If you are working with SQL Server Master Data Services 2012 to develop real-world Master Data Models for your enterprise, then you have likely struggled with the model design environment provided out of the box by Microsoft. This environment does not support large data models well.
1. When adding new attributes to an existing entity, the design environment displays a very short list box containing all existing attributes. Its very difficult to see the complete list of attributes, their Master Data types, and re-ordering for ease of browsing is accomplished with up down arrows.
2. When organizing attributes into attribute groups, a different interface is used. Again, its a web interface and again a short list box is the only means of organizing the attribute group.
I am currently working with a Product model which includes over 75 entities and over 1000 attributes; the largest entity contains nearly 400 attributes. After the initial design session with the data governance team, my team brainstormed how best to create the model in Master Data Services. Each of us knew that working directly in the web design interface would be extremely painful.
We finally resolved to use SQL Server itself. We created a database with tables and columns, each annotated with Extended Properties. For example, a property of the database recorded the name of the Model which the database represents, each table included an Entity name property to tell us the name of the entity, and each column had several properties to tell us the name of the attribute, any attribute groups to which it belonged, the type of attribute (FreeForm, Domain Based or File), the sort order for the attribute, the entity to which it referred (if it was a Domain-Based one) etc. Finally, we created an application which read the schema for the database and, using the MDS API, generated the desired model.
These issues are now fully addressed with Advanced Modeling in Master Data Maestro: Profisee announced the GA release of Master Data Maestro 3.0 last week. The Advanced Modeling tool is built directly into Maestro and shows all attributes for an entity in a grid.
This allows you to see and change data types easily, drag and drop attributes in order to adjust the order in which the attributes are presented.
You also get a rich UI for adding attributes to an Attribute Group and ordering the attributes in that group correctly.
Master Data Maestro is a critical tool for enterprises looking to deliver real-world master data models using Microsoft’s Master Data Services.
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