What is a Data Model?

A data model is an abstract model, that documents and organizes the enterprise data for communication between developers. Most of the times a data model is reprensented in a diagram. A data model is used as a plan for developing software, specifically how data is stored and accessed. A data model of your database can support the analysis, design, documentation and migration of underlying database structures.

A data modeling tool makes it easier to design a database by letting you quickly capture business data and their relationships and enforce data integrity with business rules.

List of Data Modeling Tools

Below you find the list of data modeling tools. Only serious tools are mentioned here. There are about 50 database modeling tools on the market but most of them don't come close to the tools mentioned in the list below.

For MS SQL Server developers I would also like to mention that there is a good comparison of the 5 most popular data modeling tools (TOAD Data Modeler, DeZign for Databases, PowerDesigner, ERStudio, ERwin). SQL Server Magazine also offers a database design tools buyers guide (PDF).

In the list below we mention wheter a tool is "conventional", a conventional data modeling layout - that is, a tree view on the left, a message area at the bottom, and a workspace for the diagram(s) that takes up most of the screen.

Explanation of the price columns in the table below:

  • * means up to $200
  • ** means from $200 up to $1000
  • *** means more than $1000

Product Vendor Kind of tool Databases Price
DBWrench DBWrench Not a conventional tool. Create ER diagrams and SQL Queries. Oracle, MySQL, MS SQL,.. *
Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler Oracle Oracle's data modeling tool (requires Java to run). Oracle *
Data Architect TheKompany Create diagrams and create and modify a database through ODBC. Runs on Linux. Oracle, MS SQL, MySQL,... *
DeZign for Databases Datanamic Conventional data modeling tool. ER diagramming, forward and reverse engineering, and database synchronization. Oracle, MySQL, MS SQL, DB2,... Standard edition: *
Prof and Expert edition: **
TOAD Data Modeler Quest Conventional data modeling tool. Create data models and deploy changes to data structures. Formerly CaseStudio 2 Oracle, MySQL, MS SQL, DB2,... **
DatabaseSpy Altova Not a real/pure modeling tool but has capabilities to do so. Visualize, query, manage, and construct relational databases. Oracle, MySQL, MS SQL, DB2,... **
Database Visual Architect Visual Paradigm Not a pure data modeling tool. Is part of their UML toolset. Oracle, MS SQL, MySQL,... **
PowerDesigner Sybase Supports more than data modeling: Metadata management solution for data architecture, information architecture and enterprise architecture. Oracle, MS SQL, MySQL,... ***
ERStudio Embarcadero Conventional data modeling tool. ERStudio is a model-driven data architecture and database design solution. Oracle, MS SQL, MySQL,... ***
ERwin Data Modeler CA Conventional data modeling tool. An oldie. One of the first database design tools available. All data modeling functionality is supported. Expensive. Oracle, MS SQL, MySQL,... ***
InfoSphere Data Architect IBM An enterprise data modeling and integration design tool. Oracle, MS SQL, MySQL,... ***