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Enterprise Data Management

What is Data Modeling? Types, Steps and Tools

Chandan Gaur | 21 November 2023

What is Data Modeling?

Data Modeling is the process of analyzing the data objects and their relationship to the other objects. It is used to analyze the data requirements that are required for the business processes. The data models are created for the data to be stored in a database. The Data Model's main focus is on what data is needed and how we have to organize data rather than what operations we have to perform.

Data Model is basically an architect's building plan. It is a process of documenting complex software system design as in a diagram that can be easily understood. The diagram will be created using text and symbols to represent how the data will flow. It is also known as the blueprint for constructing new software or re-engineering any application. Here are some data modeling best practices:

1. Grain

2. Naming

3. Materialisation

4. Permission and Governance

Data Modeling in software engineering is the process of simplifying the diagram or data model of a software system by applying certain formal techniques. It involves expressing data and information through text and symbols.

What is Data Model? 

A data model provides a transparent picture of data to help create a real database. It shows you from data design to correct data implementation.

Perspectives of Data Models

3 Perspectives of a Data Model

There are three types of Data Models 
Conceptual Model
Logical Model
Physical Data Model

1. Conceptual Model

The conceptual data model is a view of the data that is required to help business processes. It also keeps track of business events and keeps related performance measures. The conceptual model defines what the system contains.Conceptual Model focuses on finding the data used in a business rather than processing flow. The main purpose of this data model is to organize, define business rules and concepts. For example, it helps business people to view any data like market data, customer data, and purchase data.

2. Logical Model

In the logical data model, the map of rules and data structures includes the data required, such as tables, columns, etc. Data architects and Business Analysts create the Logical Model. We can use the logical model to transform it into a database. Logical Model is always present in the root package object. This data model helps to form the base for the physical model. In this model, there is no secondary or primary key is defined.

3. Physical Data Model

In a physical data model, the implementation is described using a specific database system. It defines all the components and services that are required to build a database. It is created by using the database language and queries. The physical data model represents each table, column, constraints like primary key, foreign key, NOT NULL, etc. The main work of the physical data model is to create a database. This model is created by the Database Administrator (DBA) and developers. This type of Data Modelling gives us the abstraction of the databases and helps to create the schema. This model describes the particular implementation of the data model. The physical data model helps us to have database column keys, constraints, and RDBMS features.
A database that uses graph architecture for semantic inquiry with nodes, edges, and properties to represent and store data. Click to explore about our, Role of Graph Databases in Big Data Analytics

What are the Data Modeling types?

Below given are 5 different types of data modeling used to organize the data:

Object-oriented Model
Object-oriented Model
Entity-relationship Model
5 Types of Data Modelling Techniques

1. Hierarchical Model

The hierarchical model is a tree-like structure. There is one root node, or we can say one parent node and the other child nodes are sorted in a particular order. But, the hierarchical model is very rarely used now. This model can be used for real-world model relationships.

2. Object-oriented Model

The object-oriented approach is the creation of objects that contains stored values. The object-oriented model communicates while supporting data abstraction, inheritance, and encapsulation.

3. Network Model

The network model provides us with a flexible way of representing objects and relationships between these entities. It has a feature known as a schema representing the data in the form of a graph. An object is represented inside a node and the relation between them as an edge, enabling them to maintain multiple parent and child records in a generalized manner.

4. Entity-relationship Model

ER model (Entity-relationship model) is a high-level relational model which is used to define data elements and relationship for the entities in a system. This conceptual design provides a better view of the data that helps us easy to understand. In this model, the entire database is represented in a diagram called an entity-relationship diagram, consisting of Entities, Attributes, and Relationships.

5. Relational Model

Relational is used to describe the different relationships between the entities. And there are different sets of relations between the entities such as one to one, one to many.

What are the 6 Steps of Data Modeling?


Data modeling is the process of creating conceptual representations of data objects and their relationships to each other. The data modelling process usually consists of several steps  ,each steps of the process, data modelers work with stakeholders to understand data requirements, define entities and attributes, establish relationships between data objects, and create models that accurately represent the data in a way that applications can consume. . Developers, database administrators, and other interested parties. These workflows typically look like this:

1. Define an Entity

The data modeling process begins with identifying the things, events, or concepts represented in the data set to be modeled. Each entity should be consistent and logically separated from other entities.

2. Define Key Properties for each Entity

Each type of object can be distinguished from all other objects because it has one or more unique properties, called attributes. For example, an entity called "Customer" might have attributes such as first name, last name, phone number, and job title, and an entity called "Address" might contain street name and number, city, state, country, and postal code.

3. Identify Relationships between Entities

An initial draft of the data model specifies the nature of each entity's relationship to other entities. In the example above, each customer "lives at the address." If this model is extended to include an entity called "Order", then each order will also be shipped and billed to that address. These relationships are usually documented using Unified Modeling Language (UML).

4. Mapping Properties to Entities

This allows the model to reflect how the business uses the data. Several formal data modeling patterns are widely used. Object-oriented developers often use analysis patterns or design patterns, while stakeholders in other business areas may refer to other patterns.

5. Reduce Redundance in Performance Requirements

Normalization is a way to organize data models (and the databases they represent) by assigning numeric identifiers, called keys, to groups of data to represent relationships between models without repeating the data. For example, if each customer is assigned a key, that key  can be associated with both address and order history without having to repeat that information in a table of customer names. Normalization typically reduces the amount of disk  space required by the database, but it can affect query performance.

6. Complete and Validate the Data Model

Data modeling is an iterative process that must be repeated and refined as business requirements change. 

Building an effective information management transformation strategy that reduces modern architecture's complexity, leverages modernization best practices, and automates operations.

Importance of Data Modeling

Data modeling help establish standard data definitions and internal data standards, often in connection with governance.

Data models are a vital data architecture component, along with flow diagrams, architectural blueprints, a unified vocabulary, and other artifacts. Data modeling makes it easier for developers, data architects, business analysts, and other stakeholders to see and understand the relationships between data in a database or data warehouse. It simplifies and accelerates the database design process at the conceptual, logical and physical level. 

Data Modeling plays a significant role in 

1. Data architecture processes that document data assets.

Explore the challenges faced in data architecture.
2. Map how data moves through IT systems.
3. Create a conceptual data management framework.

Learn more about data management. 
4. Reduce errors in software and database development.
5. Improve documentation and systems design consistency across the enterprise.
6. Improve application and database performance.
7. Easily correlate data across your organization.
8. Improve communication between developers and business intelligence teams.  

Before, models were built by data modelers and architects, and other data stewards with input from business analysts, executives, and users. But data modeling is also essential for data scientists and analysts involved in developing BI applications and complex data science and analytics.

What are the best Data Modeling tools?

The best tools are listed below:

1. ER/Studio

ER/Studio is Idera's powerful data modeling tool, enabling efficient classification of current data assets and sources across platforms. You can also create and share data models and track data provenance end-to-end. With ER/Studio, organizations can quickly understand the interactions between data, processes and people. Key Features of ER/Studio:

 A. It accommodates both logical and physical design.

B. Ensure model and database consistency .
C. Scriptable and automated Run an impact analysis of new fixes at the database level.
D. HTML, PNG, JPEG, RTF, XML, Schema, and DTD are supported display formats.

Let us know the use of google sheets as a database for HTML.

2. DbSchema

DbSchema extends functionality to the JDBC driver and provides a complete GUI for sorting complex data. It provides a great user experience for SQL and NoSQL in general provides efficient reverse engineering. DbSchema serves as database users, administrators, and programmers, and is also considered a copy of the visualization of relationships between tables and other data models. 

Know more about difference between SQL and NoSQL.

3. HeidiSQL 

This free open source software is one of the most popular data modeling tools for MariaDB and MySQL worldwide. It also supports MS SQL, PostgreSQL and SQLite database systems. 

4. Toad Data Modeler

Toad Data Modeler is an ideal solution for cross-platform support for databases such as SAP, SQL Server, DB2, Microsoft Access, and more. Toad Data Modeler also provides developers with flexibility and offers easy customization and migration. This tool is also useful for building complex logical and physical objects (both forward and reverse engineering)

5. ERBuilder

ERBuilder Data Modeler allows developers to create graphs using interactive charts and can generate the most popular SQL data. It also provides a beautiful visual design environment, allowing developers to communicate information easily. 

What are Data Modeling tools used for?

Data Modeling is a process to formulate data in an information system in a structured format. Listed below are certain practical uses of the related tools in any sector or industry.

1. It helps create a robust design with a data model that can show an organization's entire data on the same platform.
2. The data model makes sure that all the data objects required by the database are represented or not.
3. The database at the logical, physical, and conceptual levels can be designed with the help data model.
4. The relation tables, foreign keys, and primary keys can be defined with the data model's help.
5. The Tools help in the improvement of data quality.
6. Data Model gives the clear picture of business requirements.
7. Redundant data and missing data can be identified with the help of data models.
8. In data models, all the important data is accurately represented. The chances of incorrect results and faulty reports decreased as the data model reduces data omission.
9. The data models create a visual representation of the data. With the help of it, the data analysis gets improved. We get the data picture, which can then be used by developers to create a physical database.
10. Better consistency can be qualified with the help of a data model across all the projects.
11. The model is quite a time consuming, but it makes the maintenance cheaper and faster.


In a nutshell, Data Modelling helps in the visual representation of data. Models are built during the design and analysis phase of a project to ensure those application requirements are fulfilled.