky for Dummies" book. Tell them to get cracking.

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For NASA: That other half a penny.

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For Justin Bieber: US citizenship and a ranch in SoCal.  And a plane ticket.  No monkeys.

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For Rob Ford:  NULL.  Not even coal.

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For my readers and their customers: A year in which their data is much loved, in the right place, at the right time, with the right granularity and the right integrity.  Or World Peace.  Probably easier.

Love,

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(Kitty is my Starbucks name.  I figure Santa knows that already.)

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