This article provides guidance on setting up a Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect modelling project in the Cloud, using Microsoft Azure SQL Database services.
Microsoft Azure SQL Database (formerly SQL Azure, SQL Server Data Services, SQL Services, Windows Azure SQL Database) is a cloud-based service from Microsoft offering data-storage capabilities (similar to Amazon Relational Database Service) as a part of the Azure Services Platform (Source: wikipedia).
As regards an Azure SQL Database is very similar to a Microsoft SQL Server database, supported by Sparx Enterprise Architect. A few tweaks were needed a while ago, however Sparx Systems has since released an Azure version which works well.
We started a distributed project involving partners from several locations, hence working remotely. In order to set up a centralised database that can be easily accessed and maintained, we chose Microsoft Azure SQL services.
We tested the following services by increasing the DTU levels (Database Transaction Units).
- We started with the Basic option (5 DTU): KO, too slow.
- S0 option (10 DTU): KO, too slow for a daily use.
- S1 option (20 DTU): OK, chosen option with the best performance/cost ratio.
- S2 option (50 DTU): OK with a slight improvement over Q1 which did not however support the increased cost.
Below are the requirements prior to transfer an existing Enterprise Architect project in the Microsoft database cloud-based service:
- Create an Azure SQL Database where the modelling project data will be stored (note: a database is required for each EA project).
- Once available, details should include a server url (e.g. abcd.database.windows.net), port (e.g. 1433), and credentials (username + password).
- Download and install SQL Server Management Studio.
- Download and install SQL Server ODBC drivers (if not already available).
- Download SQL scripts provided by Sparx Systems to create the required Enterprise Architect repository tables:
Setting up the database tables
The first step involves creating the tables where the EA project data will be stored.
- Open the SQL Server Management Studio, and provide the Azure SQL database details.
- Open the "SQLAzure_EASchema.sql" file downloaded from Sparx Systems web site.
- Execute the query against your database and wait for the Successful confirmation notification.
- Refresh the Object Explorer to view Enterprise Architect tables.
Transferring your project to Microsoft Azure SQL Database
You're ready to transfer data from your existing Enterprise Architect project, whether it is stored in a local EAP file, or shared in a centralised DBMS. In the following example, a local EAP file is transferred:
- Open Enterprise Architect, menu Project | Data Management | Project Transfer
- Select "File to DBMS" transfer type.
- In Source Project, select the local EAP file.
- In Target Project, click on the [...] button to access the ODBC settings
- Select the SQL Server driver > click Next
- Provide the Azure SQL database details
- Click OK; the project transfer is ready to be launched.
- The transfer may take some time to complete (it could around 15 minutes to transfer my project). Please wait for the confimation message to be displayed.
Your Enterprise Architect project is now centralized and available to all team members who have suitable credentials. Specific guidelines to set up ODBC access are recommended to reduce the time required setting up each user's PC.
It is also recommended to enable "EA Security" feature where users can create locks to access and update models.