Using IDA

By | May 11, 2017

IBM launched InfoSphere Data Architect (IDA). This is a data modelling tool that acts as a competitor with Erwin and PowerDesigner. I played a bit with this tool to see what the capabilities are and in which areas these products are different from Erwin and PowerDesigner. As a general remark, I must say that I like IDA. It works quite smoothly and i did not encounter any issues with the tools. I did not receive any unexpected error.
It is good to know that if one starts with an existing project, one has to import the files. This can be done with (start from menu): file > import.



The files must be stored in a project directory. One must achieve a situation where all files are stored in a project directory. Once the files are stored in such project directory, one may start using them.


The concept on how to create your data model is similar to Erwin and Powerdesigner. It is important to create a logical data model first and to generate a physical model after that. The philosophy is roughly similar.
If one starts with a new modelling exercise, one has several options.
The first option is to start a new logical model.
The second option is to import an existing project and continue from there.
The third option is to reverse engineer an existing database.
All options are supported by IDA. I worked with these options and I could start a project without any problems being encountered.
I noticed one difference with Erwin/ Powerdesigner. It is possible to create two files that allow to set up a centralized set of domains and abbreviations that allow a physical data model that is aligned over different modelers.

The common set of abbreviations is maintained in a ndm file. An example is provided below. The advantage of having such a list of abbreviations is that one may share such list over different modelers. One may then enforce a common nomenclature over different people.


More or less the same reasoning holds for a list of domains. The domains are stored in a ddm file. An example is provided below. If shows how different domains can be added, updated or deleted. Also here, one may exchange this file over different data modellers. That allows to enforce a common set of domains.

To enforce the usage of such files, one must indicate the usage in the advanced properties of the project. There are two tabs to store the location of such files. One for the naming alignment and one for the domains.