As many of you will remember, earlier this year I talked about Red-Gates new data generator and I promised you an update once Katmai released.
Well, I checked it out and in my tests so far it works great with Katmai. I'm not sure if I've ever seen an easier data generator. This tool is easy, intuitive, and very fast. These are all things I would expect from Red-Gate. Afterall, this is really the kind of thing they do best. They make quick, simple tools that just work. And I know I'm starting to sound like a commercial, but what can I do? The truth is the truth. They made their bones in this business by selling a handful of tools that were everything I just said. A lot of us still remember when you could really only order SQL Compare over the internet and it didn't really come with any support. You just bought it for a couple hundred bucks and started using it. And since then there have been some larger companies who have made compare tools with a lot more whistles, but you know what? When the rubber hits the road none of those tools are any better than Red-Gate's and I'd be surprised if Red-Gate didn't still lead that market. It's just a good tool.
Now, I think they started going down the wrong path a little bit when they got into the backup market, but things appear to be ironing out a little bit there too. I think they kinda broke their business model with that one. The problem is they had to. DBAs require a lot of backup for their DBs and in order to compete with Quest, Red-Gate had to up their game.
Anyway, that's not really what I wanted to talk about. I just realized that I really started to sound like a Red-Gate commercial, but there's a reason. Their tools typically just work. And the data generator holds true to their original business model. Don't try to be more than you are. Be a simple tool and work every time.
So I've been working with the new data generator and I love it. I still wish it could handle ODBC instead of just SQL Server, but there are plenty of shops where that won't be an issue.
And if you think generated data can't possibly be worth anything to you, then you're wrong. This tool uses lists of real data. It uses real names and addresses, etc. Of course, you can ask it to generate jibberish if that's what you want, but why? And think of it this way... even your real production data is generated. Just because there happens to be a Maria Sanchez out there somewhere doesn't make the data any more valid in your production than it does in my lab.
I had that discussion with Oracle when I was doing some compression benchmarks last year. They didn't like the fact that I was generating my data, but the data isn't the problem. It's the nature of the data that can be the problem. And whether the nature of the data is in production or not doesn't matter. I've seen some pretty bad production data. So just because it's "real" data doesn't mean it's worthwhile or valid, or any other moniker you want to tag it with to differentiate it from "generated" data.
So if you haven't downloaded Red-Gate's data generator then go check it out. And if you want to see a quick walkthrough of it, I've got a video I did earlier this year. You can see the link below.