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Top 8 Best Data Modeling Tools of 2022

Posted in Data Science
Best Data Modeling Tools

If you’re a new developer learning to work with databases, you’ll need a solid foundation in data modeling. Once you properly set up your data structures, your work day will run much smoother. 

The consequences of poor data modeling? More time spent fiddling with data structures over time. This turns into a bigger problem when working on large, complex projects.

Proper data modeling saves a lot of time while also ensuring you don’t misplace, underuse, or lose data. And data modeling tools can help make things easier for you all around. But what exactly are they? Read on to find out!

Best Tools and Software for Data Modeling

  • ER/Studio
  • Erwin Data Modeler
  • DBSchema

What is Data Modeling?

Data models are visual representations of data objects and specifications. They are often designed as UML (Unified Modeling Language) diagrams. Data modeling defines the data to be collected and decides how to store it. 

You don’t even need data modeling software — you can do data modeling with a pen and paper or something as simple as a UML editor. However, solid tools help you create UML diagrams and directly integrate them with your databases.

Data modeling has three layers:

  • Conceptual, where you establish entities as well as their attributes and relationships
  • Logical, where you define data elements’ structure and set their relationships with each other
  • Physical Data, where you describe database-specific data model implementation 

What Are Data Modeling Tools?

A data modeling tool makes data modeling more efficient. These tools are essentially software apps that help users create database structures based on UML diagrams. Data modeling tools make it much easier to form your perfect data structure. They help you create diagrams, infographics, data visualizations, flowcharts, and more.

Great data model tools are intuitive — even for the less tech-savvy. 

While many data modeling tools cost money, you can find a data modeling tool free of charge. Many also have free forever plans that allow you to use many features. For many users, the free versions of some data modeling tools are often enough.

What to Consider When Choosing a Data Modeling Tool

Consider these features when deciding on the right data modeling tool for your needs:

  • User interface: Can you navigate the tool easily? If not, you’ll add more time to your process and cancel the data modeling tool’s original purpose. 
  • Scalability: Does your organization or business grow consistently? Your database and data modeling tools should keep up with scalability features.
  • Visualization: Look at what sort of reporting each tool offers.
  • Active community: Find a tool backed with good support so you can find an answer to any questions you may have.
  • Customizations: Change is constant, especially for data that continues to grow. 
  • Collaboration: Do you work closely with a team? Some database modeling tools are more conducive to independent work, while others thrive with teams. 
  • Price: Don’t sign up for a tool you won’t be able to afford in the long run.

8 Best Data Modeling Tools of 2022

1. ER/Studio

Key Features

Pricing: Starts at $1,470.40 per user (workstation)

Cloud/Desktop-based: Desktop

Operating system(s): Windows

ER diagram: ✓

Free version available: ✗

Reverse engineering: ✓

Forward engineering: ✓

If you’re looking for a robust physical and logical modeling tool, ER/Studio is a top choice. This data architecture tool is one of the longest-running on the market. While you’re it, you’ll feel the decades of work ER/Studio has done to improve its product. However, you may still notice that the tool can struggle to keep up with newer technology that’s recently come out.

One thing about ER/Studio is that it is not cheap. Prices start at over $1,400 per user or workstation.

Learn more about ER/Studio

2. erwin Data Modeler

Key Features

Pricing: 12-month subscriptions sold per user; Standard edition starts at $3,085 per unit, Workgroup edition starts at $4,880 per unit

Cloud/Desktop-based: Desktop

Operating system(s): Windows, Linux, macOS

ER diagram: ✓

Free version available: ✗

Reverse engineering: ✓

Forward engineering: ✓

Synchronization: ✓

Like ER/Studio, erwin Data Modeler has been around for quite a long time — 30 years! This data modeling tool finds, visualizes, and designs data before deploying and standardizing enterprise assets. We especially love using it for comparisons. Moreover, the tool assures constant integration with PostgreSQL and MySQL databases, ad developers can meet varying needs through the tool’s multiple versions.

Learn more about erwin Data Modeler

3. DbSchema

Key Features

Pricing: $98 per user for academic purposes, $196 per user for individual devs and admins, $294 for commercial licenses; purchase three or more licenses at a time to get 15% off the total

Cloud/Desktop-based: Desktop

Operating system(s): Windows, Linux, macOS

ER diagram: ✓

Free version available: Free trial only

Reverse engineering: ✓

Forward engineering: ✗

DBSchema supports NoSQL, SQL, and even Cloud databases. As a visual database tool, DBSchema allows you to design and manage your data more effectively. This tool includes features such as a built-in generator for random data and Mercurial, CVS, SVN, and GIT support. One great thing about DBSchema is it receives frequent updates and bug fixes. However, some customers complain about unreliability. Our take? The low price makes it worth it. 

Learn more about DbSchema

4. MagicDraw

Key Features

Pricing: Contact MagicDraw

Cloud/Desktop-based: Desktop

Operating system(s): Windows, Linux, macOS

ER diagram: ✓

Free version available: Free trial only

Reverse engineering: ✓

Forward engineering: ✓

MagicDraw is a data modeling tool designed for software analysts, business analysts, QA engineers, programmers, documentation writers, and more. MagicDraw offers 24/7 support, whether or not you've purchased the service already. Additionally, it’s scalable, portable, and offers software assurance contracts that allow you to pay as low as 23% of the server fee or 33% of the client license price to get up-to-date versions of MagicDraw with new features and bug fixes for a year (or two, depending on your agreement).

Learn more about MagicDraw

5. Moon Modeler

Key Features

Pricing: Basic EDU version $49, Basic $99, Professional $124; perpetual licenses per user with twelve months of free updates

Cloud/Desktop-based: Desktop

Operating system(s): Windows, Linux, macOS

ER diagram: ✓

Free version available: ✓ Free trial turns into freeware version upon expiry

Reverse engineering: ✓

Forward engineering: ✓

Synchronization: ✓

Moon Modeler is now on its fourth version, an update with plenty of new features like interactive HTML reports for data models. Beyond Moon Modeler’s sleek user interface and design, this tool actually allows you to draw your data models faster. The best part is the free version — simply install the trial version. Once it expires, you’ll get the free data modeling tool (Moon Modeler freeware version).

Learn more about Moon Modeler

6. Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler

Key Features

Pricing: N/A

Cloud/Desktop-based: Both

Operating system(s): Windows, Linux, macOS

ER diagram: ✓

Free version available: ✓

Reverse engineering: ✓

Forward engineering: ✓

Synchronization: ✗

Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler increases user productivity by simplifying various data modeling tasks. You can create, edit, and browse relational, logical, multi-dimensional, physical, and of course, data type models on your desktop or the cloud. This tool even supports collaboration— it has practically everything you need.

It’s not the most intuitive or user-friendly tool, so you’ll need to get over the learning curve. Thankfully, Oracle has tons of documentation to help you get started, like this video about navigating diagrams

Learn more about Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler

7. GenMyModel

Key Features

Pricing: Contact GenMyModel for pricing

Cloud/Desktop-based: Cloud

Operating system(s): Windows, Linux, macOS

ER diagram: ✓

Free version available: ✓

Reverse engineering: ✗

Forward engineering: ✓

GenMyModel is another tool that offers a freeware version. However, they also have a paid option, which you can try with the free trial. This tool is cloud-native and uses a centralized repository that allows you to search, browse, and save (collaboratively) models and artifacts. It is quite easy to use, so it won’t take ages to pick up.

GenMyModel is a drawing and modeling toolkit that helps users make sure things are consistent over various views and third-party tools. It is also very scalable, so it can grow right along with you.

Learn more about GenMyModel

8. Lucidchart

Key Features

Pricing: Free tier, Individual tier starting at $7.95 per month, Team tier starting at $9 per month, and Enterprise tier (contact Lucidchart for a quote)

Cloud/Desktop-based: Cloud

Operating system(s): Any browser with an internet connection

ER diagram: ✓

Free version available: ✓

Lucidchart is the tool of choice for many companies worldwide, including tech giants like Google, Amazon, Atlassian, Cox, and more. It is essentially a diagram builder, but what sets it apart is its stronger data protection alongside more complex flows. You can also link to SQL to use your canvases on Lucidchart right in your database management system.

Lucidchart has a free forever tier, but unfortunately, it’s quite limited — you‘ll need to pay for subscription plans if you need any complex functions. 

If you’re unsure of how to begin with this tool, Lucidchart provides plenty of documentation, including this guide on getting started. You can always play around with the free version until you get a better understanding of what the tool can do!

Learn more about Lucidchart

Conclusion

Data modeling tools are incredibly useful for data structuring and more throughout your career journey toward becoming a data engineer.

We hope this article on the 8 best data modeling tools can help you speed up your data structuring process with the perfect tool. But don’t stop there — explore multi-dimensional modeling tools further by taking a course or tutorial! 

Take a Data Structuring Tutorial

Jenna Inouye

Jenna Inouye

Jenna Inouye has been a full stack developer for two decades, specializing in web application design and development. For the last eight years, she has worked as a news and feature writer focusing on technology and finance, with bylines in Udemy, SVG, and The Gamer. View all posts by the Author

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